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Study Surveying / Surveying Measurement at Otago

A practical look at the land and sea floor.

Surveyors work in a range of land, property and construction related areas. Using modern technology such as GPS and laser instruments surveyors precisely measure land, building, and features in the environment for mapping, development and spatial analysis.

Because of this close association with land and property the roles of the surveyor extends to land development engineering and urban design, resource management and land planning, property boundary surveying, and the determination of land ownership and rights.

The use of computer mapping technology in the form of Geographical Information Systems also leads to work in the capture, display and management of spatial information. Surveyors typically work in a variety of settings – indoor and outdoor - and with a variety of other professions.

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Why study Surveying?

The Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv) is a four-year professional degree that allows both inside and outside work, has great employment prospects, and gives you an internationally recognised skill.

You'll become a specialist in precise measurement and an expert in land law and land ownership. You'll learn to subdivide land and assess its development potential, undertake city and environmental planning, design urban infrastructure, and prepare resource consents. It even gives you the skills to map the ocean floor.

To complement your lectures, you will gain hands-on experience in practical classes, computer labs and on field trips.

Over the last 15 years BSurv graduates have had as good a record of employment as surveyors and geospatial professionals. There is typically more demand than we can supply for our graduates.

This degree is internationally recognised for its quality and broad scope. It will really open up your world.

Background required

The ideal secondary school subjects are English, Geography, Physics, Maths with Calculus and Maths with Statistics. If you’ve taken other subjects we can work out a suitable study programme for you in your first year at university.

Career opportunities

The BSurv degree is the only academic qualification offered in New Zealand that will lead to licensing by the Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board – a licence to carry out land title surveys that is also recognised in all Australian states. It can also lead to full Professional membership of Surveying + Spatial NZ (formerly the NZ Institute of Surveyors).

Because Otago graduates have the skills to take on the full range of surveying activities immediately, you will have a wide variety of options, both in New Zealand and overseas. You might begin with a private sector company here in New Zealand involved in defining land boundaries, mapping and designing subdivisions (including roads, stormwater and sewerage systems), and preparing resource consents. Alternatively you might work for a government agency or a local authority, in their policy planning or GIS departments.

Some graduates do scientific research while others travel the world undertaking seismic surveys, oil exploration, mining, hydrographic surveying, or ensuring that the foundations for buildings and major engineering structures are correctly positioned. Others are involved in defining national and international boundaries for the United Nations. Many end up as consultants running their own businesses.

Most surveying jobs are roughly 50/50 inside/outside — at least in the early years. If you choose a planning option, it will be considerably less outside. If you choose project surveying it will be more.

What you can expect to earn depends upon your personal skills, where you are and how quickly you learn. Starting salaries for most New Zealand-based graduates are approximately $55,000. Those working offshore would start on about $80,000 or more.

The challenges are many and the work is exciting. It is this variety and diversity that makes surveying such an enjoyable profession.

What you will learn?

Your first year covers introductory papers in surveying, mathematics, spatial science and communication plus electives of your choice. The remainder of your degree focuses on a number of core subjects:

Surveying methods gives you hands-on experience in using and calibrating surveying equipment. You learn about GPS (global positioning), and how to determine your position anywhere on Earth. You also learn the science of measurement (both on land and on the oceans), and how to analyse and use the data you collect.

Papers in land tenure studies trace the development and application of land law in New Zealand in both Māori and Pakeha contexts. Combine this with cadastral surveying and you will be able to calculate and lay out land boundaries

Papers in subdivision design and land development introduce principles of urban and rural design. You learn how to value land and design housing developments, including services such as roading and sewerage. A specialist paper on project management gives you the skills to convert designs into reality and managing construction contacts.

Land planning papers explore the history of New Zealand’s planning legislation, deal with the practical application of the Resource Management Act and examine environmental ethics.

