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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Land Survey Technicians and Technologists(2254)

Land survey technicians and technologists conduct or participate in surveys to determine the exact locations and relative positions of natural features and other structures on the earth's surface, underground and underwater. They are employed by all levels of government, architectural and engineering firms, and by private sector surveying establishments.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read instructions and directions on job schedules and work orders. They use the information to set their work schedules and determine what files and equipment to pack in their vehicles. (1)
  • Read notes and e-mail from supervisors, co-workers and colleagues. The messages may provide or request information for specific surveying tasks such as instructions for completing surveys and details of work assignments. (2)
  • Read company bulletins and notices such as notices about upcoming training, new or modified safety procedures and computer software bulletins. (2)
  • Read land title documents and field note entries. For example, they read field note entries from previous surveys for descriptions of physical characteristics, and review land title documents for severance details when completing boundary retracement research. They use the information to make decisions about previous boundary lines. (3)
  • Read technical information and instructions in equipment and safety manuals. For example, they read troubleshooting procedures, installation and usage instructions in equipment manuals. They read instructions and guidelines in safety manuals when working around traffic, on construction sites and in isolated areas. The text supplements and explains corresponding tables, diagrams and pictorial instructions. (3)
  • Read trade magazines and association newsletters such as Professional Surveyor, Links, and Scrivener to stay informed about surveying and construction issues, activities and new technologies. They apply the information to specific survey situations such as completing surveys on contaminated sites. (3)
  • Read zoning by-laws when preparing legal survey plans. For example, they read municipal by-laws when surveying for new subdivisions to verify that property lines and the position of physical structures meet zoning requirements. They are required to understand legal and construction terminology, intent and scope of municipal by-laws. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Scan coding abbreviations lists, legends and labels on documents such as plans, drawings, maps and land titles. (1)
  • Observe posted hazard, warning and caution signs at construction sites and on vehicles and equipment. (1)
  • Complete data sheets by entering monument or locator codes, measurement points and coordinate readings. (1)
  • Enter surveying information such as dates, hours, dimensions, locations and brief surveying details onto reporting forms. They use the forms to record information, track job progress and submit for approval. They may locate and summarize information from several sources when completing some of the forms. (2)
  • Scan data sheets and display screens on measuring devices for bearings, distances and elevations to verify data before inputting into drawings. For example, technologists review lot closure data sheets to input data into drawing programs. (2)
  • Scan job sheets and schedules to determine work location and job tasks. They use the information to decide what supplies, documents and equipment to pack for jobs. (2)
  • Enter surveying data such as dimensions, bearings, distances, sketches, brief descriptive texts, dates and locations into field notes. The field notes detail and record fieldwork data, physical characteristics and other relevant information. Field notes provide explanatory details of survey plans. (3)
  • Take information from scaled drawings. For example, they take measurements from scaled survey drawings to place and confirm locations of property lines, buildings and other physical characteristics. They locate shallow utilities such as cable and telephone lines, water mains and gas lines from scaled drawings such as Utility Right-of-Way before placing survey monuments in the ground and to mark the locations on survey plans. (3)
  • Review tables of longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates and elevation readings. For example, they review tables of elevations readings to mark elevations on survey monuments. They read tables of longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates to determine the accuracy and establish survey measurements. (3)
  • Locate and determine measurement specifications such as minimum measurement intervals from engineering or architectural specification sheets and drawings before completing fieldwork. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write brief descriptions into field notebooks to describe and record observations and occurrences during surveys such as physical features, instruments used, difficulties, weather and the field crew involved in the surveying. They may use the information to complete job quotes, enhance the pictorial and coordinate data in survey field notes and provide reminders for follow-up action. (1)
  • Write brief notes on survey plans and engineering drawings. For example, they might make comments about missing or incorrect data to maintain a record of what to change when updating survey plans. (1)
  • Write detailed letters and e-mail to clients, managers and colleagues to share and request information. For example, they write notes to their managers when summarizing details for job quotes, including outlines of surveying methodologies and descriptions of problems such as missing survey monuments. They also write to customers to set-up appointments and detail additional work requirements because of unforeseen circumstances. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Take payments from clients for invoiced amounts. (1)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May develop schedules and monitor the daily work tasks for survey and brush clearing crews. They consider staffing and equipment requirements and availabilities. They also monitor time and equipment usage, and adjust activities to meet deadlines. (2)
  • May prepare budgets for survey jobs. They calculate labour and equipment costs using established production rates per person and hourly cost per piece of equipment. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure and record the distance between two survey monuments and buildings using measuring instruments such as total stations, hand held lasers, theodolite systems and global positioning systems. (1)
