Career Details
Career Details
Back to top

Career Details

17-3031.00 - Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Perform surveying and mapping duties, usually under the direction of an engineer, surveyor, cartographer, or photogrammetrist, to obtain data used for construction, mapmaking, boundary location, mining, or other purposes. May calculate mapmaking information and create maps from source data, such as surveying notes, aerial photography, satellite data, or other maps to show topographical features, political boundaries, and other features. May verify accuracy and completeness of maps.

Key Facts
Expand or Shrink Accordion
Bright Outlook
Career Details
Green Job
Career Details
Current Employment
Forecasted Employment
Change in Employment
Change in Employment %
Expand or Shrink Accordion
The tasks listed below can be performed to prepare you for a career in this field.
  • Position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that theodolite operators use for sighting to measure angles, distances, and elevations.
  • Check all layers of maps to ensure accuracy, identifying and marking errors and making corrections.
  • Design or develop information databases that include geographic or topographic data.
  • Monitor mapping work or the updating of maps to ensure accuracy, inclusion of new or changed information, or compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Produce or update overlay maps to show information boundaries, water locations, or topographic features on various base maps or at different scales.
  • Determine scales, line sizes, or colors to be used for hard copies of computerized maps, using plotters.
  • Compile information necessary to stake projects for construction, using engineering plans.
  • Identify and compile database information to create requested maps.
  • Operate and manage land-information computer systems, performing tasks such as storing data, making inquiries, and producing plots and reports.
  • Compare survey computations with applicable standards to determine adequacy of data.
  • Analyze aerial photographs to detect and interpret significant military, industrial, resource, or topographical data.
  • Research and combine existing property information to describe property boundaries in relation to adjacent properties, taking into account parcel splits, combinations, or land boundary adjustments.
  • Calculate latitudes, longitudes, angles, areas, or other information for mapmaking, using survey field notes or reference tables.
  • Compare topographical features or contour lines with images from aerial photographs, old maps, or other reference materials to verify the accuracy of their identification.
  • Trace contours or topographic details to generate maps that denote specific land or property locations or geographic attributes.
  • Provide assistance in the development of methods and procedures for conducting field surveys.
  • Trim, align, and join prints to form photographic mosaics, maintaining scaled distances between reference points.
  • Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, electronic distance measuring equipment, or electronic data collectors.
  • Collect information needed to carry out new surveys, using source maps, previous survey data, photographs, computer records, or other relevant information.
  • Conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth's surface, underground, and underwater, using electronic distance-measuring equipment, such as GPS, and other surveying instruments.
  • Enter Global Positioning System (GPS) data, legal deeds, field notes, or land survey reports into geographic information system (GIS) workstations so that information can be transformed into graphic land descriptions, such as maps and drawings.
  • Perform calculations to determine earth curvature corrections, atmospheric impacts on measurements, traverse closures or adjustments, azimuths, level runs, or placement of markers.
  • Prepare cost estimates for mapping projects.
  • Prepare topographic or contour maps of land surveyed, including site features and other relevant information, such as charts, drawings, and survey notes.
  • Record survey measurements or descriptive data, using notes, drawings, sketches, or inked tracings.
  • Search for section corners, property irons, or survey points.
  • Set out and recover stakes, marks, or other monumentation.
  • Supervise or coordinate activities of workers engaged in surveying, plotting data, drafting maps, or producing blueprints, photostats, or photographs.
  • Answer questions and provide information to the public or to staff members regarding assessment maps, surveys, boundaries, easements, property ownership, roads, zoning, or similar matters.
  • Complete detailed source and method notes describing the location of routine or complex land parcels.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Expand or Shrink Accordion

