Survey Technician Kaihangarau Rūri Whenua

Survey technicians collect, record, and evaluate geographical information and prepare databases, maps, charts and plans.

Survey technicians can apply to become associate technical members of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.

Survey technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • take measurements and plot out land divisions using survey equipment such as total stations (small, tripod-mounted digital telescopes that measure distances and horizontal and vertical angles)
  • process data and make calculations gathered from fieldwork and surveys
  • make observations, record measurements, and collect other data about the land
  • draft and interpret plans for land use
  • prepare reports using the measurements and data calculations
  • supervise the work of survey assistants.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for survey technicians includes:

  • work as a survey assistant
  • draughting, engineering and cartography work
  • tramping, orienteering and map reading experience
  • experience in other outdoor pursuits.

Personal Qualities

Survey technicians need to be:

  • methodical and accurate
  • patient
  • able to work well under pressure, as they often work to deadlines
  • able to work independently as well as in a team.


Survey technicians need to have:

  • knowledge of surveying methods
  • the ability to interpret drawings, plans and maps
  • knowledge of how to use new and current surveying technologies and equipment, such as total stations and drones
  • skill using surveying and computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • good mathematical knowledge, particularly in trigonometry
  • an understanding of the laws and legislation relating to land use and surveying.


Survey technicians:

  • usually work regular business hours
  • work in offices, but also spend time doing technical work on-site at locations such as construction sites, farms, at sea, and populated areas
  • may have to travel to remote on-site locations.

Survey Technicians can earn around $47K-$55K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Survey Technician are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for survey technicians varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Survey technicians with up to two years' experience usually earn $47,000 to $55,000 a year.
  • Survey technicians with more than two years' experience can earn between $60,000 and $80,000.

Sources: Beca, 2018; Eighty4 Recruitment, 2018; Unitec, 2018.

Survey technicians may progress to set up their own business by becoming a fully qualified surveyor, or move into management roles. 

Survey technicians may specialise as a:

Survey Photogrammetrist
Photogrammetrists specialise in determining the size and scale of objects in photos.
Aerial Survey Technician
Aerial survey technicians specialise in creating reports and data from aerial photographs and the reference points that can be identified on them.

Years Of Training

2 years of training required.

To become an assistant surveyor or survey technician you need to have a certificate or diploma in in surveying.

Survey Technician