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Forest and Conservation Technicians

Forest and conservation technicians measure and improve the quality of forests, rangeland, and other natural areas. Show Details

Duties

Forest and conservation technicians typically do the following:

  • Gather data on water and soil quality, disease, and insect damage to trees and other plants, and conditions that may pose a fire hazard
  • Locate property lines and evaluate forested areas to determine the species, quality, and amount of standing timber
  • Select and mark trees to be cut
  • Track where wildlife goes, help build roads, and maintain trails, campsites, and other recreational facilities
  • Train and lead seasonal workers who plant seedlings
  • Monitor the activities of loggers and others who remove trees for timber sales or for other reasons
  • Patrol forest areas and enforce environmental protection regulations
  • Communicate with foresters, scientists, and sometimes the public about ongoing forestry and conservation activities
  • Suppress forest fires with fire control activities, including training other forestry workers and coordinating detection programs

Forest and conservation technicians generally work under the supervision of foresters or conservation scientists. For more information, see the profile on conservation scientists and foresters.

Increasing numbers of forest and conservation technicians work in urban forestry—the study and management of trees and associated plants, individually or in groups within cities, suburbs and towns—and other nontraditional specialties, rather than in forests or rural areas.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects plan and design land areas for parks, recreational facilities, highways, airports, and other properties. Projects may include subdivisions and commercial, industrial, and residential sites. Show Details

Duties

Landscape architects typically do the following:

  • Confer with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand a project
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
  • Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
  • Prepare graphic representations and drawings of proposed plans and designs
  • Analyze environmental reports and data on land conditions, such as drainage
  • Inspect landscape work to ensure that it adheres to original plans
  • Approve the quality of work that others do
  • Seek new work through marketing or by giving presentations

People enjoy attractively designed gardens, public parks, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, and golf courses. Landscape architects design these areas so that they are not only functional but also beautiful and harmonious with the natural environment.

Landscape architects plan the locations of buildings, roads, and walkways. They also plan where to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees. Landscape architects design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, and mined areas.

Many landscape architects specialize in a particular area, such as beautifying or otherwise improving streets and highways, waterfronts, parks and playgrounds, or shopping centers.

Increasingly, landscape architects are working in environmental remediation, such as preserving and restoring wetlands or managing storm-water runoff in new developments. They are also increasingly playing a role in preserving and restoring historic landscapes.

Landscape architects who work for government agencies do design sites and landscapes for government buildings, parks, and other public lands, as well as plan for landscapes and recreation areas in national parks and forests.

In addition, they prepare environmental impact statements and studies on environmental issues, such as planning for use of public lands.

Surveyors

Surveyors establish land, airspace, and water boundaries. They measure the Earth’s surface to collect data that are used to draw maps, determine the shape and contour of parcels of land, and set property lines and boundaries. They also define airspace for airports and measure construction and mining sites. Surveyors work with civil engineers, landscape architects, and urban and regional planners to develop comprehensive design documents. Show Details

Duties

Surveyors typically do the following:

  • Measure distances, directions, and angles between points on, above, and below the Earth's surface
  • Select known reference points and then determine the exact location of important features in the survey area using special equipment
  • Establish official land and water boundaries
  • Research land records and other sources of information affecting properties
  • Look for evidence of previous boundaries to determine where boundary lines are
  • Travel to locations to measure distances and directions between points
  • Record the results of surveying and verify the accuracy of data
  • Prepare plots, maps, and reports
  • Work with cartographers (mapmakers), architects, construction managers, and others
  • Present findings to clients, government agencies, and others
  • Write descriptions of land for deeds, leases, and other legal documents
  • Provide expert testimony in court regarding their work or that of other surveyors

Surveyors guide construction and development projects and provide information needed for the buying and selling of property. In construction, surveyors determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for foundations and roads. Whenever property is bought or sold, it needs to be surveyed for legal purposes.

In their work, surveyors use the Global Positioning System (GPS), a system of satellites that locates reference points with a high degree of precision. Surveyors interpret and verify the GPS results. They gather the data that is fed into a Geographic Information System (GIS), which is then used to create detailed maps.

Surveyors take measurements in the field with a crew, a group that typically consists of a licensed surveyor and trained survey technicians. The person in charge of the crew (called the party chief) may be either a surveyor or a senior surveying technician. The party chief leads day-to-day work activities. For more information, see the profile on surveying and mapping technicians.

Some surveyors work in specialty fields to survey particular characteristics of the Earth. Examples include the following:

Geodetic surveyors use high-accuracy techniques, including satellite observations, to measure large areas of the Earth's surface.

Geophysical prospecting surveyors mark sites for subsurface exploration, usually to look for petroleum.

Marine or hydrographic surveyors survey harbors, rivers, and other bodies of water to determine shorelines, the topography of the bottom, water depth, and other features.

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