Land surveyor

geomatics surveyor
Construction and building

Career outlook for land surveyor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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.

Working conditions


You would normally work 35 to 40 hours a week. Early starts, late finishes and weekend work may be needed at times to meet deadlines.


Your job would combine office and site work.


Some projects may involve overnight stays away from home. You would normally need a driving licence to get to and from sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Negotiating
  • Taking responsibility

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would need a degree (SCQF level 9/10) accredited by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), preferably in subjects such as:

  • Geomatics
  • Geographic information science
  • Surveying
  • Mapping science

If the degree is not RICS-accredited you can do an accredited postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11).

Or you can enter a job with qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6 and study part-time for a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND. To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology science
  • Technologies subjects

You will also need

Once in work there will be a period of supervised practical training and Assessment of Professional Competence.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent and pass a health and safety test to work and train on construction sites.

You may require a driving licence for some jobs.