Career outlook for land surveyor
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would measure and assess an area of land to check if it can be used for civil engineering and construction projects. You’d collect and analyse data to map the shape of land.
Projects could range from building roads, tunnels and bridges, to land development, mining and quarrying or the installation of power and water supply networks – including renewable energy systems.
You would do initial surveys of potential sites and assess the impact on the environment to check whether construction plans are workable.
You’d use surveying instruments and GPS (global positioning system) technology to get the exact coordinates of site features. This is called geospatial measurement.
As you gather information you would also produce digital images of the sites (photogrammetry). You’d map land use with satellite photography (remote sensing). You’d use geographic information systems (GIS) to analyse and interpret site features. This is called geomatics.
During the project you’d monitor land movement and subsidence caused by the construction or by natural processes (geomechanics).
You would use computer-aided design software and other cartographic techniques to create 2D and 3D charts and maps.
Some surveyors specialise in hydrographic surveying to map inshore and offshore features, covering:
- Natural waterways and canals for environmental projects
- Dredging operations
- Navigational charts
- Oil and gas exploration
- Undersea mining
- Locating and salvaging sunken ships
- Assessing location suitability for offshore wind farms
For hydrographic work, you might need experience of navigation and using small boats.
UK employment status
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- Taking responsibility
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