Surveying and mapping technicians
Sign In
Overview
Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth&apos:s surface. Surveying technicians visit sites to take measurements of the land. Mapping technicians use geographic data to create maps. They both assist surveyors and cartographers and photogrammetrists.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for surveying and mapping technicians are expected to grow by 11%, and should have about 7,300 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Surveying and mapping technicians are more likely to be automated than 89% of other careers.
Workforce size
Surveying and mapping technicians, with 60,200 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Education
Only 8% of surveying and mapping technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by surveying and mapping technicians
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer surveying and mapping technicians have bachelor's degrees than 74% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 56% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for surveying and mapping technicians. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most surveying and mapping technicians.
This job's median $44KAll jobs' median $39K$44K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 8% of surveying and mapping technicians -- that's a smaller percentage than 80% of other jobs.
Gender of surveying and mapping technicians
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For surveying and mapping technicians, the median men's salary was 21% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 10% of surveying and mapping technicians are minority, and 6% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of surveying and mapping technicians
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (6%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Surveying and Mapping Technicians per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 45% of surveying and mapping technicians, and 61% have company-sponsored health insurance (21% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for surveying and mapping technicians
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of surveying and mapping technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (64%)
  • Consequence of Error (37%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (36%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do surveying and mapping technicians earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for surveying and mapping technicians, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for surveying and mapping technicians compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for surveying and mapping technicians (BLS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all surveying and mapping technicians, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for surveying and mapping technicians compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for surveying and mapping technicians (ACS Salary Data)
$47K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$47K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where surveying and mapping technicians work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Surveying and mapping technicians (ACS)
Private for-profit (72.9%)
Private not-for-profit (1.7%)
Local government (9.3%)
State government (5.9%)
Federal government (3.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (4.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (2.9%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of surveying and mapping technicians by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$47K$51K$47K$50K$50K$45K$67K$42K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of surveying and mapping technicians by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$44K$52K$51K$43K$45K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for surveying and mapping technicians

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$53K$53K$44K$54K$58K$55K$50K$39K$27K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
02K4K6K8KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Surveying and mapping technicians and gender

With 8% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 80% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
8%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Surveying and mapping technicians
Men (92%)
Women (8%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for surveying and mapping technicians tops that, with the median salary for men 21% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$41K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Surveying and mapping technicians have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 63% of other jobs.

21%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of surveying and mapping technicians

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority surveying and mapping technicians than for 91% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of surveying and mapping technicians
White (88% )
Black (4% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
6%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for surveying and mapping technicians by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$28K$41K$42K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KPacific IslanderOtherBlackWhite
Distribution: Salaries for surveying and mapping technicians by nativity
$47K$47K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by surveying and mapping technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), surveying and mapping technicians typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as surveying and mapping technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for surveying and mapping technicians.

Education attained by surveying and mapping technicians
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for surveying and mapping technicians

Surveying technicians generally need a high school diploma, but some have postsecondary training in survey technology. Postsecondary training is more common among mapping technicians where an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as geomatics, is beneficial.

High school students interested in working as a surveying or mapping technician should take courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer science. Knowledge of these subjects may help in finding a job and in advancing.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for surveying and mapping technicians

The growing need to make sure that data are useful to other professionals has caused certification to become more common. The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) offers certification for photogrammetry, remote-sensing, and Geographic Information/Land Information Systems (GIS/LIS). The National Society of Professional Surveyors offers the Certified Survey Technician credential, and the GIS Certification Institute offers a GIS Professional certification.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for surveying and mapping technicians? Below we see the distribution of surveying and mapping technicians salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as surveying and mapping technicians, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$39K$46K$50K$52K$46K$66K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (6%)High School (29%)Some College (36%)Associate's Degree (21%)Bachelor's Degree (7%)Master's Degree (1%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Surveying Technology/Surveying
685
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for surveying and mapping technicians

What jobs will most surveying and mapping technicians hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of surveying and mapping technicians reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Surveying and mapping techniciansSurveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetristsManagers (specialized areas)General office clerksInspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighersInterviewersConstruction equipment operatorsJanitors and building cleanersGrounds maintenance workersConstruction trade helpersHand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for surveying and mapping technicians

