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Our new POB 2021 Salary and Benefits Report shows mean salaries are rising for survey and geospatial professionals in both government and private sectors.

More than 35% of surveyor respondents are earning more than $100,000 a year. The mean salary in 2021 is $87,500, whereas in 2020 and 2018 it was $85,900 and $77,600 respectively. In 2021, the salary and benefits survey brought in 249 responses from industry professionals.

Land Surveyor vs Geospatial Professional

Three in five respondents consider themselves a “land surveyor”, while only one-tenth identify as a “geospatial professional.” Respondents cite reasons such as licensure, legal knowledge, and boundary-related surveying that differentiate land surveyors from geospatial professionals.

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Annual Gross Salary

Average gross salary of respondents has increased in comparison to 2020 to about $88K on average.

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In the 2020 Salary and Benefits Report, responses indicated licensed surveying and geospatial professionals were making more money than those who work in the sector without RPLS/PLS/RLS/LS registration/licensure.

Licensing requirements vary by state, with some states requiring a bachelor’s degree along with professional qualifications. Professional development hours (PDH) or continuing education credits (like our KnowledgePoint courses) are another factor in maintaining a professional surveying license that earns professionals a larger income.

In the private sector, for companies that aren’t publicly traded, the mean salary is $88,931 in 2021, a modest rise from $88,111 in 2020. In the government sector, mean salaries rose to $79,682 in 2021 compared to $78,344 in 2020 and $74,251 in 2018.

Annual Gross Salary by Organization Type

Salaries are slightly lower, on average, for surveying companies; however, salaries remain similar to 2020 for 2021 for civil engineering, private, and government positions.

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While boundary, construction site and geodetic surveying make up a smaller portion of the respondents work responsibilities in 2021 than years prior, aerial, GIS, photogrammetry and other skills are becoming slightly more popular year-over-year. Researchers found that the declining categories, however, are still the most common work for the firms that responded to the survey.

Types of Work Performed

GPS surveying, boundary surveying, construction site surveying, and cadastral/topographic surveying are the top mentions for the types of work performed.

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POB’s Salary & Benefits report is conducted every two years by Clear Seas Research. View more POB special reports for comparison at To download a PDF version of the charts featured above, click here.