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Survey/Mapping Sciences


What Do Land Surveyors Do?

Land Surveyors make exact measurements and determine property boundaries, provide data relevant to the shape, contour, gravitation, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth’s surface for engineering, mapmaking, mining, land evaluation, construction, and other purposes. Land Surveyors use GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) in their work. Work is outdoors using surveying instruments and equipment as well as in the office using computers to produce reports and maps.


Where Do Land Surveyors Work?

Land Surveyors are employed by engineering, surveying, architectural, and utility companies throughout the United States, as well as by federal, state, and local government agencies. These companies and agencies, in turn, provide their services primarily to engineering, construction, real estate and mapping industries. Land Surveyors are often employed by consulting services both large and small, or work as freelance professionals.


What Do Land Surveyors Earn?

The starting wage for entry-level Land Surveying Technicians is well over $20 per hour with substantial salary increases for state LSIT (Land Surveyor-in-Training) certification and Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) licensure. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016 data), the annual median salary for Land Surveyors in California is $86,870; and for Land Surveying Technicians is $66,860.

What Skills Do Land Surveyors Need?

Surveying is a cooperative process, so strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a part of a team are essential. A math aptitude is helpful.  Other skills include liking to work outdoors, a willingness to travel to different worksite locations, preparing reports using data, and an appreciation for exactness when taking measurements.

How Can I Become a Land Surveyor?

A successful program student will have the technical expertise necessary for an entry level position in the field of land surveying or in related geospatial science industries. The program also assists those students preparing for the national fundamentals of surveying (FS), principles and practices of surveying (PS) and state specific land surveying (LS) exams. The California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists will grant one year of the required experience towards certification as a Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT), for program students completing an Associate of Science Degree in Land Surveying.


How Do I Get Started?

Begin by registering for Plane Surveying (SURV 118), the first course in the program series, offered in most fall and spring semesters. Successful completion of the Plane Surveying course enables students to enroll in several of the other courses of the program including Advanced Plane Surveying (SURV 119).