A Day in the Life of a Land Surveyor 

A career in land surveying offers tremendous day-to-day variety, the ability to work outdoors, the opportunity to apply math and geography skills in the real world, and the satisfaction of contributing something of lasting value and importance. Land surveying is crucial to responsible land development and there will always be a need for it. But it also is a rather misunderstood career choice.

We take a look at what a career in land surveying entails, who might excel in such a career, and what it takes to work in the land surveying industry or become a licensed land surveyor. 

What is land surveying?

Land surveying is the art and science of establishing or reestablishing corners, lines, boundaries, and monuments of real property based upon recorded documents, historical evidence, and present standards of practice. A land survey can also include the topography of the parcel, the location of buildings, as well as other improvements made to the parcel.

What does a land surveyor do?

Professional land surveyors are trained to use an intricate combination of law, math, engineering, and physics to work out and establish property boundaries. They use specialized equipment like GPSs, prisms, software, radios, and robotic total stations to complete the survey. Depending on the position you choose as a licensed land surveyor, there are opportunities to work outdoors in the field, in an office environment or a combination of both. 

To complete a land survey, a surveyor performs research about the real property, which includes seeking out the history of the property and gathering information by going into the field and observing evidence about the property. Specific tasks involved in surveying depend on the type of land survey being conducted, which may include a mortgage location, boundary, ALTA, topographic, or other types of surveys.

At McSteen, we have licensed surveyors in both our Boundary and Mortgage Location departments. They are the final voice and authority on our projects, utilizing their knowledge and experience to provide assurance to our clients that the product they receive has been performed with the utmost regard for quality. 

They review the data collected by the field crews, analyze the picture put together by our drafters, perform boundary calculations (for boundary surveys), and lastly review, sign and stamp our final survey.

What technology is used by land surveyors?

Land surveyors get to work with advanced technology that is continually evolving. This makes it the perfect career choice for those who like to stay on top of industry trends, enjoy working with new technology and engage in work that will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on their community.

A core focus at McSteen is to be on the cutting-edge of innovation. Our employees are our greatest asset, and we seek to equip them with the latest technology to allow them to do their job with speed and accuracy while maintaining our quality standards. We love being at the forefront of testing new technology and continually adding to our arsenal of tools that help us to provide efficient, precise land surveying services for our clients. 

How do you become a land surveyor? 

Many land surveyors choose to earn a degree in land surveying, mapping sciences, surveying technology, or a similar degree. When pursuing this degree, students spend most of their time outside the classroom learning principles of drawing, mapping, measuring, and collecting and analyzing data.

While an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not required for all roles in the land surveying industry, in Ohio, only those professional land surveyors licensed by the State of Ohio Engineers and Surveyors Board are authorized to sign land surveys.  In order to gain licensure in Ohio, a degree is required. There are, however, other roles such as field or drafting technician, that do not require a degree but rather on-the-job experience and training.

Land surveying as a career

Surveyors will continue to be needed to certify boundary lines, work on resource extraction projects, and review sites for construction. The exciting advancements in technologies are expected to increase worker productivity. Land surveying is one of the world’s oldest professions and has proven to be in high demand historically and is likely to be for the foreseeable future.  

In fact, the need for surveyors is expected to grow significantly over the next ten years. Large, long overdue infrastructure maintenance projects are expected to be carried out, the brisk pace of housing starts, and property concerns are expected to continue. Job opportunities are expected to increase by more than 20 percent over the next ten years.Our team is designed to bring peace of mind to every real estate transaction, construction project and survey need from start to finish and our licensed surveyors play a critical role in this effort. At McSteen, our team of survey professionals is our greatest asset and we are always looking to build on it.

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