Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Aerial Survey Technician


It would be impossible to build a suburban housing subdivision without doing any land surveying research, aerial surveying or design work. Sometimes it helps to get a "bird's eye view" on a plot of land to help a designer grasp the land he or she is working with. Aerial survey technicians conduct and participate in aerial field surveys for future building projects such as shopping malls in order to determine exact locations and positions of natural features and other fabricated land structures. For example, if a developing company is about to build a shopping center near a lake, the aerial survey technicians will analyze the lake in proportion to the land for the proposed building site from aerial photographs.

Aerial surveying is a great way of inspecting work in progress on a large development or construction site. Viewing it from the air brings the whole project into perspective in a way that is impossible using ground tours alone. Aerial surveying takes a series of precision GPS controlled high and low altitude aerial photographs, which are used for many applications, including county mapping, highway mapping, topographic surveys, and emergency and disaster response.

Aerial photography is now falling behind the pace of technology when it comes to mapmaking, becoming a more traditional method of mapping. Due to the extensive use of geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems and digital mapping systems, the work and role of aerial survey technicians is changing because of these rapid advancements in technology. A new type of mapping scientist has emerged replacing the older, more traditional mapmaker. Nevertheless, aerial survey technicians are still an important part of the land survey and mapmaking industry.

Aerial survey technicians 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. By studying aerial photography and satellite imagery, they provide information related to the exploration of geophysics, geology and resource management. Aerial survey technicians conduct surveys and information studies for many reasons, one being that they can monitor volcanic activity and check for earthquake probabilities.

Aerial survey technicians in large companies usually work with a team of designers, cartographers, engineers and other professionals in related industries. Those who work in smaller companies tend to meet with clients and contractors and perform a variety of tasks. In accordance with rapidly changing technology, aerial survey technicians are required to update their computer and general knowledge skills and become experts in GIS.
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Application Programmer
arrow Applications Analyst
arrow Cartographer
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Grand Canyon University
Want to earn a bachelor's or master's degree in the high-demand business field?
Programs Offered:
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Aerial survey technicians should have an aptitude for mathematics, including the ability to think visually about geometric forms. They should have good problem solving skills and enjoy analyzing information and finding innovative solutions to aerial surveying questions and problems.

Technicians should have acute observation skills, be able to work and communicate with a number of different workers and also possess the ability to perceive pertinent detail in objects and drawings. Aerial survey technicians also need to know about airborne surveying methods, the laws relating to land use and aerial survey regulations.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Participate in aerial field surveys and operate survey instruments and devices
  • Operate airborne remote sensing equipment such as survey cameras, sensors and scanners which produce images of large areas of the earth or of the atmosphere
  • Monitor recording quality and adjust equipment as required and inspect quality of recorded images
  • Operate aerial survey instruments to measure distance, angles, elevations and contours
  • Perform calculations of horizontal, vertical and spiral curves when conducting detailed surveys
  • Keep records, measurements and other survey information in systematic order
  • Analyze latitude, longitude and angles and compute trigonometrical and other calculations to plot features, contours and areas to a specific scale
  • Assist in the preparation of detailed drawings, charts and plans
  • May work independently of land surveyors.
  • Aerial survey technicians generally split their time between indoor and outdoor work. Outdoors, and in all weather conditions, they conduct aerial land surveys and other related tests, sometimes going up in an aircraft to conduct a study. Indoors, they often use computers to compile and analyze data, and outdoors conducting surveys. In some jobs, extensive traveling may be required, sometimes to remote areas. When in the office, they usually work standard hours, but on the field, days may be much longer.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Aerial survey technicians 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 and survey companies and oil and coal companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Aerial survey technicians may advance to supervisory or management positions in the aerial surveying industry. Other career advancements may include a shift into data processing, drafting or cartography. It is quite possible to become a land surveyor or geomatics engineer with additional education and proper training.

Some experts say that aerial survey technicians could shift career focus and move into the legal or law world. Civil engineering and real estate are also closely related fields an aerial survey technician may consider.

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

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

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
Programs Offered:
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management

Ashford University
You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.
Programs Offered:
  • BA/Project Management
  • BA/Public Relations and Marketing - Project Management
  • MA/Organizational Management - Project Management
  • And more...

Norwich University - Online
Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.
Programs Offered:
  • Master of Civil Engineering Online

San Joaquin Valley College

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

Programs Offered:
  • Degree - Construction Management

University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside
Transforming Engineers into Leaders

If you’re seeking to elevate your technical expertise and take on leadership roles in today’s global workplace, the UC Riverside online Master of Science in Engineering can deliver the highly calibrated balance of scientific and business knowledge to help you reach your goals.

Programs Offered:
  • M.S. in Engineering, Data Science Specialization

The Art Institutes system of schools

With an education from an Art Institutes school, imagine what you could create.

Programs Offered:
  • Drafting Technology & Design (AS)

ECPI University

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.


Programs Offered:
  • Mechatronics - Bachelor's

Milan Institute
Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
Programs Offered:
  • Electrician
  • Oil and Gas Instrumentation Technician

ABCO Technology

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

Programs Offered:
  • PMP
  • Project Management

Northcentral University

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs Offered:
  • MS Organizational Leadership - Project Management

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2016 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.