A county surveyor’s primary responsibility is to establish and record accurate property lines for a variety of purposes. A surveyor must be certified as a land surveyor and have completed the necessary county surveyor requirements in order to be chosen to perform these duties. The job is an elected position in most of the United States, and a qualified candidate is elected for four years. Although global counterparts have similar duties and responsibilities, the exact counterpart of the elected surveyor is unlikely to be found because the geopolitical structures of countries outside the United States are typically different. There are chartering organizations for surveyors in the United Kingdom, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which certifies and regulates member surveyors.
Experience and education are important factors in a county surveyor’s job description. Education and professional county surveyor requirements vary county, but may include a bachelor’s degree in land surveying and certification through a state board written examination for land surveyors. A state license in either land surveying or civil engineering is required for some county surveyor jobs. A county surveyor job typically requires at least six years of experience.
A high level of math proficiency and knowledge of surveying laws and regulations are both required academic skills for a surveyor’s job. Ability to use professional surveying equipment, familiarity with map reading and origination, and knowledge of surveying-specific computer software are all required skills. A surveyor’s physical abilities may include the ability to lift up to 75 pounds (34 kilograms), work in difficult terrain, and perform manual tasks such as pounding stakes, clearing brush, and driving a truck.
County surveyor responsibilities include both office and field work. Direct supervision of clerical and paraprofessional staff involved in the processing of private or department-generated maps and documents pertaining to issues such as boundary and right-of-way prior to recording is one of the office’s responsibilities. County surveyors also provide data to engineers, architects, mining, and construction companies, as well as solving surveying problems and questions with the help of appropriate computer software and recorded survey data.
A county surveyor’s technical skills may include the ability to set up a county-wide Geographic Information System (GIS) and a Global Positioning System (GPS) (GPS). A high level of familiarity with spreadsheets, databases, and other computer applications is required for project recording and performance measurement. A county supervisor’s responsibilities also include preparing reports for county and state supervisory agencies, as well as proposing policy and regulatory changes.
While a surveyor’s specific title and elected status at the county level are likely limited to the United States, a land surveyor’s responsibilities, job requirements, and training are universal. People with this skill set have job opportunities both in the private and public sectors all over the world. Most developed countries require surveyors, and private businesses such as mining, oil exploration, and road construction, to name a few, rely heavily on surveying.