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Surveying And Mapping Technician Career

Career Description

Surveying and Mapping Technicians perform surveying and mapping duties, usually under the direction of a 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.

Common Work Tasks

  • Collect data in the field, make calculations, and help with computer-aided drafting
  • Assist the party chief by adjusting and operating surveying instruments, such as the total station, which measures and records angles and distances simultaneously
  • Position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that the operator sights on to measure angles, distances, or elevations
  • Hold measuring tapes if electronic distance-measuring equipment is not used
  • Compile notes, make sketches, and enter the data obtained from surveying instruments into computers either in the field or at the office
  • Investigate causes of accidents, injuries, or illnesses related to product usage in order to develop solutions to minimize or prevent recurrence
  • Test machinery and equipment to ensure that it is safe and conforms to performance specifications
  • Design and supervise the development of systems processes or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality

Other Job Titles

Surveying and Mapping Technicians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Cartographers
  • Surveyors
  • Civil Drafters
  • Geophysical Prospecting Surveyors
  • Architectural Drafters

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Most cartographic and photogrammetric technicians also have specialized postsecondary education. High school students interested in surveying and cartography should take courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer science.

  Members of a survey party must be in good physical condition because they work outdoors and often carry equipment over difficult terrain. They need good eyesight, coordination, and hearing to communicate verbally and using hand signals.


The median annual salary for a Surveying and Mapping Technician is $34,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $55,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $20,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of surveying and mapping technicians are:

  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - $34,160
  • Local Government - $40,510
  • State Government - $40,800
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution  - $45,460
  • Federal Executive Branch - $47,260

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  19%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 15,000
  • Employment 2006 : 76,000
  • Employment 2016:  90,000
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