Surveying and Mapping Technicians: The Role and Requirements

Surveying and Mapping Technicians: The Role and Requirements

Surveying and mapping technicians are professionals responsible for assisting surveyors, cartographers, and engineers to collect and analyze data related to land and geography. They play a vital role in creating accurate maps and charts used for local and national planning, resource management, and environmental compliance. Surveying and mapping technicians use sophisticated instruments and technologies to measure, record, and present spatial data in a readable format.

Examples of Surveying and Mapping Technician Jobs

The responsibilities of surveying and mapping technicians depend on the employer, location, and specific field of interest. Some of the typical duties include:

  • Assisting in the collection of data using GPS, photogrammetry, surveying methods or other geographic information systems (GIS) technologies;
  • Preparing accurate maps, diagrams, and reports that represent the topography of an area;
  • Assessing, collecting, and verifying property boundary data and utility locations;
  • Providing support to surveyors, engineers, and architects during construction and project planning;
  • Operating and maintaining surveying and mapping instruments and equipment.

The above list is not exhaustive, but these examples show how crucial the technician role is in tasks such as urban planning, disaster mitigation, public works, and civil engineering, among many others.

Required Education and Training

The qualifications for becoming a surveying and mapping technician often vary depending on the nature of the job. However, most employers require either an associate’s degree or a certificate that shows proficiency in an accredited program related to geography, cartography, GIS, or land surveying. Many states also require surveying and mapping technicians to be licensed, which usually entails passing an exam and meeting other state-specific requirements.

Additionally, surveying and mapping technicians usually undergo on-the-job training to learn about the specific tasks and technologies used by their employers. A willingness to learn and keep up with new technologies is a valuable trait for this field.

Career Progression and Entry Points

Progression levels widely depend on job performance and experience. After gaining a few years of experience, some technicians may advance to become surveyors, GIS specialists, or engineers. However, others may prefer to specialize in a specific type of mapping or surveying, such as land surveying or photogrammetry, and become experts in that subfield.

For new individuals interested in this field, getting a job as a surveying and mapping technician usually involves submitting a resume that outlines their educational background, related experience, and certification or licensure status. Most employers welcome applicants with basic familiarity with computer programs, previous work experience with machines and tools, and familiarity with how GIS systems work.


Becoming a surveying and mapping technician can lead to a promising career with job opportunities in various fields. While a degree and certification are usually required, many employers provide on-the-job training to help new entrants gain experience and specialize in needed areas. Moreover, being open to learning new skills and technologies will enable surveying and mapping technicians to stay relevant and keep up with any changes in the field.

Occupation National Average Salary Level Union Full-time/Time-based pay Geography Average Salary
Surveying and mapping technicians US National Average All workers Nonunion Full-time $50,856.00
Surveying and mapping technicians US National Average Level 06 Full-time $53,976.00
Surveying and mapping technicians Vrginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC All levels Full-time $50,148.80
Surveying and mapping technicians South Carolina All levels Nonunion $41,974.40

Surveying and mapping technicians are typically classified as Level 06 or Intermediate workers, according to US National Average salary data. The average salary for this occupation is $53,227.20, with full-time technicians earning a slightly higher average of $53,539.20. Union membership does not appear to have a significant impact on salary levels, with non-union workers earning an average of $50,856.00.

Geography appears to have a more significant impact on salary levels for surveying and mapping technicians, with the highest paying location being Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC, where the average full-time salary is $50,148.80. In contrast, the lowest paying location is South Carolina where non-union technicians earn an average of $41,974.40.

Overall, surveying and mapping technicians can earn a decent salary with opportunities for advancement to higher levels. Union membership does not appear to play a significant role in salary levels. However, geography can play a significant role in determining the average salary for workers in this occupation.