Surveyors in the modern world are responsible for providing deliverables that include boundary surveys, site layouts, route surveys for analysis, and a series of other services for governmental and private groups.
The importance of this profession has been documented as far back as ancient Babylonia, where tape and rods (tools used for measuring parcels of land) were understood culturally as tools of equity (1). Land surveyors were critical to ancient Egyptians, the Romans (2), and even American presidents like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who were land surveyors (3). The need for this job has been recognized throughout time but the industry is currently struggling, especially in Florida.
The Current State of the Surveying Industry in Florida
Florida is one of the fastest-growing states in America (4). With that comes a need for more housing, hospitals, stores, schools, utility infrastructure, and overall, more development to keep up with population growth. These industries need surveyors to provide data.
Currently, there are approximately 2,630 licensed surveyors in Florida, 42% of whom are 60 years old or older (5). This means almost half of those in the profession are or are soon to be at retirement age. The current rate of new licensed surveyors entering the workforce is 45-50 annually, which may not keep up with the increasing demand of Floridians as this would nearly replace our current surveyor population in 10 years.
The Responsibilities of Licensed Surveyors in Florida’s Development
Licensed surveyors are responsible for laying out the placement of buildings, bridges, roads, property boundaries, utility lines, rocket launch pads, the location of conservation easements, etc. Floridians should expect and demand quality work from surveyors as this state continues to develop.
If we want Florida to grow with quality, we need to introduce more quality surveyors into the industry to keep up with growing demands and to do so prudently. The current requirements for professional land surveying licensure in Florida are as follows (Please see the FDACS.gov website for official requirements):
- A 4-year degree in a program related to Geomatics OR a 4-year degree with twenty-five semester hours in surveying and mapping (6).
- 4 years of experience working under a professional surveyor with responsible charge OR 6 years of experience working under a professional surveyor with responsible charge if your degree is not geomatics related (6).
- Approval from the Florida Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers (6).
- Pass the required FS, PS, and the Florida Jurisdictional examination (6).
Considering a Career in Surveying: Is It for You?
If you are looking for a career that will aid in the development of Florida and you have a love of history, the outdoors, problem-solving, and maps – surveying may be for you.
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Let’s start the conversation.
- How ancient Babylonian land surveyors developed a unique form of trigonometry — 1,000 years before the Greeks (theconversation.com)
- The Secrets of Land Surveying: How the Ancient Egyptians Started it All | Herrick & Salsbury (herrickandsalsbury.com)
- Land Surveyors in American History – Compass Surveying Ltd (clsurveying.com)
- Chart: The U.S. States Losing & Gaining Population | Statista
- Interesting Statistics about our profession (Florida) and ? – Strictly Surveying – RPLS.com
- Surveyor/Mapper Licensing / Surveyors and Mappers / Business Services / Home – Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (fdacs.gov)
About the Author
Logan Soria is a Survey Office Technician at Chastain-Skillman. Having worked in the industry for 5 years, Logan is currently pursuing a certificate in Geomatics at the University of Florida and accumulating responsible charge to become a licensed professional surveyor in the state of Florida.
CS is a leading engineering firm headquartered in Lakeland, FL, with satellite offices in Orlando, FL, and Nashville, TN. Established in Lakeland in 1950, our company provides Civil Engineering, Water/Wastewater Engineering, Land Surveying, Geology/Hydrogeology, and Construction Management/Inspection services.
At CS, we treasure our role in creating thriving communities, always respecting the impact our work has on their foundations and their futures. For more information, visit chastainskillman.com.