Growth Trends for Related Jobs

What Is the Difference Between a Land Surveyor & Real Estate Appraiser?

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Land surveyors and real estate appraisers play an important role in the determination of property values, but their roles are entirely different and they have entirely different jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for surveyors is expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate from 2008 to 2018, while real estate appraisal jobs are expected to grow slower than the national average.

Surveyor Job Tasks

The job of a land surveyor deals primarily with determining the exact dimensions of a tract of land. This can be important in the determination of property values, but this is not the job of the land surveyor. The work of land surveyors is used in other industries outside of real estate such as engineering, mining and construction. Surveyors prepare reports, sketches and other materials necessary to complete an accurate picture and description of the land for legal purposes.

Real Estate Appraiser Tasks

Real estate appraisers differ significantly from land surveyors in that their primary function is to determine the value of property for the purpose of selling it or assessment for tax purposes. They do inspect properties and even measure them as land surveyors do, but they do not map out the geographical features of the property. Like surveyors, real estate appraisers prepare detailed report and take photographs of the property. The work of surveyors is important to real estate appraisers because the legal descriptions that appraisers must verify are often based on the reports written by surveyors.

Surveyor Technologies Used

Surveyors have their own specialized tools that they use that sets them apart from professionals in other fields like real estate appraisal. For instance, one common tool is a telescopic viewer known as a distance meter. They also use hand-held and automatic laser measuring tools. Surveyors also use specialized industry-specific software such as Geocomp Systems GeoNav. Additional types of software utilized by surveyors include Computer Aided Design or CAD software, data logging and transfer software and map creation software.

Appraiser Technologies Used

Real estate appraisers also use different forms of specific software for their work. Some of these are common or similar to those used by land surveyors. For instance, real estate appraisers use map creation software and analytic and scientific software. They may also use laser measuring devices. One of the main differences in technology used by real estate appraisers is their reliance upon financial analysis software programs such as CPR International Visual Estimator, RealData Comparative Lease Analysis and Manufacturing Technology Costimater.


Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.