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Geomatics/land surveyor: job description

Geomatics/land surveyor: job description

Geomatics/land surveyors carry out measurements and collect and interpret data about areas of land, including information about boundaries, buildings and both natural and man-made features.
Geomatics is a relatively recent term, first used in the mid-1980s.

What does a land surveyor do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Employers of geomatics/land surveyors include private surveying practices, civil engineering contractors/consultancies, rail operators, mining companies, local authorities, central government and utilities. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • undertaking land surveys/measurements using a variety of specialist technical equipment (including theodolites, laser alignment devices, satellite positioning systems etc.)
  • analysing data using plans, maps, charts and computer applications such as CAD and GIS
  • presenting data to clients
  • advising about technical matters and whether the construction plans are viable
  • writing reports
  • managing projects and/or multi-disciplinary teams
  • producing and/or advising about construction plans and drawings.

Geomatics/land surveyors work typical nine-to-five days although they may work longer hours when coming up to a deadline. The job involves both office work and site work and regular travel to and from sites or overnight stays are common.

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies, in newspapers and publications such as Civil Engineering SurveyorNew Civil Engineer and Opportunities. Other useful publications include Municipal Yearbook, RICS Directory (available via the internet), and TARGETjobs Property. It is advisable to apply early for all vacancies and to make speculative applications to private sector employers.

Qualifications and training required

Individuals wishing to enter the profession must normally obtain a degree/diploma that is accredited by one of the professional bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors. Consequently, most land surveyors have relevant degrees in subjects such as civil/structural engineering, geomatics, geophysics, geology, geography, geotechnology, land/estate surveying, planning or building.

Any previous relevant work experience gained via job shadowing, vacation work or placements can be helpful, and can contribute towards vocational experience requirements.

Key skills for geomatics and land surveyors

Candidates must be numerate and technically competent, with excellent IT, problem solving and analytical skills. The ability to analyse data and produce results with a high degree of accuracy is a key part of the role. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are important, as are teamworking and negotiation. A full driving licence is also usually needed in order to travel to sites.

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