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Geodetic Survey Technologist


Description

It would be impossible to just build a house without doing any geodetic land surveying research. Geodetics studies the measurement and representation of the earth, including its gravity field in a three-dimensional time varying space. Geodetic survey technologists conduct and participate in field surveys for future building projects in order to determine exact locations and positions of natural features and other land structures. For example, if a developing company is about to build a shopping center near a large dolomite rock foundation, the geodetic survey technologists and engineers must consider how to build around, with or on top of the rock.

In the course of their work and research, geodetic survey technologists use a wide variety of surveying and computer equipment, including electronic distance measuring instruments, global positioning systems (GPS) and digital mapping systems to define and discover natural formations around a particular site. They process the data collected by GPS receivers and check for accuracy and promptness.

Geodetic survey technologists attempt to determine the exact locations and relative positions of natural features and fabricated structures on the earth's surface, underground and underwater. They also must determine the points of elevation in the land, contours and other important surveying features. The more advances technologists use GPS extensively, which is a satellite system that locates specific points on earth using radio signals. These geodetic surveys and information studies are conducted for many reasons, one being that they can monitor volcanic activity and check for earthquake probabilities.

When they have completed their surveys and collected all appropriate data, geodetic survey technologists return to the office to analyze the data and prepare drafts and drawings from these findings. Geodetic survey technologists work alone and in teams with land surveyors, engineers and other technologists. Many technologists use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to create these drawings.

Many geodetic survey technologists are drawn to the job because of the amount of outdoor work and travel involved. They literally trudge through all terrain, in all weather conditions carrying their heavy equipment with them to make measurements and conduct proper surveys. Traditionally, technologists had to write down measurements and findings in a logbook, but equipment and instruments these days all do it automatically for you. Also, there is a great deal of diversity in the career which offers new challenges with every project.
 
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Norwich University - Online
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Programs Offered:
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$55,374
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Geodetic survey technologists have an aptitude for mathematics, including the ability to think visually about geometric forms. They should love working outdoors with specific geomatic instruments and be in fairly good shape in order to work in the field. They should have good problem solving skills and enjoy analyzing information and finding innovative solutions to land surveying problems.

Technologists should have keen observation skills, be able to work and communicate with a number of different workers and finally, possess the ability to perceive pertinent detail in objects and drawings. Geodetic survey technologists also need to know about surveying methods, the laws relating to land use and survey regulations.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assist survey engineers or professional surveyors to develop methods and procedures for conducting field surveys
  • Conduct geodetic field surveys and operate survey instruments to measure distance, angles, elevations and contours
  • Perform calculations and field layouts of horizontal, vertical and spiral curves when conducting detailed surveys on projects
  • Research land titles, legal survey plans, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, geographical databases and other relevant information for planning surveys
  • Use global positioning systems (GPS) to monitor Earth-orbiting satellites to determine geographic positions
  • Record measurements and other information obtained during field survey activities
  • Analyze latitude, longitude and angles and compute trigonometrical and other calculations to plot features, contours and areas to a specific scale
  • Extract survey and thematic information from remotely sensed imagery
  • Prepare detailed drawings, charts and plans and survey notes and reports
  • Geodetic survey technologists split up their work time between indoor and outdoor work. Outdoors, and in all weather conditions, they conduct land surveys and other related tests and gather as much information as possible. Geodetic survey technologists may have to build their own site camps in more remote circumstances, such as mining or petroleum work. Indoors, they often use computers to compile and analyze data, and outdoors in all weather conditions, conducting surveys. In some jobs, extensive traveling may be required, sometimes to remote areas. When in the office, they usually work standard days, but on the field, days may be much longer.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Geodetic survey technologists are employed by all levels of government and by private sector surveying establishments, architectural and construction companies, design, surveying and mapping computer software firms, legal firms, aerial photography companies and oil and coal companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Geodetic survey technologists may advance to supervisory or management positions in which they become responsible for other technologists. Other career advancement possibilities may include a move into data processing, drafting or cartography positions. It is quite possible to become a land surveyor or geomatics engineer with additional education and proper training.

Some experts say that geodetics survey technologists could shift career focus and move into the legal or law world. Civil engineering and real estate are also closely related fields.
 

  Educational Paths  
Completion of a two- or three-year college program in geodetic surveying technology is usually required for geodetic survey technologists. A certification in geodetic surveying technology or a related field is available through associations of engineering or applied science technologists and technicians, and may be required for some positions.

Since a great deal of work takes place on the computer or using sophisticated instruments, taking courses in CAD or GPS systems is a helpful and useful idea for obtaining employment.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

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