Geo Data Tech and Survey Engineer Questions

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by commonwealthsoldier, May 4, 2007.

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  1. Hi all,

    I am currently in the process of joining the Army and I have a few questions re the above trades that I would like to ask.

    What is the difference between Geographic Data Technician and Survey Engineer? From what I can tell, the Geo Data Tech is concerned with large scale surveying and the Survey Eng is concerned with construction type of surveying. Is that correct?

    Second, I have done some reading on the Survey Eng Class 2 course and it seems all trainees learn is site surveying. I have spoken to people in the construction/engineering industry and have been told that site surveying is very simple and as such, market worth on civvy street is low. My question is what does the class 2 svy eng actually do? Is he confined to doing surveys for construction sites? And how does things change after he becomes class 1? What sort of surveying will a survey engineer do throughout his career?

    I realize that is quite a lot of questions but I am facing an important career choice and I want to get as much info as possible before committing to a decision.

    All help gratefully accepted! Thanks.
  2. Not much help mate but for what its worth, I did part of the Surveying Course as part of a Design Assistant Course. Now, where as the Draughtsman tutors were almost to a man, absolute shits, the Surveying Tutors were brilliant - - easy going, very good teachers, laid back - -those 6 weeks some of the best weeks I had in the army.
    Just my 2 penneth - - -
  3. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    Check out some of the links in the Sapper Recruiting Info thread in the sticky section at the top of the Sapper Board.
  4. im currently doing my class 1 course, but as a class 2 surveyor, your most likely to be posted to a field squadron and work as a fieldy, however your trainin teaches u all the basics of surveying and setting out. as a class2 your more likely to be tasked with the setting out of projects such as bridge sites, bulk fuel installations, houses, ranges and roads. the difference between learnin to be a surveyor through uni on ciovvy street and in the army is standard of teaching. in uni it is all theory and simulation work in the classroom, army u get out on the ground using the kit. also with the army the instructors are good to work with and are a laugh, sirveyors are the smallest trade within the corp but then u can go to any unit and u will more than likely know the surveyor there
  5. Not quite true. A degree in surveying is merely the beginning of a chartered surveyors training in civvy street, although people also skip the degree and work as surveying technicians. Once you have done a your degree your employer will provide the practical training and experience you need.

    In any event surveying in civvy street is a very different beast, because the work civvy surveyors do is far more diverse and most of us specialise as a consequence. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has 16 faculties for example;

    Arts and antiques
    Commercial property
    Facilities management
    Management consultancy
    Project management
    Building surveying
    Machinery and business assets
    Planning and development
    Residential property
    Building control
    Dispute resolution
    Minerals and waste management
    Quantity Surveying and Construction

    and every budding chartered surveyor will specialise in one areas of these right at the beginning of his/her career, although there is a good deal of crossover between faculties. Within those areas there is further specialisation.

    That is so. It is a skill that a civvy surveyor learns very early on in his training. It is quite common for surveying firms to pay for employees to do their degree on day release, in which case the degree takes five years to do. So they get practrical experience with the firm during the rest of the week. I would easily expect a trainee to have cracked all they need to know about site surveying within their first year.

    I suppose, in a nutshell, the best analogy I can think of between surveying in the army and in civvy street is that it is like the difference between a Combat Medical Technician and a Doctor. Consequently the average earnings for a chartered surveyor are around £45k. That is about the same as a Major in the Army, a good deal more than any OR. The other side of the coin however is that training and qualifying takes a lot of time and effort and during that time you'll probably only be paid on a scale equivalent to recruit to corporal, much the same as you would get as a soldier.

    However, the army does offers a good deal that no job in civvy street does.

    If you want to know more about surveying as a civvy see below, or feel free to ask.
  6. I trained as a Surveyor Engineering at Chatham in '65.It was a 'T' trade then.The instructors were great.When I got to my Sqn,The Badgeman said 'And what trade are you son?' .'Engineering Surveyor' said I.'Well we have one of those already,we don't need him either.So we don't need another one' said he.'But the OC needs a radio op.So OC's op I was!!!
  7. You are right about the differnces between Geographic Techincians and Engineering Surveyors however Geo Techs are doing less and less survey work now and more Terrain Analysis type stuff, which is pretty dull. If you do want be a surveyor Geo Tech is not the answer. Soon all three Geo Tech trades are to become one jack of all trades.
  8. Is GeoTech what was Soil Mechanic?
  9. At Class 1 level you are awarded graduate membership of the insitute of surveyors. This is because of the vast amount of information ME Survey Engineers are taught. A fair few surveyors have got out recently and have got jobs in site quality control. The vast majority of military surveyors are highly compentent tradesmen who do a great job on site.
  10. Thanks for all the info - it really has added to my understanding of the trade and I feel better equipped to make a decision now.

    Keep the info coming though - there can never be too mucn information!
  11. Thought I'd add my 10p worth!

    Surveyor Engineering - a cracking trade (profession!) for anyone looking for a good balance of site and office based work. During your training you will cover all aspects of Land Surveying including Hydrography, Highway Design and Setting Out. Ultimately you can finish your training (at Class 1) with an HND in Engineering Surveying. The biggest difference between the military course and someone at Uni is the practical bias on the military course. The best example is the final project. On the Army course you are expected to produce a report and drawings on the survey you have done, always a real project and often abroad, whereas at Uni you would write a thesis on how you would complete such a survey. Ask yourself which person is in more demand outside - someone with loads of academic quals but who needs watching all the time or someone who can crack on straight away. Trust me this is not "basic site" work - tell that to the ex-Cpl setting out the A2 widening or the ex-Spr controlling the verticality of a high rise in Canary Wharf right now (and being well rewarded for it). If there is a down side it's that they are truly under-valued by the Corps.

