Geodetic Surveyor

Map areas of the earth using satellite equipment and computers.
picture of Geodetic Surveyor

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$31,000 – $90,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Geodetic Surveyors do?

When they say it’s a rocky job, that’s a good thing. Geodetic Surveyors spend the majority of their time reviewing charts and data to create a map of the Earth’s surface. As a Geodetic Surveyor, you set up the equipment to record information, and use computer software to mark natural formations and boundaries between land and water on a map of the surveyed area. It’s like taking an environmental census.

When you’re a Geodetic Surveyor, you survey a piece of land by placing satellite signal receivers at strategic points around the border of your area. Each little receiver acts like a GPS and sends out information about its exact location. Once the equipment’s in place, you use satellites to create detailed imagery.

After the data is collected and the images stored, you pull it up on the computer to create a custom map. This map uses colored lines to show different parts of the land, ranging from hills to rivers. This is much easier for the human eye to read than the original images taken by satellite.

It’s a job that combines a love of computers and the outdoors-–two areas that normally stay separated. Geodetic Surveyors are crucial for creating maps that Loggers can use to clear trees, Construction Workers can use to plan new buildings, and national parks can use to mark off areas of preserved land. Knowing is half the battle, as they say, and it’s your job to know the lay of the land.

Should I be a Geodetic Surveyor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Geodetic Surveyor Technologist, Geographic Information System Surveyor

    How to become a Geodetic Surveyor

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