Geodetic Surveyor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Measures large areas of the Earth's surface using satellite observations, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), light detection and ranging (LIDAR), or related sources.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Design/Pre-Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Calculates the exact horizontal and vertical position of points on the earth's surface.
  • Maintains databases of geodetic and related information including coordinate, descriptive, or quality assurance data.
  • Verifies the mathematical correctness of newly collected survey data.
  • Conducts surveys to determine exact positions, measurement of points, elevations, lines, areas, volumes, contours, or other features of land surfaces.
  • Computes horizontal and vertical coordinates of control networks, using direct leveling or other geodetic survey techniques such as triangulation, trilateration, and traversing to establish features of the earth's surface.
  • Analyzes control or survey data to ensure adherence to project specifications or land survey standards.
  • Assesses the quality of control data to determine the need for additional survey data for engineering, construction, or other projects.
  • Plans or directs the work of geodetic surveying staff, providing technical consultation as needed.
  • Requests additional survey data when field collection errors occur or engineering surveying specifications are not maintained.
  • Distributes compiled geodetic data to government agencies or the general public.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Geodesist --
  • Geodetic Advisor --
  • Geodetic Survey Director --
  • Licensed Land Surveyor --
  • Regional Geodetic Advisor --
  • Research Specialist --
  • Survey Director --
  • Survey Supervisor --