Job descriptions and industry overviews

Geomatics/land surveyor: job description

14 Sept 2023, 16:08

Geomatics surveyors (also known as land surveyors) take measurements and collect and interpret data about areas of land. Their work often feeds into decisions about the impact of buildings and both natural and man-made features on the environment

A set of digging tools used by geomatics and land surveyor laid out on grass.

Geomatics/land surveyor : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Geomatics surveyors or land surveyors measure, map, assess, and collect and interpret information about specific pieces of land. This includes natural and man-made features, buildings and infrastructure. They often work on land due to be redeveloped (built on), on which the built infrastructure (such as a railway line) is due to be repaired or land that could contain sites of archaeological interest. Their findings inform decisions about how construction work will affect the environment.

Typical duties include:

  • undertaking land, topographic, hydrographic and measured building surveys, using a variety of specialist equipment and technology, such as robotics and 3D scanners.
  • analysing information using software such as AutoCAD and GIS (geographic information systems) programs.
  • working with other land-related professionals such as cartographers and engineers.
  • preparing survey drawings.
  • analysing digital photos and drone footage.
  • presenting data to clients and writing reports.
  • advising about technical matters and whether construction plans are viable.

The job tends to combine desk-based work with working outdoors on sites. You’ll need to travel to sites and sometimes work away from home for stretches of time. Depending on the piece of land and how it’s being used (eg if it has a busy, operational rail line on it), you may need to work shifts or out of hours.

Graduate salaries

Salary survey websites suggest that starting salaries for land surveyors tend to be around £23,000. However, your earnings will rise as you gain experience, particularly if you achieve chartership: according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), average salaries for chartered surveyors are around £60,000.

Typical geomatics surveyor or land surveyor employers

  • Specialist land surveying consultancies.
  • Civil engineering and construction companies (contractors and consultants).
  • Rail companies.
  • Mining companies.
  • Utilities companies.

Vacancies are typically advertised via targetjobs and university careers services. You’ll also find them advertised on specialist jobs boards and via specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into a geomatics surveying or land surveying career for both university graduates and school leavers.

Graduates usually have a degree in geomatics or geospatial sciences – or a related subject such as geophysics, geology, geography, geotechnology or earth sciences. Civil engineering, planning, surveying or construction degrees may also be accepted by employers if they include relevant modules.

Most employers require degrees that are accredited by a relevant professional body (such as ICES, ICE or RICS) so that you can progress to full membership or chartership while working. Depending on the institution, a professional qualification can take between two and five years of completing work-based study and a final assessment.

As a school leaver, you can take a geospatial and mapping science degree apprenticeship. This involves studying for a degree while working in a relevant job.

Key skills for geomatics surveyors and land surveyors

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.