    Geo Data Tech - basically a manipulator of geographical data at small scales eg 1:50000, 1:25000 for mapping and information purposes and little to do with actual construction. There is a little overlap with the Svy Engrs in that some large scale surveying is still taught. I believe the training can reward you with an Foundation Degree. They are a separate branch of the Corps and have good promotion prospects within their own roster. I would think they have fair prospects outside, but because they are very specialised are possibly not as versatile as Svy Engr.

    As my username would suggest I am a Surveyor Engineering, soon to leave the Corps after 22+ years.

    As for GWaiLo - that's too much like GWLO = Clerk of Works and what the f**k do they know about surveying anyway? Even the construction course only do 5 weeks of the basics!
  12. Thank you for the feedback - I was afraid that Army Surveyor trg was too basic and you have set my mind at ease on that front at least. Much appreciated.

    However, I think you have got the meaning behind 'gwailo' wrong - 'Gwai Lo' in cantonese means literally 'Ghost Person' ansd in Hong Kong, caucasians are frequently referred to as such. Probably because of the fair complexion many caucasians have.


    The World is Flat - since you are a current serving surveyor, could you please tell me what sort of jobs a class 2 and a class 1 surveyor would be tasked with? I have read that surveyors seem under-appreciated before so I am afraid that they might usually be used as some sort of Works party doing very little actual surveying?

  13. You got it in one young man. The wife is Chinese.

    It really depends upon what your longer term aspirations are and how much, if any, additional training/education you are prepared to do when you leave the army.

    If you want to work in the construction industry army surveying qualifications can help you, in some cases perhaps without having to do anything other than apply, become a Chartered Builder. which is a well respected professional qualification in the construction industry. It will be of little value if you want to become a Chartered Surveyor. Despite what anyone may tell you, if it ain't "Chartered", that is a professional institution established by royal charter, then it ain't a professional. Ergo, Chartered Accountant, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Architect, etc etc.

    That is not to say that a career as a technician of some sort isn't worthwhile and can't lead to a decent job in civvy street. Like I say, depends upon your aspirations and willingness to study, pass exams, get appropriate training, etc.

    At the moment the construction industry is booming and can't get enough people. But I recall the last recession and for those who weren't chartered it was a bloodbath, tens of thousands lost thier jobs never to return to the industry again. Professionals don't feel the impact quite as badly. That is because we don't rely on building work being done to earn our living. We are just as happy competing with lawyers for dispute resolution work, providing expert witness for the people who always sue each other when projects start losing money as a downturn happens, and many other things.
  14. So Gwailo, what you are saying then is that Army Surveyor training is a long way from being a chartered surveyor? Could you please tell me what I would need to do to become a chartered surveyor assuming that I have trained as a Class 1 army surveyor?

    I realize this might be construed as me being uncommitted to the army but that is not so. I did National Service in my country and I have experienced first hand what it is like to leave the army, fit and raring to go, only to find that the civilian world has little need for people who knows how to plan and lead a section attack or dig a trench etc. I am also all too aware how easily a seemingly bright military career can be marred by things like injury etc.
  15. The routes to membership are outlined here

    Every Chartered Surveyor has to pass an assesment of profesional competence (APC)

    You would either have to use the Graduate route or, as I understand Army Surveyors get some credit with the Chartered Institute of Building, qualify as a Chartered Builder and use the Adaptation route.

    Hopefully someone here can tell you what you would need to do to qualify as a Chartered Builder, but if you did you would then need to demonstate a minimum of 10 years pracitcal experience, demonstrate that you had been undertaken enough continuing professional development. You would need to submit a critical analysis on a project and attend a final interview.

    The graduate route is the normal route. Basically you have to have an RICS acredited degree. You then have to get a minimum two years practical experience, during that time you have to reach set standards in key areas. Again you submit a critical analysis of a project and attend a final interview.

    The final interview is no cakewalk. You will have an hour of being grilled by three experienced chartered surveyors and will have to convince them that you have reached the required standards.

    An easier option is to qualify with RICS as a technical surveyor, which means doing the Assesment of Technical Competence (ATC) insted of the APC. They have changed it recently and it is now a points based system. You can read more here. Having had a quick look I would think that an Army Surveyor would only have to do the final assesment for this. But you'd need to check with RICS.

    Last point I would make is, as with all professional bodies, the entry routes/standards change over time. It is anyone guess what they might be when you leave the army.

    A final note. Plant life said earlier
    . I think he meant the Institute of Architects & Surveyors. It does not exist anymore and it wasn't a chartered body, so not widely recognised or respected. I seem to recall it got absorbed by the Chartered Institute of Building. As I said earlier, if it ain't "Chartered" it isn't a professional institution it is really (although it might have aspirations) a trade body. Professional institutions are invariably set up by royal charter and are obliged by that charter to continually raise standards, protect the public, discipline thier members, etc. They can only change their rules by getting royal consent. Bodies that aren't chartered can do what they want.