A chief surveyor, also known as a party chief or crew chief, is in charge of a surveying crew, or party. The crew’s daily activities in the field are managed the chief. A chief surveyor also ensures that surveying data is accurately collected and recorded, and that crew members follow all company procedures.
Surveying is a type of applied science that involves determining and mapping geographical and geological features. Depending on the purpose of the survey and the medium being surveyed, a chief surveyor may be in charge of a variety of different types of surveys. The land surface, water body beds, and underground features such as caverns are examples of typical media. The most common type of surveying done is land surveying.
A party chief for a land surveyor must be familiar with the various techniques, methods, and instruments used in land surveying. Instruments are used surveyors to calculate angles and distances between points. The positions of the surveyed points relative to specific references are calculated using these data and trigonometric functions. Modern surveying instruments are computerized and use electronics and optics to measure angles and distances as well as perform mathematical calculations. The information can be saved either automatically in an instrument’s data recorder or manually in field notebooks.
The chief must be skilled at gathering and recording data as well as creating drawings and maps. Computer skills are required for some land surveyor party chief jobs. Experience with data processing and computer-aided design and drafting are common requirements (CADD).
A chief surveyor’s job can be taxing. Chief surveyors, like all surveyors, spend a lot of time outside and are constantly exposed to the elements. They must also be physically fit and capable of lifting and carrying heavy objects. Many employers own company trucks or vans in which party chiefs transport their crews and equipment, so the job typically requires a lot of travel. Chief surveyors, as a result, must have a clean driving record.
A chief surveyor is also in charge of ensuring that crew members follow the company’s operational and safety standards and procedures. For example, the chief ensures that crew members wear any required safety gear, such as goggles or hard hats. A chief surveyor may also be expected to teach new surveying techniques to new employees.
Many surveyor party chief jobs in the United States only require a high school diploma. An Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree in surveying or related fields is required for some jobs. Applicants for chief surveyor positions typically need three to five years of surveying experience on the job.