New York’s rural and urban areas offer two vastly different environs for a career in land surveying. For aspiring surveyors, it’s the perfect mix of experience, says Daniel Marvin, LS., president of the New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors (NYSAPLS). “Salaries are higher than many other areas of the country,” he explains. “There is also a diverse landscape from the rural areas upstate to the unique aspects of New York City and its surrounding dense suburbs.”
Knowing the state is full of great opportunities for those interested in land surveying, NYSAPLS has recently stepped up its marketing efforts to connect aspiring surveyors in high schools and local colleges to available opportunities. “No objective measurement,” Marvin says, “but for the last two years, we have been large enough to be able to afford a public relations campaign that is raising awareness of the surveying profession in New York.”
With a NYSAPLS membership base of 1200 and counting, so far the organization’s marketing efforts seem to be working. Here, Marvin shares why.
For more information about the New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors, visit nysapls.org. To vote for New York as one of the best states for land surveying, visit pobonline.com/surveying-by-state.
What would you say is the majority type of work available to land surveyors in New York?
In rural areas of New York, I would say boundary and topographic surveys, and in the urban areas, it is more likely work in roads, bridges, transit, and perhaps utilities.
Do survey professionals need their license to be involved with the New York Society of Professional Surveyors?
No, you do not need to be licensed in New York to be part of NYSAPLS. We have an associate and student member category. They are supposed to have an affiliation with the profession.
About how large is NYSAPLS? How many members? Compared to previous years, is membership growing or staying steady?
Currently, we have about 1200 members, which are broken down by several different categories. We have regular member, which is a licensed person, associate, student, and then we also have life and honorary members. Prior to 2020, our membership had been slowly increasing in the last few years.
Do you measure the ethnic diversity of your membership? Do you have an idea of the percentage?
No, we do not, but minorities are underrepresented in our profession in New York State as well as in the Association.
If you are a surveyor in the state of New York, what kind of quality of life (salary, projects, work-life balance) would you say someone can expect?
Breaking this answer up into small firms that do mostly private work and larger firms that do commercial, utility and public work. Hours could be long for both.
Small firm owners probably have a tough time with work-life balance. The money might not be that attractive for newcomers to a small firm, but it might be the best chance to get a well-rounded boundary work experience to prepare for obtaining a license.
There is more money in the larger firms, particularly if they do public work. Public work party chiefs earn more than $50 an hour. But it can sometimes be tougher to get boundary experience in a larger firm, particularly if you get pigeon-holed in a segment such as construction stakeout or building interior mapping. The money is usually better in the high-tech areas (scanning, BIM, etc.) but it may be a longer path to licensure. Licensure, and ownership in a firm is where the real money is.
What do you think is affecting the growth of the land surveying profession in general the most?
Certainly, a long history of a lack of understanding the role and the importance of land surveying is a long-term process. Also, market pressure on prices is keeping salaries lower, making it difficult to attract new talent.
What is the best way for someone to get involved in NYSAPLS?
Hopefully, there is already someone in your firm that is currently a member. More than 70 percent of the licensed professionals in the state are members of NYSAPLS. Once a member, NYSAPLS has many committees to join (visit nysapls.org for more info). Dedicate a portion of your time, talent and money to being fully involved and integrated in your chosen profession.