Key information

  1. Reference: ST0491
  2. Date updated: 08/01/2024
  3. Level: 3
  4. Route: Construction and the built environment
  5. Regulated occupation: No
Print occupational standard

Details of the occupational standard

Occupation summary

A career contributing to the environment in which you live.

Geospatial technicians play a critical role in all the world’s most exciting and complex construction projects, applying geospatial expertise to solve real world engineering and environmental challenges. They can work on world-class projects, building hospitals, skyscrapers, renewable energy power plants, chemical plants, infrastructure, residential buildings or boring huge underground tunnels. Surveying is also used in industries such as film, TV and theatre, computer gaming and the Metaverse.

This occupation is found in the public or private sector and employers include specialist land, air and offshore mapping companies, civil engineering contractors and consultancies, construction companies, rail operators, local authorities, central government, the military, multinational corporations, cartographic publishers, suppliers of computer-based mapping technology and utilities companies and a range of others.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to capture geospatial data by carrying out a site survey to produce accurate digital 2D or 3D drawings, 3D models and data reports. These surveys help clients to de-risk their projects by providing essential geospatial data on the features and contours of the land or a building or helping contractors by giving them utility services data to avoid services strikes, which could be costly and dangerous. Geospatial technicians exist so that our environment is full of well-built, safe and precisely measured projects. They provide support in disaster relief situations by assisting with search and rescue efforts, helping to locate utilities and provide mapping assistance for retracing where people may be trapped. Geospatial data also assists in reducing flooding caused by climate change when transformed into engineering solutions.

In their daily work geospatial technicians will travel to and from site, working in indoor and outdoor environments across a wide range of locations. They will work alongside geophysical and geotechnical consultants, environmental and ecology consultants, flood risk consultants, ground investigators, ground engineers and other land related professionals to provide multi-disciplinary and collaborative products for engineering and design.

Geospatial technicians will use a wide range of technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) plus electronic data capture tools such as Total Stations as well as cutting-edge 3D laser scanners, 360° camera systems, robotics and drones.  Site data is transformed into outputs such as 2D plans or elevation drawings and 3D digital models or augmented reality models for a variety of uses including Building Information Modelling (BIM) for Digital Twins, master planning and architectural or landscape designs.

An employee in this occupation will work with internal and external stakeholders under general direction from a supervisor. They will assist in identifying and responding to complex issues and assignments, capturing key data and interpreting specific instructions, working within quality assurance guidelines to support the development of tasks.

Being a Geospatial Survey Technician is an in-demand occupation, with pathways into global opportunities and the opportunity for travel. The geospatial profession is a fast moving and exciting digital profession that contributes to a better world.

Typical job titles include:

Digital technician Drone operator Geographical information systems (gis) analyst/remote sensing analyst Geographical information systems (gis) consultant Hydrographic surveyor Land surveyer Measured building surveyor Site engineer Underground utilities detection surveyor

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Plan work in compliance with occupational health, safety and environmental requirements to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of self and others at all times. Report in a timely manner any non-compliances to the appropriate person

K1 K2 K6 K8 K13 K14 K16 K23 K26 K27

S1 S3 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S19 S20

B1 B2 B4 B5

Duty 2 Plan and prepare a Geospatial project brief from the client’s specification, employing best practice geospatial techniques

K5 K6 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S11 S12 S19

B1 B2

Duty 3 Set up, operate and adjust appropriate tools, equipment and technology to capture data on site for a variety of survey types

K1 K2 K4 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K24

S1 S2 S3 S4 S7 S8 S10 S11 S12 S13 S19

B1 B2 B5

Duty 4 Receive, read and interpret survey data to produce technical drawings or digital models using survey software

K5 K9 K18

S5 S6 S8 S11 S12 S14 S15 S19

B1 B2

Duty 5 Use surveying information to create client reports

K9 K18

S5 S6 S8 S14 S15 S16 S19

B1 B2

Duty 6 Complete project documentation at the relevant stages of the survey project

K18 K22 K23 K24

S6 S8 S11 S12 S14 S15 S16 S17 S19

B1 B2

Duty 7 Work within quality assurance guidelines to ensure survey outputs are to a particular standard

K7 K9 K16 K18 K19 K24 K27

S3 S4 S6 S8 S10 S11 S12 S14 S15 S16 S17 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 8 Carry out continuous professional development to maintain knowledge of current and future developments affecting the role

K4 K7 K20 K21 K24 K25 K27

S2 S7 S18 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 9 Develop and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, customers, suppliers, technical support staff, and other relevant personnel, to ensure that customer and business requirements are met

K20 K21 K24 K25 K26 K27

S6 S7 S19

B1 B2 B4

Duty 10 Comply with ethics, regulation and legislation and sustainability within geospatial profession and the wider construction industry

K1 K2 K3 K4 K23 K24 K26 K27

S1 S2 S3 S18 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5



K1: Awareness of health and safety legislation, regulations and safe working practices relevant to surveying and the construction sector, including Health and Safety at Work Act. Awareness of permits and site inductions. Ability to identify the correct safety control equipment and how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) Back to Duty

