Growing up in Ireland, surveying was not a profession I was familiar with. I left school and didn’t know what I wanted to do. During a gap year, I read all the third level prospectus’ to see what appealed to me. At the time, I was heavily involved in sport and loved the outdoors so sitting behind a desk 40 hours a week did not appeal to me. When I came across the land surveying course I instantly knew that was what I wanted to do.
My typical work day can vary somewhat depending on a few factors, and it’s usually dependent on the type of task to be undertaken:
Whilst still fairly new to the profession, I have had the opportunity to work on a number of interesting projects to date. One that stands out to me was a project I was involved with in the Sydney area. A large site was being assessed for development and although it was known that there was a large stormwater pipe that flowed through the property, the precise location of it was not known. The pipe location needed to be established before the design team could get to work. Before going ahead, I was required to undertake an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) course for working in confined spaces because the only way to accurately survey the pipe was to be lowered by winch via a manhole, along with my equipment and assistant! It took two days of working in complete darkness to survey all of the different branches of the pipe.
In our profession, accuracy is the number one concern. All the modern day technology used currently greatly reduces the probability of error, but there is still the element of human error that cannot be completely avoided. Human error can involve anything from incorrectly locating or even omitting an essential item from a plan or incorrect on-site calculations, be it for a “boundary set out” or construction work.
Yes, I am considering registration. Registration is a common natural progression for surveyors but not one that is right for everyone. Registration leads to increased responsibility and managerial positions. Registration also offers you the freedom to start your own company, if you so desire.
Surveying is exciting because you are involved in mapping the ever-changing world, and you have the added benefit of working both outdoors and indoors whilst using some pretty cool equipment as you go. I am quite often asked as a surveyor, “what exactly is it that you do?” I was once told a very simple but informative response for this question,
“We take what is on the ground and put it on paper and we take what’s on paper and put it on the ground.”
I came to Sydney nearly three years ago, and since my arrival I have worked for a city based company so my work has taken me all throughout Sydney. However I have also been involved in a few out-of-town trips to the likes of Canberra, Orange and Broken Hill.
I love what I do and the variety that it brings. I love the challenge that each new job brings, because it will always be just that little bit different to the one before, so you have to think about how you are going to approach it. There is also a feeling of freedom that comes from working outdoors. I enjoy meeting new people and constantly working in new places while using state of the art technology and equipment.