Surveyor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Makes exact measurements and determines property boundaries. Provides data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes.

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


A person in this career:

  • Verifies the accuracy of survey data including measurements and calculations conducted at survey sites.
  • Searches legal records, survey records, and land titles to obtain information about property boundaries in areas to be surveyed.
  • Calculates heights, depths, relative positions, property lines, and other characteristics of terrain.
  • Prepares and maintains sketches, maps, reports, and legal descriptions of surveys to describe, certify, and assume liability for work performed.
  • Directs or conducts surveys to establish legal boundaries for properties, based on legal deeds and titles.
  • Prepares or supervises preparation of all data, charts, plots, maps, records, and documents related to surveys.
  • Writes descriptions of property boundary surveys for use in deeds, leases, or other legal documents.
  • Computes geodetic measurements and interprets survey data to determine positions, shapes, and elevations of geomorphic and topographic features.
  • Determines longitudes and latitudes of important features and boundaries in survey areas using theodolites, transits, levels, and satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Records the results of surveys including the shape, contour, location, elevation, and dimensions of land or land features.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



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
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • 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 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):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • 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:

  • Geodetic Surveyor -- Uses signals from satellites such as the global positioning system (GPS), star observations, precise leveling and electronic distance measurements to locate positions accurately on the Earth's surface for global mapping, and to monitor movements of the Ea
  • Mineral Surveyor -- Carries out a series of in-depth surveys on a mining site; assessing risk, predicting environmental impact and mapping mineral deposits.
  • Railroad Surveyor --