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Summary Report for:
17-3031.01 - Surveying Technicians

Adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.

Sample of reported job titles: Survey Party Chief, Survey Technician, Survey Crew Chief, Instrument Man (I-Man), Chainman, Rodman, Instrument Operator, Engineering Technician, Engineering Assistant, Field Crew Chief

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, and electronic distance-measuring equipment.
  • Perform calculations to determine earth curvature corrections, atmospheric impacts on measurements, traverse closures and adjustments, azimuths, level runs, and placement of markers.
  • Record survey measurements and descriptive data using notes, drawings, sketches, and inked tracings.
  • Search for section corners, property irons, and survey points.
  • Position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that theodolite operators use for sighting to measure angles, distances, and elevations.
  • Lay out grids, and determine horizontal and vertical controls.
  • Compare survey computations with applicable standards to determine adequacy of data.
  • Set out and recover stakes, marks, and other monumentation.
  • Direct and supervise work of subordinate members of surveying parties.
  • 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 and other surveying instruments.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Distance meters — Electronic distance measuring devices; Electrotapes; Measuring chains; Tellurometers
Levels — Automatic optical pendulum leveling systems; Geodetic leveling rods; Leveling bubbles; Optical pendulum levels
Portable data input terminals — Handheld data collectors; Portable hydrographic surveying equipment; Robotic survey measuring instruments; Survey instrument control units
Sonars — Echosounders; Fathometer sonar equipment; Multibeam sonar equipment; Side scan sonars
Theodolites — Total stations; Tribrach level bubble adjusting blocks; Tribrach optical plummet adjusting cylinders

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — Foresoft CDS Cogo; Modeling software; Tripod Data Systems software; Triton Elics International Isis
Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk CAiCE Visual Transportation software; Bentley MicroStation; Tripod Data Systems Foresight; TRS Software TomCADD
Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access; Trimble TerraSync
Map creation software — Bentley InRoads software; ESRI ArcView; Muncy Plat Pronto; SiteComp software
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

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Knowledge

Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Engineering and Technology — 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.
Geography — 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.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

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Skills

Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Abilities

Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

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Work Activities

Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Work Context

Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

There is 1 recognized apprenticeable specialty associated with this occupation:
Surveyor Assistant, Instruments

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
39   High school diploma or equivalent
29   Some college, no degree
21   Associate's degree

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Interests

Interest code: RC

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

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Work Values

Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Related Occupations

17-1022.01 Geodetic Surveyors Bright Outlook
17-3025.00 Environmental Engineering Technicians Green Occupation
17-3027.00 Mechanical Engineering Technicians
17-3029.09 Manufacturing Production Technicians Bright Outlook Green Occupation
19-4041.02 Geological Sample Test Technicians Green Occupation
19-4091.00 Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health Green Occupation
19-4093.00 Forest and Conservation Technicians   Green Occupation Green
19-4099.02 Precision Agriculture Technicians   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook   Green Occupation
45-4011.00 Forest and Conservation Workers Green Occupation
47-1011.00 First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers Bright Outlook

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages data collected from Surveying and Mapping Technicians.
Employment data collected from Surveying and Mapping Technicians.
Industry data collected from Surveying and Mapping Technicians.

Median wages (2012) $19.07 hourly, $39,670 annual
Employment (2012) 54,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Average (8% to 14%) Average (8% to 14%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 17,000
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Surveying Technicians

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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