The items listed below are organized into sections that contain knowledge useful for pursuing a career in this field. Each section also contains a "Percentage of Importance" statistic that shows how relevant an item is to the occupation.
 Computers and Electronics
  • 83%
    Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 77%
    Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • 73%
    Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
 English Language
  • 72%
    Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
 Engineering and Technology
  • 70%
    Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • 66%
    Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
 Customer and Personal Service
  • 63%
    Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • 58%
    Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
 Law and Government
  • 55%
    Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
 Administration and Management
  • 53%
    Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
 Building and Construction
  • 53%
    Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
 Public Safety and Security
  • 52%
    Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
 Education and Training
  • 51%
    Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Expand or Shrink Accordion
The tools listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Seismic equipment
  • Ground vibration sensing equipment
 Specialized and recreational vehicles
  • Four wheel drive 4WD vehicles
 Forming tools
  • Mallets
  • Hatchets
 Measuring and layout tools
  • Measuring tapes
  • Automatic optical pendulum leveling systems
  • Electronic digital/bar-code leveling systems
  • Geodetic leveling rods
  • Hand levels
  • Leveling bubbles
  • Levels
  • Optical pendulum levels
  • Plumb bobs
 Power tools
  • Chain saws
 Length and thickness and distance measuring instruments
  • Distance meters
  • Electronic distance measuring devices
  • Electrotapes
  • Measuring chains
  • Tellurometers
  • 3D laser scanning systems
  • Laser distance measuring equipment
  • Laser scanner coordinate capturing equipment
  • Wheeled measuring devices
 Indicating and recording instruments
  • Magnetic field pipe locators
  • Metal detectors
  • Transit levels
 Land surveying instruments
  • Measuring rods
  • Sight targets
  • Vertical/target rods
  • Alidades
  • Plane tables
  • Theodolites
  • Total stations
  • Tribrach level bubble adjusting blocks
  • Tribrach optical plummet adjusting cylinders
 Sound generating and measuring equipment
  • Echosounders
  • Fathometer sonar equipment
  • Multibeam sonar equipment
  • Side scan sonars
  • Notebook computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Pocket personal computers PC
  • Tablet computers
 Computer data input devices
  • Digitizers
  • Scanners
  • Handheld data collectors
  • Portable hydrographic surveying equipment
  • Ranger data collectors
  • Robotic survey measuring instruments
  • Survey instrument control units
 Computer printers
  • Laser printers
  • Plotters
 Calculating machines and accessories
  • Pre-programmed coordinate geometry COGO calculators
  • Programmable calculators
 Drafting supplies
  • Drafting compasses
  • Protractors
  • Engineering scales
  • T-squares
  • Drafting templates
  • Templates
  • Triangles
  • Drafting kits
  • Digital cameras
 Audio and visual equipment
  • Community base station global positioning systems GPS
  • Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Real-time kinematics RTK global positioning systems GPS
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Expand or Shrink Accordion
The technologies listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Business function specific software
  • Microsoft SharePointHOT
  • Microsoft OfficeHOT
 Content authoring and editing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Freehand
  • Adobe Systems Adobe IllustratorHOT
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PhotoshopHOT
  • Bentley GeoPak Bridge
  • Graphics software
  • Microsoft VisioHOT
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Writer
  • Microsoft WordHOT
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft PowerPointHOT
  • Microsoft ExcelHOT
  • Spreadsheet software
  • QuarkXpress Passport
 Data management and query software
  • PCI Geomatics eCognition
  • MicroSurvey Star*Net
  • Data entry softwareHOT
  • Database software
  • ESRI ArcCatalog
  • ESRI ArcEditor
  • ESRI Personal Geodatabase
  • Microsoft AccessHOT
  • Structured query language SQLHOT
  • Trimble TerraSync
 Development software
  • Microsoft Visual BasicHOT
  • Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScriptHOT
  • Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBAHOT
  • Hypertext markup language HTMLHOT
  • JavaScriptHOT
 Industry specific software
  • 3D Nature LLC Visual Nature StudioHOT
  • 3D Nature LLC World Construction SetHOT
  • Autodesk 3d Studio VizHOT
  • Autodesk AutoCADHOT
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Blue SkyHOT
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3DHOT
  • Autodesk AutoCAD MAP3DHOT
  • Autodesk CAiCE Visual TransportationHOT
  • Autodesk Land DesktopHOT
  • Bentley GEOPAK Civil Engineering SuiteHOT
  • Bentley MicroStationHOT
  • Carlson CG SurveyHOT
  • Carlson SurvCADDHOT
  • Computer aided design CAD softwareHOT
  • Computer aided design and drafting software CADDHOT
  • ESRI ArcView 3D AnalystHOT
  • MENSI 3DipsosHOT
  • MicroSurveyCADHOT
  • TRS Software TomCADDHOT
  • Trimble TerramodelHOT
  • Tripod Data Systems ForesightHOT
  • Coordinate geometry COGO software
  • Datalog with guidance DLWG software
  • Digital elevation model DEM software
  • ESRI ArcGIS (analytical or scientific feature)
  • ESRI ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
  • ESRI ArcToolbox
  • Foresoft CDS Cogo
  • Foresoft CDS Model
  • Low-level driver LLD software
  • MicroSurvey FieldGenius
  • MicroSurvey OfficeSync
  • Modeling software
  • PCI Geomatics software
  • QuickCogo
  • Trimble GPS Pathfinder
  • Trimble Geomatics Office
  • Trimble Total Control
  • Tripod Data Systems
  • Triton Elics International Isis
 Network applications software
  • Web browser software
 Information exchange software
  • Email software
  • Microsoft ExchangeHOT
  • Bentley Systems InRoads Suite
  • Carlson
  • Carlson Survey
  • Desktop digital photogrammetry system DDPS
  • ESRI ArcGIS softwareHOT
  • ESRI ArcInfo
  • ESRI ArcView
  • ESRI MapObjects
  • ESRI Maplex
  • Geographic information system GIS softwareHOT
  • Geomechanical design analysis GDA software
  • Hexagon Geospatial Imagine Photogrammetry
  • Hexagon Intergraph
  • Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE
  • MapInfo
  • Mapping software
  • Muncy Plat Pronto
  • RockWare ArcMap
  • SiteComp Survey
  • Traverse PC
  • Trimble Digital Fieldbook
  • Trimble GPS Pathfinder Office
  • Tripod Data Systems COGO
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Expand or Shrink Accordion
The certifications listed below are useful to pursue if you are interested in a career in this field.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Expand or Shrink Accordion
The licensing information below is organized into sections and is useful for pursuing if you are interested in a career in this field.
No specific licensing information is listed for this occupation in the area you have selected.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Related Programs
Expand or Shrink Accordion
Programs related to this career, offered by participating institution(s), are listed below.

Clicking on the Degree programs in the list below will take you away from the Careers page.
Brightpoint Community College
Eastern Shore Community College
Germanna Community College
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Northern Virginia Community College
Rappahannock Community College
Southside Virginia Community College
Tidewater Community College
Virginia Highlands Community College
Virginia Peninsula Community College
Virginia Western Community College
Wytheville Community College
Expand or Shrink Accordion
Jobs related to this career may be found on or on the Google Job Search page.