Finally, papers on how to use spatial data enable you to integrate all the above activities into geographic information systems (GIS) software.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Surveying Measurement

Level Papers Points
100-level

SURV 101  Introductory Surveying

SURV 102  Geospatial Science

MATH 160  Mathematics 1

18

18

18

200-level

ENGL 228  Writing for the Professions

SURV 201  Surveying Methods 1

SURV 202  Surveying Mathematics

SURV 208  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

SURV 298  Introductory Field Camp

Notes: ENGL 228 must be taken in the second semester of the first year of study.
Admission to SURV 201 and SURV 298 is limited and applications must be submitted by 15 November.

18

18

18

18

0

300-level

SURV 301  Surveying Methods 2

SURV 302  Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis

SURV 309  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

SURV 399  Third Year Field Course

Three of SURV 206, SURV 306, SURV 319, SURV 322, SURV 329, SURV 413, SURV 450, SURV 451, SURV 452, SURV 459, SURV 462, SURV 463, PMAN 401

18

18

18

0

54

Plus

126 further points; must include 18 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

Note: A Bachelor of Surveying degree is also offered.

126
Total   360

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Surveying

Papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Surveying

Papers and thesis

Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv)

Notes:
i. Approved equivalent papers may be substituted for any of SURV 101, 102, ENGL 228, MATH 160.
ii. Those candidates who have taken and passed 24 units of English at NCEA Level 3, at an appropriate standard, may be exempt the ENGL 228 requirement.
iii. Those candidates who have taken and passed 24 units of Mathematics with Calculus at NCEA Level 3, at an appropriate standard, may be exempt all or part of MATH 160.

Year Papers Points
1st year

SURV 101  Introductory Surveying (or an approved equivalent)

SURV 102  Geospatial Science (or an approved equivalent)

ENGL 228  Writing for the Professions (or approved equivalents)

MATH 160  Mathematics 1

54 further points

18

18

18

18

54

2nd year

SURV 201  Surveying Methods 1

SURV 202  Surveying Mathematics

SURV 203  Land Development Engineering 1

SURV 204  Land Development Engineering 2

SURV 205  Statutory Planning A

SURV 206  Land Tenure 1

SURV 207  Cadastral Surveying 1

SURV 208  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

SURV 298  Introductory Field Camp

SURV 299  Second Year Field Course

18

18

18

18

18

18

18

18

0

0

3rd year

SURV 301  Surveying Methods 2

SURV 302  Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis

SURV 303  Urban Design 1

SURV 304  Land Development Engineering 3

SURV 306  Land Tenure 2

SURV 307  Cadastral Surveying 2

SURV 309  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

SURV 399  Third Year Field Course

18

18

18

18

18

18

18

0

4th year

PMAN 401  Project Management

SURV 450  Professional Practice

SURV 455  Statutory Planning B

SURV 499  Vacation Employment

18

18

18

0

Plus

Additional papers worth at least 54 points from SURV 319, SURV 322SURV 329, SURV 410, SURV 411, SURV 412, SURV 413, SURV 451, SURV 452, SURV 453, SURV 454, SURV 456, SURV 457, SURV 458, SURV 459, SURV 460, SURV 462, SURV 463, SURV 469, SURV 470, SURV 480 including at least 36 400-level points.

54

Further papers in any subject to make a total of 522 points

18

Total   522

Bachelor of Surveying with Honours (BSurv(Hons))

Year Papers Points
Prerequisites

The compulsory papers for the First, Second and Third Year courses for the ordinary degree of Bachelor of Surveying (in approved cases, students may be credited with or be granted exemptions from some papers on the basis of previous tertiary passes.)

