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Land surveyors use maps, notes, and land deed titles to establish township, property, and other boundary lines. Highway surveyors help establish lines, grades, and other points of reference for highway construction projects. Geodetic surveyors measure large land masses, sea, and other geophysical characteristics of the earth for preparing maps and national boundaries. Marine surveyors measure rivers, harbors, and other bodies of water for preparing nautical charts and construction projects such as piers, marinas, and bridges. Mine surveyors perform underground surveys for maps and mining operations. Geophysical prospecting surveyors locate sites likely to contain petroleum deposits, and photogrammetric engineers measure land contours to show elevations and depressions for maps.
Prospective surveyors should concentrate on taking plenty of math and science classes, as well as geography, mechanical drawing, and computer science. After high school, a bachelor's degree in surveying or engineering is the optimal way to move into this career, although some employers are willing to accept graduates of a one to three year vocational school training program. Surveyors making property and boundary surveys must be licensed in all 50 states, although requirements may vary.
Candidates for this career should be able to perform mathematical computations quickly and accurately, as well as have a good grasp on spacial relationships, and enjoy working with others. They must also be willing to work in a variety of weather situations, and sometimes hazardous conditions. For more information on educational opportunities and certification for surveyors, visit the National Society of Professional Surveyors website.
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