  • Describe parcels of land and building units using information such as the dimensions, area, lot line directions, angles and elevations. (2)
  • Create manual and computer-assisted scale drawings using measurement tools such as scale rulers and bearing scales. (3)
  • Calculate the direction, angle and length of lines, often using principles of triangulation to stake out buildings to locate intersection points and to determine station coordinates. They calculate radii and arc angles of curves to place station coordinates on curved lots. They also calculate excavation volumes using measurements of elevations at specified intervals. (4)
  • Complete indirect measurements and calculations that cannot be directly taken using principles of trigonometry and geometry. For example, they use indirect measurements to determine angles and then use geometric formulae to calculate the slope, width and depth of neighbouring eavestroughing to determine encroachment measurements. (5)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare field measurements to previous surveyed measurements to verify accuracy of data. (1)
  • Average many readings and measurements such as heights, distances and elevations and coordinate readings to increase the accuracy of the data by evaluating the corresponding evidence between the readings and measurements. They use the data to draw conclusions about boundary line locations. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the travel time to jobs by considering factors such as distances, weather and travel routes. (1)
  • Estimate location of monuments at a survey site using measurements and details on maps and survey plans and the physical characteristics and measurements at the survey site. (1)
  • Estimate the time to complete survey assignments of varying sizes and complexities using established survey standards and time rates. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Request services and supplies. For example, they call surveyor offices for surveying records and field notes. They also speak with co-workers for additional survey information and call land registry offices for historical information and land deeds. (2)
  • Participate in staff meetings to discuss work processes, coordinate work schedules and address field and office concerns such as incomplete field notes. (2)
  • Provide directions, instructions and explanations to co-workers such as field crew and drafting technicians . For example, they provide direction for completing surveys and assign work tasks to field crew, and additional information about survey sites to drafting technicians. (2)
  • Discuss survey tasks with their supervisors. For example, they may discuss surveying procedures through trees, placement of traverse points for future relocation of measurement points and reassignment of tasks. (2)
  • When carrying out surveys, talk to clients, property owners and general contractors and respond to their questions. They may provide assurances to owners when negotiating access to their properties. They also negotiate on-site surveying timeframes with general contractors to ensure safe access to sites. (3)
  • Communicate with co-workers to discuss surveying techniques and exchange opinions and information. For example, they discuss difficult surveying tasks, surveying techniques and measurement data before beginning and during the course of surveys. Clear and concise communications is necessary to ensure they proceed correctly and obtain accurate measurement data. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Find they are unable to complete assigned tasks due to bad weather, equipment breakdowns and other unexpected circumstances. For example, they discover they have incomplete project files or missing drawings. They identify the quickest way to get the information. They may ask on-site supervisors for drawings or call their offices to get the data over the phone. (1)
  • Face difficulties exchanging data between software programs. They call software technicians to troubleshoot the problems and reschedule their activities until the data is available. (1)
  • Face safety problems such as heavier traffic volumes than expected, thus making it difficult to complete surveys safely without additional field crew. They call their supervisor to request additional field crew members. (2)
  • Receive complaints from clients about property damages such as grass removed to dig and place survey monuments during surveying projects. They speak with clients to determine what kind of repairs would be satisfactory. (2)
  • Discover that survey monuments are missing or inaccurate. They review evidence in survey field notes and on properties to determine prior survey points for re-establishing property lines. If that fails, they call their supervisors for further instructions. (3)
  • Encounter hostile owners who do not want them on their property. If they fail to gain access after explaining why they are there, they locate alternative survey posts to survey the properties. They call their supervisors if they still need access to the properties to complete their work. (3)
  • Discover discrepancies in survey drawings such as inaccurate lot sizing on engineering drawings. For example, a land survey technologist finds that the combined frontage length of all the lots is larger than the actual length of the subdivision. He refers to zoning bylaws, such as frontage and set back requirements, to resize the lots to fit the subdivision measurements and submits the drawings for approval. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide when to carry out survey activities in the field. They consider the coverage and accuracy provided by the global positioning systems at different times of the day, the weather and equipment availability. Errors in decisions can result in the inability to gather the necessary data. (2)
  • Decide what surveying methods and instruments to use. They consider the size of the areas, the terrain and level of measurement accuracy required. For example, they decide the placement of equipment to maximize the number of readings at each location while minimizing the number of equipment set-ups. If they choose the wrong equipment placement and instruments, they may not get suitable data. (2)
  • Decide data collection procedures. For example, they decide the positioning of equipment to get the most accurate coordinate readings. They make decisions on where to run control lines and temporary locator points in new subdivisions to minimize the amount of bush to be removed, the number of equipment moves and coordinate readings. They constantly revise their decisions to respond to field crew requests for coordinate and measurement adjustments. How and where they collect readings directly affects surveying efficiency and the quality of the final survey plans. (3)
