Surveyors and Spatial Scientists plan, direct and conduct survey work to determine and delineate boundaries and features of tracts of land, marine floors and underground works, prepare and revise maps, charts and other geographic products, and analyse, present and maintain geographical information about locations in space and time.

A skill level equal to a Bachelor Degree or higher is required and half of workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration or licensing may be required, depending on the state or territory you live in.

Tasks

  • designing and compiling map manuscripts using digital and graphical source material, including aerial photographs, satellite imagery, survey documents, existing maps and records, reports and statistics
  • advising Surveyors and other professionals on the data requirements for map production, and on the aesthetic, technical and economic considerations of scales, details to be illustrated, place names and reproduction techniques
  • supervising and coordinating the work of cartographic technicians in the production and reproduction of maps
  • determining the position of points of interest on the earth's surface including marine floors, and preparing the final product data in digital form
  • supervising the preparation of plans, maps, charts and drawings to give pictorial representations and managing automated spatial information systems
  • undertaking research and development of surveying and photogrammetric measurement systems, cadastral systems and land information systems
  • planning and designing land subdivision projects and negotiating details with local governments and other authorities
  • advising Architects, Engineering Professionals, environmental and other scientists or other relevant professionals on the technical requirements of surveying, mapping and spatial information systems
  • compiling and evaluating data, interpreting codes of practice, and writing reports concerning survey measurement, land use and tenure
  • preparing site plans and survey reports required for conveyancing and land ownership matters

Job Titles

  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Surveyor

    Plans, directs and conducts survey work to determine, delineate, plan and precisely position tracts of land, natural and constructed features, coastlines, marine floors and underground works, and manages related information systems. Registration or licensing may be required.

    Specialisations: Cadastral Surveyor, Engineering Surveyor, Geodetic Surveyor, Hydrographic Surveyor, Mine Surveyor, Photogrammetric Surveyor

  • Cartographer

    Applies scientific, mathematical and cartographic design principles to prepare and revise maps, charts and other forms of cartographic output.

  • Other Spatial Scientist

    Acquires, integrates, analyses, interprets, presents, manages and distributes information about locations in space and time, and develops related equipment, software and services.

    Specialisations: Geographic Information Systems Manager

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,562 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    13,100
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    84.2%
  • Female Share

    15.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    85.2%

Find Vacancies

This is a medium sized occupation employing 13,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen.
Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 5,001 and 10,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Surveyors and Spatial Scientists work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Public Administration and Safety; and Construction.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 43.1 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,562 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 8 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200510200
200612200
200713100
200813900
200911700
201015800
201112600
201215600
201316200
201412400
201513100
202014700

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsSurveyors and Spatial ScientistsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings15621230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySurveyors and Spatial ScientistsAll Jobs Average
Full-time85.268.4
Part-time14.831.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)43.140.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services55.7
Public Administration and Safety21.2
Construction6.8
Mining5.7
Other Industries10.6

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSurveyors and Spatial ScientistsAll Jobs Average
NSW27.931.8
VIC15.525.5
QLD23.119.8
SA5.66.8
WA19.211.2
TAS3.22.0
NT2.21.1
ACT3.21.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSurveyors and Spatial ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.2-5.45.4
20-245.9-9.99.9
25-3428.9-23.423.4
35-4423.9-21.721.7
45-5419.7-21.121.1
55-598.6-8.78.7
60-649.3-5.95.9
65 and Over3.6-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySurveyors and Spatial ScientistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males84.2Males53.6
Females15.8Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationSurveyors and Spatial ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate14.8-8.68.6
Bachelor degree40.6-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma21.9-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV14.8-18.918.9
Year 127.7-18.718.7
Years 11 & 100.0-17.717.7
Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

A skill level equal to a Bachelor Degree or higher is required and half of workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration or licensing may be required, depending on the state or territory you live in.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Surveyors and Spatial Scientists who work well in a team, are motivated and organised.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Geography

    87% Important

    Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.

  2. Computers and Electronics

    79% Important

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  3. English Language

    64% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Design

    62% Important

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  5. Mathematics

    61% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Interacting With Computers

    96% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  2. Getting Information

    87% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  3. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    85% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  4. Processing Information

    83% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  5. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    77% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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