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 2 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as surveying and mapping technicians as well as 1% of respondents after working as surveying and mapping technicians. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for surveying and mapping technicians
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists
5,000
$0$200K$57K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for surveying and mapping technicians: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as surveying and mapping technicians? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of surveying and mapping technicians surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for surveying and mapping technicians
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
2.6%
First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
153,100
$0$200K$48K
1.5%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
3.5%
Designers
61,700
$0$200K$51K
1.3%
Police officers
49,900
$0$200K$62K
1.1%
Engineering technicians
40,100
$0$200K$54K
1.7%
Meeting, convention, and event planners
15,300
$0$200K$47K
1.0%
Telecommunications line installers and repairers
10,800
$0$200K$48K
1.6%
Surveying and mapping technicians
7,300
$0$200K$47K
51.0%
Surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists
5,000
$0$200K$57K
5.0%
Extraction workers
4,000
$0$200K$53K
1.1%
Utilities meter readers
2,300
$0$200K$38K
1.4%
No occupation
4.5%
Read about surveying and mapping technicians
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Surveying technicians typically do the following:

  • Visit sites to record survey measurements and other descriptive data
  • Operate surveying instruments, such as electronic distance-measuring equipment (robotic total stations), to collect data on a location
  • Set out stakes and marks to conduct a survey
  • Search for previous survey points, such as old stone markers
  • Enter the data from surveying instruments into computers, either in the field or in an office

Surveying technicians help surveyors in the field on teams known as survey parties. A typical survey party has a party chief and one or more surveying technicians. The party chief, either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician, leads day-to-day work activities. After data is collected by the survey party, surveying technicians help process the data by entering the data into computers.

Mapping technicians typically do the following:

  • Select needed information from databases to create maps
  • Edit and process images that have been collected in the field
  • Produce maps showing boundaries, water locations, elevation, and other features of the terrain
  • Update maps to ensure accuracy
  • Assist photogrammetrists by laying out aerial photographs in sequence to identify areas not captured by aerial photography

Mapping technicians help cartographers and photogrammetrists produce and update maps. They do this work on computers, combining data from different sources. Mapping technicians may use drones to take photos and collect other information required to complete maps or surveys.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technicians use GIS technology to assemble, integrate, and display data about a particular location in a digital format. GIS technicians also maintain and update databases for GIS devices.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of surveying and mapping technicians? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Decisionmaking skills
Surveying technicians must be able to exercise some independent judgment in the field because they may not always be able to communicate with team members.
Detail oriented
Surveying and mapping technicians must be precise and accurate in their work. Their results are often entered into legal records.
Listening skills
Surveying technicians work outdoors and must communicate with party chiefs and other team members across distances. Following spoken instructions from the party chief is crucial for saving time and preventing errors.
Physical stamina
Surveying technicians usually work outdoors, often in rugged terrain. Physical fitness is necessary to carry equipment and to stand most of the day.
Problem-solving skills
Surveying and mapping technicians must be able to identify and fix problems with their equipment. They must also note potential problems with the day’s work plan.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for surveying and mapping technicians
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 56% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for surveying and mapping technicians. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $44KAll jobs' median $39K$40K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for surveying and mapping technicians are anticipated to grow by 11% over the next decade; only 23% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for surveying and mapping technicians is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030020,00040,00060,00080,000100,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most surveying and mapping technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as surveying and mapping technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Surveying and Mapping Technicians per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where surveying and mapping technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for surveying and mapping technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for surveying and mapping technicians.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Surveying and Mapping Technicians to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which surveying and mapping technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Surveying and mapping technicians (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests and Salary (All education levels)
Filter for this education level
All education levels
Filter for any of these broad categories
Select...
Higher PayLower PayMore SimilarLess Similar
Major Occupation
Management
Business & Financial
Computer & Mathematical
Architecture and Engineering
Life, Physical, & Social Science
Farming, Fishing, & Forestry
Healthcare Practitioners & Technical
Healthcare Support
Community and Social Service
Protective Service
Legal
Education, Training, & Library
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, & Media
Office & Administrative Support
Sales & Related
Personal Care & Service
Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance
Food Preparation and Serving Related
Military-Specific
Transportation & Material Moving
Production
Installation, Maintenance, & Repair
Construction & Extraction
Ⓒ 2019 RipeData LLC. All Rights Reserved.