Aerial Surveyor

Create a map by viewing the area from an airplane.
picture of Aerial Surveyor

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$31,000 – $90,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Aerial Surveyors do?

Maps can help people get from point A to point B without stopping to ask for directions. They also let Builders know what the land looks like before they start projects, and help buyers and sellers determine just how much land will trade hands in a real estate deal.

Aerial Surveyors have a lot resting on their shoulders. That’s because if you’re an Aerial Surveyor you are the person responsible for drawing maps after you’ve inspected the land from a plane.

A Pilot likely steers the plane for you, as you’re too busy with your tools to bother with navigation. When you reach the survey spot, you ask the Pilot to circle the area. You may take photographs to help you remember the land, and you may take notes as well. Additionally, you may use specialized tools like GPS to measure how far apart elements are.

When the plane lands, you scurry back to your office to do yet more research. Studying old maps, photographs, and reports helps you form a complete picture of the area, and how it has changed over time. Then, you use a computer to draw your map based on everything you’ve learned.

Aerial Surveyors’ work may be somewhat seasonal. When the weather is bad, it’s very hard to see the ground from an airplane. During your wintertime down season, you may refine the maps you’ve already sketched out or you may take a much-needed vacation.

It’s likely that you’ll avoid trips involving plane rides, however. You probably need a break from planes.

Should I be an Aerial Surveyor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • How to become an Aerial Surveyor

    Most Aerial Surveyors have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:gsj9ag&chl=no+college+%286%25%29|certificate+%2818%25%29|associate%27s+%289%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2861%25%29||doctorate+%286%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,6,61
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