The Difference Between Tulsa Surveying and Mapping

Jan 24, 2024 | Land Surveying

Throughout history, surveying and mapping have played an essential role in society. While the two are entwined, each requires specific knowledge and training. Every Tulsa surveying project has its own purpose. In fact, surveyors have a variety of specialties they can choose to pursue. So, what do surveys have to do with mapping, and how are they different?


What Is Tulsa Surveying?

Surveying is a highly scientific practice focused on the physical measurement of the earth. These measurements include land, air, and water. The information they collect serves a variety of purposes, such as determining property boundaries, plotting sites, creating maps, and aiding in civil engineering. It all depends on the type of survey performed.

A surveyor technician in Tulsa Oklahoma performs their job by measuring data to establish various distances, elevations, angles, directions, and other data points. They gather this information using different types of technology, including GPS, 3D scanners, UAVs, and more. They also consider coordinates that have already been mapped in their work.


What Is Mapping and Who Does It?

Much of the mapping process relies on the information collected from surveying, which is why the two are so difficult to separate in the public’s mind. While surveying is the scientific process of gathering information for various purposes, mapping represents the information visually.


Licensed Professional Surveyor and Mapper

There are many different specialties within the surveying profession. A surveyor technician in Tulsa Oklahoma is trained to collect data in the field, but a professional surveyor has even more education, experience, and licensing. For example, a PSM is a surveyor trained to create maps.

A licensed professional surveyor and mapper (PSM) has the necessary training to map out the information collected, accurately showing the various land features and their locations. They also establish plot points and boundaries and serve as expert witnesses in legal matters.

The required education to become a PSM varies by state. However, the job often requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree in surveying or a similar field.
  • Roughly five years of experience working in an assistive role to a licensed surveyor.
  • The completion of required exams.

The maps created can be two or three-dimensional models, depending on the information conveyed. The types of surveys completed provide surveyors and mappers with the details they need to develop various map types. A GIS analysis, for example, would be used to create a 3D map.


What Are the Different Types of Surveys?

While mapping is the most well-known role of surveyors, they are vital to construction,  geophysics, environmental cleanup, industrial accidents, and more. Here are some different types of surveys.


Topographical Survey Tulsa

A topographic survey gathers detailed information on natural and manufactured features of land, such as structures, hills, roads, rivers, and more. Determining the location and shape of these features is useful for infrastructure projects, environmental restoration, and more. In fact, a government agency is likely to request a topographical survey Tulsa.


Construction Survey

Construction surveying is similar to land surveying. However, its purpose is to provide vital information for a construction project. With this job, a surveyor goes to a construction site and takes detailed measurements of items above and below the land that are necessary for other professionals, such as architects, when developing the project.


Boundary Surveying

Boundary or cadastral surveyors work in the field to gather information. Still, they also spend a lot of time researching public records – this combination of new data and recorded materials can be used to help settle legal conflicts surrounding boundaries.


Examples of Professional Surveyors:


A geodesist is responsible for measuring the shape and size of the earth’s surface. Using GPS and other technology, the Geodist will create accurate coordinates. Along with these measurements, they also track geodynamic phenomena.


GIS Analyst

A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst completes surveying using sophisticated computer software, which maps out complex information. They typically begin with a basic land survey and layering other pieces of data on top to create highly detailed maps.


Find a Surveyor Technician in Tulsa Oklahoma:

Modern technology has changed how surveyors collect information and ways to represent it. If you would like to learn more about how Tulsa surveying can benefit your next project, please reach out to the team at Sisemore & Associates.