I was born/grew up in: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
I now live in: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
What I do at work
I oversee field crews that assist me in helping clients. This ranges from helping clients to map their house on their property to finding the location of their property lines. I also produce legal plans that define land tenure and any interests on those properties. We use specialized equipment called "total stations'' that measures angles and distances. We also use specialized GPS equipment. This allows us to measure and locate objects and properties in relation to others. Time is also spent analyzing business plans, legal documents, and historical documents. Historical documents can include legal plans and orthographic photos.
Every task we work through is unique and requires a different approach. As such, we always have to grow and adapt. A common structure for a survey firm would be as follows. A Land Surveyor would oversee the project and take responsibility for all decisions. Next would be a draftsperson who would assist with daily activities. They would also oversee projects for the Land Surveyor. Finally, a field crew of one or two people would work on the ground. They complete conditions to ensure client satisfaction.
My career path is
I never knew about surveying when I was in school. I was walking down the hallways of U of C and noticed a poster for Geomatics. The rest is history. This career has various paths and options to take. You can work in a similar field but with different specializations. To become a Land Surveyor, you require a degree in Engineering from U of C or UNB. Another way is to get a diploma from SAIT, NAIT or BCIT with a few challenge exams. Once you have finished these you begin the articling process. This includes doing various exams and projects with one final exam. Each province handles this slightly differently.
I am motivated by
My career has led me to work in different parts of western Canada. It has provided me with a wealth of knowledge in municipal construction. I have also learned a lot about oil and gas, pipeline construction, and power line construction. The history of each location I work is fascinating. Finally, I have gotten a high level understanding of different legislation and regulations. I like that my career grows with me. I can be outside analyzing disputing property owners. At other times I can be along the tops of mountains setting monuments. Next I could be working in front of a computer speaking with clients.
How I affect peoples’ lives
We create legal documents that will last the test of time. We create subdivisions on which people will buy the land and build homes. We also lay out the location of these houses within lots. Every choice we make affects how someone lives, or affects the land on which they live.
Outside of work I
I tend to keep very busy with two young children, outside of this I spend a lot of my summer camping and attempting to golf.
My advice to others
It's a lot of hard work, a lot of studying, however, when you look back at it all... it doesn't seem that bad at all.