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Create a precise record of an area's measurements and features.

What does a Surveyor do?

There are different types of Surveyors. The type that most people are familiar with is the Land Surveyor, but there are also Surveyors in the areas of water, construction, and even air. One type’s day-to-day activities might look different from another’s, but overall, Surveyors’ responsibilities are pretty much the same: to measure, mark, and describe areas on the earth’s surface.

When you’re sent to survey an area—a piece of land, for example—the first thing you do is look at any previous legal boundaries. This piece of information helps you in a number of ways. Say you’re working on a construction project. If you know where the boundaries of the land are, you can be sure the project doesn’t get built on two different owners’ properties. Or you might be working to create new legal boundaries where none existed before. Knowing what you’re working with will help you out in the field. And out in the field is where you spend a lot of time since most survey work is done outside, often in remote areas.

If you survey land, you use equipment like GPS and levels to measure and define properties. You also describe attributes like land area, location, and vegetation. If you survey water, you describe the type of water, its volume, and direction of flow. Or you can work for a geophysical company, in which case you look underground for minerals, or oil and gas reserves. After gathering these pieces of information, you then report back to your client, who may possibly ask you to create a map or write a land deed for them.