Surveying and Mapping Technicians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Surveying technicians generally need a high school diploma, but some have postsecondary training in survey technology. Postsecondary training is more common among mapping technicians where an associates degree or bachelors degree in a relevant field, such as geomatics, is beneficial.
Training Required
Surveying technicians learn their job duties under the supervision of a surveyor or a surveying party chief. Initially, surveying technicians handle simple tasks, such as placing markers on land and entering data into computers. With experience, they help decide where and how to measure the land.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Depending on state licensing requirements, surveying technicians with many years of experience and formal training in surveying may be able to become licensed surveyors.
The growing need to make sure that data are useful to other professionals has caused certification to become more common. The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) offers certification for photogrammetry, remote-sensing, and Geographic Information/Land Information Systems (GIS/LIS). The National Society of Professional Surveyors offers the Certified Survey Technician credential, and the GIS Certification Institute offers a GIS Professional certification.
Median pay: How much do Surveying and Mapping Technicians make?
$42,450 Annual Salary
$20.41 per hour

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earths surface. Surveying technicians visit sites to take measurements of the land. Mapping technicians use geographic data to create maps. They both assist surveyors, and cartographers and photogrammetrists.


Surveying technicians typically do the following:

  • Visit sites to record survey measurements and other descriptive data
  • Operate surveying instruments, such as electronic distance-measuring equipment (robotic total stations), to collect data on a location
  • Set out stakes and marks to conduct a survey
  • Search for previous survey points, such as old stone markers
  • Enter the data from surveying instruments into computers, either in the field or in an office

Surveying technicians help surveyors in the field on teams known as survey parties. A typical survey party has a party chief and one or more surveying technicians. The party chief, either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician, leads day-to-day work activities. After data is collected by the survey party, surveying technicians help process the data by entering the data into computers.

Mapping technicians typically do the following:

  • Select needed information from databases to create maps
  • Edit and process images that have been collected in the field
  • Produce maps showing boundaries, water locations, elevation, and other features of the terrain
  • Update maps to ensure accuracy
  • Assist photogrammetrists by laying out aerial photographs in sequence to identify areas not captured by aerial photography

Mapping technicians help cartographers and photogrammetrists produce and update maps. They do this work on computers, combining data from different sources. Mapping technicians may use drones to take photos and collect other information required to complete maps or surveys.

Careers for Surveying and Mapping Technicians

  • Cartographic aides
  • Cartographic technicians
  • Field map technicians
  • GIS mapping technicians
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) technicians
  • Geographic information systems technicians
  • Geophysical prospecting surveying technicians
  • Mapping technicians
  • Mineral surveying technicians
  • Survey CAD technicians
  • Surveying technicians
  • Topography technicians

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