How to become a Surveyor

Surveyors measure, analyse and report land-related information for the planning and regulation of land, sea and the environment.

Personal requirements of a Surveyor

  • Good at mathematics
  • Interested in technology
  • Good organisational skills and attention to detail
  • Able to work neatly and accurately
  • Good health and normal colour vision
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Surveyor

To become a surveyor you usually have to complete a degree in surveying, spatial science, geospatial science or geographical information systems at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Surveyor

Surveyors may perform the following tasks:

  • measure the size and shape of an area of land using specialised tools and technology
  • determine the position of boundaries of public or private land
  • create property titles through plans for subdivision
  • compile and evaluate data gathered from field studies
  • interpret codes and laws to provide professional advice about legal matters relating to boundaries and titles
  • study the natural and social environment, measure land and marine resources, and use the data in planning development of property, land and buildings in urban, rural and regional areas
  • work with architects, engineers and developers to plan and monitor construction projects
  • produce plans, maps, files, charts and reports.

Working conditions for a Surveyor

Surveyors can spend a lot of time working outdoors. They also work in offices, analysing data and preparing plans and reports.

Employment Opportunities for a Surveyor

Surveyors are employed in engineering firms, mining and construction companies, government departments and private practices. Employment opportunities are dependent on activity in different sectors. Cadastral (land) surveyors generally have greater opportunities for employment. Registered surveyors may work for larger survey firms or may practise as partners in small firms. Large firms have greater scope for specialisation. Nearly all mine surveyors are employed in the mining industry, with most being based in regional centres. With further study, it is possible to move into administrative or engineering positions, which may be based in capital cities. The introduction of new technology has reduced the time required for surveying fieldwork, including satellite-positioning systems, electronic-distance and angle-measuring equipment, land and geographic information systems, remote-sensing equipment and the use of computers and computer graphics.

Specialisations:


Cadastral/Land Surveyor

A cadastral/land surveyor marks property boundaries, records the information on plans and maps, and creates property titles. They must be licensed to do this work, as the plans they make provide the basis for legal transactions of land.


Engineering Surveyor

An engineering surveyor surveys routes for railways, roads, pipelines, canals, sewers and tunnels, and undertakes detailed surveys of construction sites, dam sites, multistorey buildings and other engineering projects.


Geodetic Surveyor

A geodetic surveyor uses signals from satellites such as the global positioning system (GPS), star observations, precise levelling and electronic distance measurements to locate positions accurately on the Earth's surface for global mapping, and to monitor movements of the Earth's crust.


Hydrographic Surveyor

A hydrographic surveyor maps the physical features of oceans, seas, rivers and lakes and the adjacent land.


Mine Surveyor

A mine surveyor measures underground and open-cut mines in detail. Their surveys help mining organisations locate new mines safely, avoid older mines, and allow connections to be made between different underground passages. Mine surveyors also establish the boundaries of mining claims in some states and territories.


Remote Sensing Surveyor

A remote sensing surveyor uses digital data from high-resolution satellites and airborne imagery systems to monitor changes in the surface features of the Earth.


Topographic Surveyor

A topographic surveyor provides information for the compilation of maps of physical features of the Earth's surface (such as hills, valleys, rivers and lakes) by making field measurements and taking aerial photographs. They work on, above or below the surface of the land or sea, and often work with other professionals.

Additional Information
Graduates may be able to become registered or licensed by the surveyors board in their state or territory after completing a set amount of supervised practical experience. Graduates may also need to sit an exam, attend an interview, complete technical projects or pursue further study. All states and territories of Australia and New Zealand have mutual recognition arrangements, whereby registration as a surveyor in any one area allows for registration anywhere else in these zones through a process of application, involving payment of the appropriate fees and requiring that minimum statutory requirements are met.
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