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Surveyors use measuring instruments to establish or retrace the official boundaries of space such as land, water, and air space, usually for legal or governmental purposes. Working as part of a group called a survey party, surveyors measure distances, angles, and directions between points, using geometric principles of measurement.

As part of their work, surveyors may also prepare descriptions of land and draw plans, search for land titles, and research existing survey records. Information gathered by surveyors can be used to make subdivisions of land, pinpoint the location of a house or other building within a defined location, establish placement for public utilities and roads, or to make a map or other accurate record of the space being measured.

The primary tools of a surveyor are the American transit and the theodolite.

Education and Training

In the U.S., surveyors may need the following education and training:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a degree in survey engineering may be desirable
  • extensive real-life training in survey processes and techniques

On the Job

Surveyors often work outside under a variety of conditions. Because accuracy of measurement is essential in surveying, it is important to pay careful attention to detail and precision.

Math on the Job

It is important that surveyors have a thorough understanding of the ideas and principles of measurement and geometry.

Related Careers

  • cartographer
  • photogrammetrist
  • geographic information specialist
  • geologist

You can get more information about surveying from the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM).

You can get more information about education for a career as a physical therapist from the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) .