Fourth Year compulsory papers

PMAN 501  Advanced Project Management

SURV 450  Professional Practice

SURV 455  Statutory Planning B

SURV 499  Vacation Employment

SURV 590  Dissertation

20

18

18

  0

60

Additional papers

Papers worth a minimum of 38 points, including at least 20 points at 500-level selected from:

SURV 319 (or SURV 519 (20 points)), SURV 322, SURV 329 (18 points each)

SURV 510, SURV 511, SURV 512, SURV 513, SURV 551, SURV 552, SURV 553, SURV 554SURV 556, SURV 557, SURV 558, SURV 559, SURV 562, SURV 563, SURV 569, (20 points each)

SURV 573, SURV 574, SURV 575 (40 points each)

38
Total   550

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
SURV101 2021 Introductory Surveying 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV102 2021 Geospatial Science 18 points Second Semester
SURV169 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV201 2021 Surveying Methods 1 18 points First Semester
SURV202 2021 Surveying Mathematics 18 points Second Semester
SURV203 2021 Land Development Engineering 1 18 points First Semester
SURV204 2021 Land Development Engineering 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV205 2021 Statutory Planning A 18 points Second Semester
SURV206 2021 Land Tenure 1 18 points First Semester
SURV207 2021 Cadastral Surveying 1 18 points Second Semester
SURV208 2021 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 18 points First Semester
SURV297 2021 Land Development Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV298 2021 Introductory Field Camp 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV299 2021 Second Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV301 2021 Surveying Methods 2 18 points 1st Non standard period
SURV302 2021 Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis 18 points First Semester
SURV303 2021 Urban Design 1 18 points First Semester
SURV304 2021 Land Development Engineering 3 18 points Second Semester
SURV306 2021 Land Tenure 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV307 2021 Cadastral Surveying 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV309 2021 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 18 points First Semester
SURV319 2021 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 18 points First Semester
SURV322 2021 Hydrographic Surveying 18 points First Semester
SURV329 2021 Selected Topics in Surveying 1 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV399 2021 Third Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV411 2021 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 18 points Second Semester
SURV412 2021 Geovisualisation and Cartography 18 points Second Semester
SURV413 2021 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV450 2021 Professional Practice 18 points Second Semester
SURV451 2021 Surveying Methods 3 18 points First Semester
SURV452 2021 Hydrographic Surveying 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV453 2021 Urban Design 2 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV454 2021 Environmental Engineering 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV455 2021 Statutory Planning B 18 points First Semester
SURV456 2021 Land Tenure 3 18 points Second Semester
SURV457 2021 Cadastral Surveying 3 18 points First Semester
SURV458 2021 Marine Law and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV459 2021 Engineering Surveying 18 points Second Semester
SURV460 2021 Construction Management 9 points Second Semester
SURV462 2021 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV463 2021 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV469 2021 Selected Topics in Surveying 2 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV470 2021 Professional Project 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV473 2021 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2021
SURV474 2021 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2021
SURV480 2021 Research Project 36 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV499 2021 Vacation Employment 0 points First Semester, Second Semester, Full Year
SURV509 2021 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 20 points First Semester
SURV511 2021 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 20 points Second Semester
SURV512 2021 Geovisualisation and Cartography 20 points Second Semester
SURV513 2021 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV519 2021 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 20 points First Semester
SURV551 2021 Advanced Surveying Methods 20 points First Semester
SURV552 2021 Advanced Hydrographic Surveying 20 points Second Semester
SURV553 2021 Advanced Urban Design 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV554 2021 Advanced Environmental Engineering 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV555 2021 Advanced Statutory Planning 20 points First Semester
SURV556 2021 Advanced Land Tenure 20 points Second Semester
SURV557 2021 Advanced Cadastral Surveying 20 points First Semester
SURV558 2021 Advanced Marine Law and the Environment 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV559 2021 Advanced Engineering Surveying 20 points Second Semester
SURV562 2021 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV563 2021 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV569 2021 Advanced Topics in Surveying 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV573 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV574 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV575 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV580 2021 Research project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV590 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year

Key information for future students

Contact us

School of Surveying

Email surveying@otago.ac.nz
Website otago.ac.nz/surveying