K2: Risk Assessment and Method Statements (RAMS), site hazards, lines of reporting and required control measures Back to Duty

K3: Industry legislation and regulations that apply to working in the geospatial profession Back to Duty

K4: Methods of interpreting and extracting relevant design information from clients' drawings and specifications: 2D and 3D drawings, PDF plans, paper plots Back to Duty

K5: Methods to locate sites and plan route Back to Duty

K6: Principles and use of surveying processing software packages Back to Duty

K7: Handling, adjustment checks, calibration and security of survey equipment on and off site Back to Duty

K8: Site visits: site reconnaissance, planning and liaison and constraints Back to Duty

K9: Principles of mapping and geographic information sciences (GIS) Back to Duty

K10: Methods of control on site: static positioning, closed traverses, networks and levelling (manual and digital) Back to Duty

K11: Principles of Geodesy, GIS, trigonometry, mathematics, error theory, photogrammetry and remote sensing Back to Duty

K12: Co-ordinate systems: projections, transformations and datums Back to Duty

K13: Traditional and modern equipment and techniques of setting engineering: measuring tapes and string, distances and bearings, total station using co-ordinates to peg out, grid lines and off set Back to Duty

K14: Methods of capturing site survey data: topographic, river sections, drainage invert surveys, volumetric calculations, as built surveys and measured building surveys Back to Duty

K15: Survey types: underground utilities, hydrographic, flood risk, settlement monitoring and rights of light surveys Back to Duty

K16: Survey equipment used to capture data: total stations, levels, laser scanners, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Back to Duty

K17: Associated survey equipment: Cat and Genny, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), drone (or unmanned aerial vehicle) and mobile mapping systems. electronic distance measurement (EDM) devices. Back to Duty

K18: Contents of geospatial survey: data, information and drawings Back to Duty

K19: Quality assurance procedures of work and drawings: importance of accuracy, precision, types of errors, outliers and standard deviation Back to Duty

K20: Verbal communication techniques: giving and receiving information and matching style to audience Back to Duty

K21: Written communication techniques: report writing, email Back to Duty

K22: Geospatial project lifecycle: recording information, client time, timesheets, meeting deadlines and completing work Back to Duty

K23: The Four Pillars of Sustainability: Environmental, Social, Human and Economic Back to Duty

K24: Principles of ethics and regulatory compliance: land ownership and boundaries, permissions to undertake geospatial survey work Back to Duty

K25: Requirements for continual personal development within the industry and the opportunities for career progression Back to Duty

K26: Signs of wellbeing and mental health within the workplace, and signposting to available support Back to Duty

K27: Inclusion, equity and diversity in the workplace Back to Duty


S1: Comply with health and safety regulations Back to Duty

S2: Plan and prepare Risk Assessment and Method Statements (RAMS) and report any additional controls required Back to Duty

S3: Select and use personal protective equipment (PPE) Back to Duty

S4: Carry out adjustment checks on survey equipment Back to Duty

S5: Interpret information from client drawings and specifications Back to Duty

S6: Gather and interpret information from a range of sources Back to Duty

S7: Communicate with others verbally, for example colleagues and stakeholders Back to Duty

S8: Plan surveys selecting survey equipment for a project according to the client's specification Back to Duty

S9: Planning routes to existing and new sites Back to Duty

S10: Establish a survey control on site for example using total station, GNSS or levels Back to Duty

S11: Use setting engineering equipment and techniques, for example measuring tapes and string, distances and bearings, total station using co-ordinates to peg out co-ordinates, grid lines and off sets Back to Duty

S12: Use survey equipment, for example total stations, levels, laser scanners, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) using geodetic parameters Back to Duty

S13: Capture and record geospatial survey data, for example topographic, river sections, drainage invert surveys, volumetric calculations, as-built surveys and measured building surveys Back to Duty

S14: Select and use surveying processing software for processing data into either 2D or 3D drawing's or 3D models Back to Duty

S15: Produce geospatial survey reports using computer software Back to Duty

S16: Apply quality assurance procedures: site work, drawing, model or report Back to Duty

S17: Manage time and tasks to meet project deadlines Back to Duty

S18: Comply with relevant industry legislation and regulations when undertaking geospatial work Back to Duty

S19: Communicate in writing with others, for example internal and external customers, colleagues, and managers Back to Duty

S20: Comply with environmental, social, human and economic sustainability regulations and requirements, for example safe disposal of waste, re-cycling or re-use of materials, efficient use of resources, contributing to the community, volunteering within the geospatial industry Back to Duty


B1: Collaborate within teams, across disciplines and external stakeholders in a professional manner Back to Duty

B2: Respond and adapt to work demands and situations Back to Duty

B3: Committed to continued professional development (CPD) to maintain and enhance competence in own area of practice Back to Duty

B4: Support equity, diversity and inclusivity in the workplace Back to Duty

B5: Take personal responsibility for their own health and safety Back to Duty

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