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Greetings to all from a wannabe independent surveyor

RockyIV
(@rockyiv)
FNG Member

Hello to everyone, I found this group looking for answers on how to get started on the surveyor's world.

I am a civil  PE and work for an A & E firm.  I have seen the struggle to find a surveyor nowadays for our jobs.  I have been thinking, after 20 years of practicing, it is a good time to go solo, and I am convinced that the first step for an engineering firm is to provide survey services.  Also thinking as a start up I will be doing most (or all) of the work myself.

So all your comments and experiences are a wonderful resource and encouragement.

Thank you very much for sharing!!


 

 

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Topic starter Posted : June 26, 2022 6:16 am
Brad Ott liked
MI-Other-Left
(@michigan-left)
10+ posts Member

Best first step: Obtain PS/PLS/RLS license for your jurisdiction.

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Posted : June 26, 2022 9:03 am
JPH and Jim in AZ liked
Nate The Surveyor
(@nate-the-surveyor)
10,000+ posts Member

Suggest:

Go to at least 3 active surveyors in your general vicinity. Get advice from them. This could grow into you becoming an agent for them, allowing you to work, under their license.  This will introduce you to the particular flavor of these 3 practitioners. The more you know going in the better. 

There is alot of variation in business models, and principles and practices, by differing companies. 

Watch out for the syndrome of "one theory, done this way, 30 (or 100) times over". What you want is to adopt the best in principles, practice, philosophy, understanding, and function. Usually, you don't get this all in one place.

And, if you actually perform work, under several surveyors, before you get your ticket, to make your own mitsakes, it will improve your overall perspective.

Nate

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Posted : June 26, 2022 9:56 am

holy cow
(@holy-cow)
10,000+ posts Member

The definitions of what surveying work can be done by a licensed engineer and what work must be done by a licensed land surveyor varies greatly from state to state.  Check the Alabama statutes, rules and regulations on this.  You may be able to do a great amount of work that is directly tied to construction projects under your PE but can only do anything related to the associated boundary if you have your PS license.  Or, your hands may be tied, somewhat.

I don't have to worry about it as I am a PE/PS.

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

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Posted : June 26, 2022 10:18 am
FL/GA liked
FairbanksLS
(@fairbanksls)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @holy-cow

The definitions of what surveying work can be done by a licensed engineer and what work must be done by a licensed land surveyor varies greatly from state to state.  Check the Alabama statutes, rules and regulations on this.  You may be able to do a great amount of work that is directly tied to construction projects under your PE but can only do anything related to the associated boundary if you have your PS license.  Or, your hands may be tied, somewhat.

I don't have to worry about it as I am a PE/PS.

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

Lol

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Posted : June 26, 2022 8:36 pm
Ric Moore
(@ric-moore)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @holy-cow

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

A low opinion can still be accurate.

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Posted : June 27, 2022 3:48 pm

Williwaw
(@williwaw)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @holy-cow

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

Not to put too fine a point on it HC, but I think you might have it backwards.

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Posted : June 27, 2022 4:26 pm
holy cow
(@holy-cow)
10,000+ posts Member

@williwaw 

Oh, I see, now.  Engineers have very low opinions of troglodyte surveyors?  Is that it?

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Posted : June 27, 2022 6:14 pm
Williwaw
(@williwaw)
1,000+ posts Member

@holy-cow Well HC, I'm not an engineer and therefor not qualified to pass judgement on matters of superiority. 

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Posted : June 27, 2022 6:27 pm

holy cow
(@holy-cow)
10,000+ posts Member

@williwaw 

Ahem...................therefore

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Posted : June 27, 2022 6:32 pm
Williwaw
(@williwaw)
1,000+ posts Member

@holy-cow 😊 

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Posted : June 27, 2022 7:06 pm
Mark Mayer
(@mark-mayer)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @holy-cow

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

I do not have a low opinion of engineers. I have a low opinion of engineers who think that they can simply sidestep into surveying. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 27, 2022 8:38 pm

holy cow
(@holy-cow)
10,000+ posts Member

The phrase "a few" was used in my post.  Suggesting "a preponderance" might have scared our new poster.  A gentle warning was appropriate.

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Posted : June 28, 2022 7:38 am
Larry Best
(@larry-best)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @williwaw
Posted by: @holy-cow

Warning.  We have a few troglodytes here who have very low opinions of engineers in general.

Not to put too fine a point on it HC, but I think you might have it backwards.

Of course. Why would an engineer have any respect for someone not smart enough to be an engineer. I worked for 2 engineering companies. At both I was told "we don't make any money on the surveying. We just need you to bring in the work for the engineers."  Even if true, why say it. 

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Posted : June 28, 2022 11:15 am
ncsudirtman
(@ncsudirtman)
200+ posts Member

I'm a civil PE (now a PLS as well) who started out just as an EI working for a local firm that offered both engineering & surveying, but I had a ton of interest in surveying as I had interned doing that during college and could see the growing need for licensed surveyors. That being said, you DEFINITELY need to shadow a few for more than just a couple outings in order to get a better understanding and deeper appreciation for how things work both in the field and the office. There's usually a requirement in each state as to how many years must be spent under the supervision of a licensed surveyor. This isn't a profession where I would say "yes go pass the two exams NCEES administers and your local state exam then just start sealing maps!" I say this because after licensure I started to truly understand the gravity that goes with surveying. Boundary surveying/retracement is much different than construction staking (horizontal or vertical) and as-built survey procedures vary considerably depending on the features documented plus there is a strong difference between that and topographic surveying - whether it's more tailored for a route/utility extension or for a site/parcel. GNSS receivers and the procedures to use them varies upon whether it's RTK/VRS/Static and is a significantly different method of surveying from that of robotic total stations while aerial photogrammetry, terrestrial scanning or LiDAR is a whole different world. Know that you have competence in the survey being requested and the ability to master the tools/equipment for the job long before accepting the work. Some of the guys on here post truly amazing things that they may do during their daily workflow - surveys I'd have never thought of before and would likely not touch myself either 😓 

 

As for the office and the field - they're both completely different worlds and I've known probably a half dozen PLS surveyors in their 70's and 80's who have spent most of their entire careers in the office, while I've also met a few who have worked in the field almost daily their entire careers - there's a lot to be learned from both. What I can tell is that at the continuing education seminars, it does wonders when they all get together to discuss things openly (once they all actually loosen up haha). Also, Holy Cow isn't wrong to say what he said earlier, either despite what others are saying. Some professionally licensed individuals (engineers, surveyors, architects, landscape architects, doctors and lawyers - heck even contractors) just have sticks up their rear ends - no use in trying to change that. Just find the ones that you can trust, learn from & work with. Don't bite off more than you can chew - you'll be alright

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Posted : June 28, 2022 12:33 pm
RADAR and FairbanksLS liked

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