Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home / Careers / Careers Descriptions / Infrastructure Careers / Land Surveyor

Land Surveyor

Land surveyors map the Earth's surface to determine boundaries, locations, topographic features and man-made structures.


Tasks & duties


Land surveyors may do some or all of the following:

  • discuss surveying or land development projects with clients, local authorities, other professionals or local iwi
  • advise on and manage land development projects
  • ensure project proposals comply with council district plans and liaise with council to deal with any issues
  • measure land features using survey equipment
  • carry out land title surveys and set out boundaries
  • legally certify land titles and boundaries
  • prepare maps, plans and charts to give pictorial representations of the land
  • prepare resource consent applications, including environmental impact assessments
  • do engineering, mining and tunnelling surveys
  • prepare engineering construction drawings
  • use basic computer-aided design software to create designs
  • map out location and design of structures such as new roads and pipelines
  • check the accuracy of records and measurements
  • write reports and letters to clients and council



Land surveyors may specialise in areas such as:

  • planning, design and project management
  • survey law
  • research
  • the use of computer technology such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Information Systems (SIS)
  • cadastral surveying (defining and marking boundaries)
  • land development and subdivision
  • engineering surveying (setting out large buildings, roads and bridges)
  • oil exploration
  • surveying using Global Positioning Systems (GPS)


Skills & knowledge


Land surveyors need to have:

  • the ability to interpret and use land-based information from maps, graphic drawings and measurements taken in the field
  • knowledge of survey methods
  • knowledge of physics and maths, particularly trigonometry
  • computer skills and the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • good general knowledge of environmental issues, earth sciences and civil engineering
  • understanding of issues such as land rights, land ownership and boundary definitions
  • understanding of relevant legislation such as the Resource Management Act, local by-laws and town planning regulations
  • skill using surveying equipment
  • communication skills
  • writing skills for producing reports
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • design skills


Entry requirements

To become a land surveyor, you need to have a Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv). The four-year professional degree is only offered through the University of Otago School of Surveying.

By law, only a licensed cadastral surveyor can certify cadastral (land title) surveys. To become a licensed cadastral surveyor you must do two years of practical work, take a series of oral exams and present some practical work to the Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board. Most survey companies support graduate employees through this process.


Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter university, and usually an A or B Bursary or NCEA equivalent is preferred. Useful subjects include English, maths with calculus and statistics, geography, computer studies, physics, economics and graphics.


Training on the job

Land surveyors gain additional skills on the job, and may take continuing professional development courses through the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (NZIS).

Graduate surveyors may also join the NZIS' Young Surveyors Group to help them prepare for becoming a licensed cadastral surveyor.




Land surveyors can apply to become members of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and work towards professional registration, which is voluntary.

To register you need to:

  • hold a four-year Bachelor of Surveying degree or equivalent
  • have at least three years of practical work experience
  • pass the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors professional entrance examinations in spatial measurement
  • specialise in at least two areas of surveying, such as project management or urban planning


Useful Experience

Useful experience for land surveyors includes:

  • work as a surveyor's assistant or technician
  • experience working in cartography, draughting or engineering
  • experience working at a mining or construction site




From just a job on you tube


Related courses

Mapping Science


For more information, please refer to Career Services.

Document Actions