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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: Chainman, Engineering Assistant, Engineering Technician, Field Crew Chief, Instrument Man (I-Man), Instrument Operator, Rodman, Survey Crew Chief, Survey Party Chief, Survey Technician

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Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  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.
  • Compile information necessary to stake projects for construction, using engineering plans.
  • Prepare topographic and contour maps of land surveyed, including site features and other relevant information, such as charts, drawings, and survey notes.
  • Place and hold measuring tapes when electronic distance-measuring equipment is not used.
  • Collect information needed to carry out new surveys, using source maps, previous survey data, photographs, computer records, and other relevant information.
  • Operate and manage land-information computer systems, performing tasks such as storing data, making inquiries, and producing plots and reports.
  • Run rods for benches and cross-section elevations.
  • Perform manual labor, such as cutting brush for lines, carrying stakes, rebar, and other heavy items, and stacking rods.
  • Maintain equipment and vehicles used by surveying crews.
  • Provide assistance in the development of methods and procedures for conducting field surveys.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — Foresoft CDS Cogo; Modeling software; Tripod Data Systems; Triton Elics International Isis (see all 16 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot technology — Autodesk AutoCAD Hot technology ; Bentley MicroStation Hot technology ; Tripod Data Systems Foresight; TRS Software TomCADD (see all 13 examples)
  • Data base reporting software — MicroSurvey Star*Net
  • Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access Hot technology ; Trimble TerraSync
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Exchange
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Bentley GeoPak Bridge
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software
  • Map creation software — Desktop digital photogrammetry system DDPS; ESRI ArcGIS software Hot technology ; ESRI ArcView; Muncy Plat Pronto (see all 12 examples)
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Tools Used

  • All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — Four wheel drive 4WD vehicles
  • Axes
  • Barometers
  • Clinometers
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Distance meters — Electronic distance measuring devices; Electrotapes; Measuring chains; Tellurometers
  • Extension pole — Prism poles
  • Extensometers
  • Geological compasses
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver — Community base station global positioning systems GPS; Global positioning system GPS receivers; Real-time kinematics RTK global positioning systems GPS
  • Hatchets
  • Instrument tripods — Tripods
  • Laser measuring systems — 3D laser scanning systems; Laser distance measuring equipment; Laser scanner coordinate capturing equipment
  • Laser printers
  • Level sensors or transmitters — Transit levels
  • Levels — Automatic optical pendulum leveling systems; Geodetic leveling rods; Leveling bubbles; Optical pendulum levels (see all 6 examples)
  • Machetes
  • Mallets
  • Measuring rods — Sight targets; Vertical/target rods
  • Measuring tables — Alidades; Plane tables
  • Measuring wheels for distance — Wheeled measuring devices
  • Metal detectors — Magnetic field pipe locators
  • Notebook computers
  • Personal computers
  • Plotter printers — Plotters
  • Plumb bobs
  • Pneumatic hammer — Jackhammers
  • Portable data input terminals — Handheld data collectors; Portable hydrographic surveying equipment; Robotic survey measuring instruments; Survey instrument control units (see all 5 examples)
  • Power saws — Chain saws
  • Prisms
  • Saws — Telescoping pole saws
  • Scales — Engineering scales
  • Scanners
  • Scientific calculator — Pre-programmed coordinate geometry COGO calculators; Programmable calculators
  • Seismic receivers — Ground vibration sensing equipment
  • Sonars — Echosounders; Fathometer sonar equipment; Multibeam sonar equipment; Side scan sonars
  • Tape measures — Measuring tapes
  • Templates
  • Theodolites — Total stations; Tribrach level bubble adjusting blocks; Tribrach optical plummet adjusting cylinders
  • Triangles
  • Two way radios

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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.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

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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.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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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.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
  • Calculate geographic positions from survey data.
  • Verify mathematical calculations.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
  • Gather physical survey data.
  • Create maps.
  • Operate computer systems.
  • Maintain mechanical equipment.
  • Assist engineers or scientists with research.

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 89% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 86% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 71% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Telephone — 54% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 54% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Important results.”
  • Electronic Mail — 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 61% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 57% responded “40 hours.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 36% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 36% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 57% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 46% responded “Very important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 54% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 54% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Level of Competition — 39% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 46% responded “Very serious.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 33% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 48% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 33% responded “Every day.”

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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, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, nannies, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
39   High school diploma or equivalent Help
21   Post-secondary certificate Help
21   Associate's degree

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Credentials

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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.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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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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Wages & Employment Trends

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 (2015) $20.20 hourly, $42,010 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2014) 57,000 employees
Projected growth (2014-2024) Decline (-2% or lower) Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2014-2024) 6,500
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data external site and 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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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