Surveyors measure and map land, air space, and water boundaries.
They write descriptions of land for deeds, leases, and other legal documents. They define airspace for airports. They survey bodies of water to get data to construct piers and other structures. Surveyors also measure construction and mineral sites. They provide data that defines the size, shape, outline, or elevation of land or land features.
Surveyors direct the work of survey parties. It consists of a party chief and several technicians and helpers. These workers use survey tools to measure distances, directions, and angles between points. They also measure elevations of points, lines, and contours on the earth's surface. Surveyors plan the fieldwork and select known survey reference points to measure. They determine the exact location of important features in the survey area.
In addition, surveyors research legal records. They look for visual evidence of previous boundaries. They record the results of the survey and verify that the data is accurate. From this data, they prepare plots, maps, and reports. They also talk to engineers, clients, or others involved with the project.
Surveyors use global positioning systems (GPS). This is a satellite system that precisely locates points on the earth by using radio signals. To use this system, surveyors place a receiver, mounted on a tripod, at a desired point. The receiver collects signals from several satellites. From these signals it can locate a precise position. The receiver can also be placed in a vehicle for tracing out road systems. Surveyors interpret and check the results.
Surveyors also use aerial photography and geographic information systems (GIS). GIS are computerized data banks of specialized data about the earth's surface.