Surveyor - Photogrammetrist: Education and Career Information

Sep 29, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed become a photogrammetrist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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Though different professions, surveyors and photogrammetrists are intertwined in that they both contribute to the definition of area boundaries, as well as the illumination of the physical characteristics of that area. Both professions require a bachelor's degree. Employment opportunities include private businesses, such as engineering, construction or architectural firms, as well as government agencies or scientific consultation firms.

Essential Information

Surveyors and photogrammetrists are professionals who measure land and then analyze and prepare information about physical characteristics of the area examined. The primary task of a surveyor is to establish or verify boundaries, while photogrammetrists create maps, especially those that may include spatial data as well. Individuals interested in either career will need a bachelor's degree to enter the field.

Career Title Surveyor Photogrammetrist
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Additional coursework in surveying studies; licensure is required of all surveyors Licensure may be required depending on the state
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% 15% for cartographers and photogrammetrists
Median Salary (2018)* $62,580 $64,430 for cartographers and photogrammetrists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is sufficient for most entry-level surveying jobs. Besides surveying degree programs, students may also consider geomatics and mapping science programs. Prerequisite coursework in math and science, such as physics and calculus may be required. The curriculum may include coursework in geographic information systems, boundary law, calculus, geometry, and statistics.

Coursework specific to surveying covers measuring and graphing tools, surveying techniques and how to use the information obtained. In addition to classroom learning, students may gain extensive hands-on training. Many surveying courses include lab sessions that allow students to practice surveying techniques and computer drafting skills. Students may undertake cooperative work experiences or internships.

Career Information

The BLS indicates that surveyors typically work outdoors, using special instruments to take measurements using tools like levels, lasers, electronic distance meters and optical alignment devices to establish legal land, air and water boundaries. Besides measuring physical dimensions, they may also record data on soils, landmarks and landscape features such as elevation. Writing descriptions of the land surveyed or a related report on findings is also an important part of the job. The BLS states that surveyors may perform research to locate deed records relevant to property surveyed and provide expert testimony at a trial.

According to the BLS, surveyors are required to hold a state license, the requirements for which may vary by state, although they generally include passing a series of exams and working under the supervision of a licensed surveyor for a period of time. Surveyors may work for architecture, engineering and construction companies. Experienced surveyors may lead teams of surveying technicians and other workers during a project. The BLS projects that employment opportunities for surveyors are expected to increase as fast as the average from 2018-2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the mean annual salary for a surveyor was $66,440.


Education Requirements

While programs specific to photogrammetry are rare, individuals interested in this field may consider majors in surveying or a related field, such as geomatics or geographic information sciences. Many surveying programs include relevant courses and some may offer concentrations in photogrammetry. Programs related to photogrammetry include coursework in the technologies used on the job, such as digital imaging, remote sensing and geographic information systems. Coursework in human and physical geography may also be required.

Career Information

According to the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), a photogrammetrist is a special kind of cartographer who builds maps based on satellite, aerial, radar or laser images of an area. They may also work on developing the equipment and tools used to collect and analyze the information needed to actually make the map. The BLS also reports that photogrammetrists may incorporate additional levels of information into the map, such as demographics or precipitation levels.

The BLS reports that in some states, photogrammetrists may be required to hold a surveyor's license or earn a photogrammetry license. The BLS predicts that employment for photogrammetrists and cartographers is expected to increase rapidly from 2018-2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the mean annual salary for these professionals was $68,340.

To work as a surveyor or photogrammetrist, you'll need a bachelor's degree in an area such as surveying or geomatics. All states require licensure for surveyors, while in some cases photogrammetrists must be licensed surveyors as well as licensed photogrammetrists. Employment opportunities for surveyors are projected to decline in the foreseeable future, while opportunities for photogrammetrists are expected to increase at a rate much faster than that of the national average for all occupations.

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