  • Decide when they have enough corresponding evidence between coordinate readings and survey plans to draw conclusions about locations of boundary lines. (3)
  • Decide to use existing survey markers and monuments for new surveys. They review evidence such as physical features surrounding survey monuments, field notes and coordinate readings to decide that survey monuments are in their original location. They risk getting inaccurate field data, requiring additional time in the field, if they err in their decisions. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the quality and completeness of survey measurements and data readings. They use established criteria such as the measurement procedures used, allowable degree of errors and consistency of data. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality and authenticity of survey evidence when completing boundary line retracement and when confirming existing boundary lines. They consider how different evidence such as physical characteristics, field notes, survey plans and other historical information provide corresponding information. They must be able to justify their lines of reasoning used to draw their conclusions. (3)
  • Evaluate the safety of surveying situations such as working beside busy highways, surveying in isolated areas to choose the best method to safely complete surveying tasks. They consider criteria such as the risks, experience and knowledge of the crew, type of available equipment, type of terrain and allowable margin of error for the measurements. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Land survey technicians' and technologists' days are organized for them by their supervisors, or they schedule their own activities if they are self-employed. They perform their tasks according to the instructions and deadlines given by their supervisors. Their daily assignments vary in scope, location and size but the duties and tasks remain constant, dictated by established procedures. Many tasks, such as taking measurements and coordinate readings, preparing field notes, completing survey plans, reviewing drawings and boundary line evidences are repeated daily and weekly. They experience occasional interruptions to respond to unscheduled requests from supervisors who reassign tasks or jobs. Their work is team-oriented and they integrate their own tasks with other field crew. (2)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Senior land survey technologists often directly schedule the tasks and activities of field crew based on the job and crew expertise. They may plan and organize the work and activities for large surveying projects with multiple field crews. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember field details until they can record them into notebooks.
  • Remember which equipment worked best in the past in similar terrain.
  • Remember commonly used codes to denote items found in the field.
  • Remember the safety procedures to follow when working in remote areas.
  • Remember the general location of temporary traverse points to locate them a month later.
Finding Information
  • Look up survey job locations on maps. (1)
  • Refer to coordinate data lists, existing survey plans, field notes, land titles and deeds from land registry websites to locate existing survey monuments and verify existing survey measurements when completing surveys. (2)
  • Find boundary line evidence in various documents such as previous surveys, land titles, affidavits, field notes, site visits and other historical information. They may obtain the information from various sources such as local archives, hardcopy and photocopy surveys and field notes on file and from other survey offices and specialized websites. They use the information as evidence to confirm the accuracy of existing boundary lines and complete boundary line retracements. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use word processing software. For example, they write letters and reports using basic font and page formatting features to complete them. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they load graphics such as scanned aerial photographs into their databases. They resize, brighten or modify images using programs such as Photoshop. (2)
  • Use Internet. For example, they complete historical research on properties. They access bookmarked sites and online property title searches. (2)
  • Use database software. For example, they enter and access survey data from databases using features such as inputting, queries and downloading to manage and obtain survey coordinates data, maps and photographs. (3)
  • Use spreadsheet software. For example, they import data from measuring instruments into formatted spreadsheet programs. They may modify the spreadsheet by deleting or inserting rows and columns, use cut and paste to re-order data or link the attribute values to AutoCAD. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they create line drawings using survey points. They import data, plot survey points, insert text, and modify images and scaled drawings. They may also import and format text, text boxes and maps to add details to drawings for final survey plans. (3)
  • Use communication software. For example, they send and receive e-mail and attachments. They create folders to organize their mailboxes and maintain address books and distribution lists. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. They use Geodimeter software to convert data from global positioning system receivers, total stations and geographical information systems into three-dimensional images in AutoCAD. They may use ARCGIS to overlay aerial photographs and maps to export into AutoCAD. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Land survey technicians and technologists work as part of a team that includes other land survey technicians and technologists, office staff, land surveyors and other professionals. They may lead and coordinate field crew when completing survey activities. They work independently when researching land titles, reviewing data and creating survey plans. (2)

Continuous Learning

Land survey technicians and technologists learn from day-to-day activities, their co-workers and supervisors and through in-house training programs. They attend training to maintain technical certifications such as Workplace Hazardous Material Information System and First Aid. They learn about new equipment, computer programs and surveying techniques through various methods such as referencing manuals, hands-on experience, attending training at the workplace or courses offered at learning institutes. In addition, they stay current by reading association newsletters, equipment or program manuals and technical books. (2)

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