Skip navigation

Surveying Technicians - 17-3031.01

O*NET-SOC Description

Adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Chainman
  • Engineering Assistant
  • Engineering Technician
  • Instrument Man (I-Man)
  • Instrument Operator
  • Instrument Person
  • Rodman
  • Survey Crew Chief
  • Survey Party Chief
  • Survey Technician

SOC Occupation Groups

Related Occupations


  • Adjust and operate surveying instruments such as prisms, theodolites, and electronic distance-measuring equipment.
  • Collect information needed to carry out new surveys, using source maps, previous survey data, photographs, computer records, and other relevant information.
  • Compare survey computations with applicable standards to determine adequacy of data.
  • Compile information necessary to stake projects for construction, using engineering plans.
  • Conduct surveys to ascertain the locations of natural features and man-made structures on the Earth's surface, underground, and underwater, using electronic distance-measuring equipment and other surveying instruments.
  • Direct and supervise work of subordinate members of surveying parties.
  • Lay out grids, and determine horizontal and vertical controls.
  • Maintain equipment and vehicles used by surveying crews.
  • Operate and manage land-information computer systems, performing tasks such as storing data, making inquiries, and producing plots and reports.
  • Perform calculations to determine earth curvature corrections, atmospheric impacts on measurements, traverse closures and adjustments, azimuths, level runs, and placement of markers.
  • Perform manual labor, such as cutting brush for lines, carrying stakes, rebar, and other heavy items, and stacking rods.
  • Place and hold measuring tapes when electronic distance-measuring equipment is not used.
  • Position and hold the vertical rods, or targets, that theodolite operators use for sighting to measure angles, distances, and elevations.
  • Prepare topographic and contour maps of land surveyed, including site features and other relevant information, such as charts, drawings, and survey notes.
  • Provide assistance in the development of methods and procedures for conducting field surveys.
  • Record survey measurements and descriptive data, using notes, drawings, sketches, and inked tracings.
  • Run rods for benches and cross-section elevations.
  • Search for section corners, property irons, and survey points.
  • Set out and recover stakes, marks, and other monumentation.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Assist engineers or scientists with research.
  • Calculate geographic positions from survey data.
  • Create maps.
  • Gather physical survey data.
  • Maintain mechanical equipment.
  • Operate computer systems.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
  • Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
  • Verify mathematical calculations.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Construction Engineering Technician (Army - Warrant Officer only)
  • Construction Surveyor (Army - Enlisted)
  • Critical Skills Operator (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Engineer Assistant (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Engineering (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Aid (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Aid Basic (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Aide - Surveyor (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Engineering Superintendent (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Field Artillery Sensor Support Marine (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Field Artillery Surveyor (Army - Enlisted)
  • Field Artillery Surveyor/Meteorological Crewmember (Army - Enlisted)
  • Geospatial Intelligence Specialist (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Infantry Assaultman (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Infantry Squad Leader (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Infantry Unit Leader (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Intelligence Specialist (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Operations Chief (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Operations Chief (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Rifleman (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Technical Engineer (Army - Enlisted)
  • Topographic Surveyor (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • Surveyor Assistant, Instruments

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Chief of Party
  • Surveyor Assistant, Instruments