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Job Description for an Instrument Man

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Before land can be developed, sold or rezoned, it has to be professionally surveyed. The person who leads this group of professionals is an instrument man or person, also commonly referred to as the survey party chief. According to, a U.S. instrument man earned an annual salary between $39,347 and $56,385 as of August 2010.

Job Duties

As the party leader, an instrument man is in charge of training and supervising his crew and ensuring they carry out their mapping duties in a safe manner. He confers extensively with engineers, contractors and project managers in the pre-survey stages of projects. Once the parameters of the job are established, he assigns certain jobs to crewmembers based on their areas of expertise.

Skill Requirements

Knowledge of land surveying principles and practices is a requirement. Skills in using basic and advanced surveying tools and software are necessary. Mathematical abilities are required to prepare analytical field reports.

Preferred Background

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. A minimum of four years' work experience in civil engineering and one year of survey experience are requirements for this position. Surveying certifications are commonly needed. Background in engineering technology is a plus.


Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.

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