How To Become A Photogrammetrist
Photogrammetrists are a specific type of mapmaker who utilizes satellite images, aerial photographs, and Light-Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to craft models of the Earth’s features and surface to create maps. LIDAR technology is attached to an aircraft or car to digitally map the overall topography of the Earth’s surface and forest density.
It is the responsibility of the photogrammetrist to plan satellite and aerial survey to guarantee the complete coverage of a specific geographical area. Photogrammetrists develop base maps for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to be layered on top, collect elevation and distance data, and analyze spatial data.
Why Become A Photogrammetrist
If you have a passion for aerial photography, map-making, and geography, you may want to pursue a career in the field of photogrammetry. A photogrammetrist’s job responsibilities are ever-changing with advancements in technology. The main responsibility of a photogrammetrist is to collect physical and social characteristics of landmasses or areas on the Earth. By utilizing LIDAR, GIS, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), photogrammetrists are able to collect, analyze, and present their data to cartographers, engineers, surveyors and mapping technicians.
Skills & Qualities for Photogrammetrists
If you are looking for employment within the field of photogrammetry, it is important that you possess the following qualities and skills in order to obtain a photogrammetrist position.
- Critical-Thinking Skills – Photogrammetrists use surveys, aerial photographs, aerial maps, and records to determine changes in positional accuracy and thematics of each geographic feature or region.
- Computer & Technology Skills – Photogrammetrists create and edit maps through computers and various forms of technology. Photogrammetrists gather data such as longitude, latitude, distances, and elevations of areas. Photogrammetrists create incredible and sometimes intricate maps and charts. Most of these maps and charts use Light-Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology, geodetic surveys, and remote sensing systems. A photogrammetrist may create maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to analyze, assemble, and display spatial information through a digital mapping format. LIDAR and GIS systems can make the process of map-making for a photogrammetrist more interesting and streamlined. The work of a photogrammetrist can be traditional or incredibly innovative, as they may create simple, traditional paper or digital maps.
- Detail Oriented – You will focus on the details in order to construct a map and its features.
- Problem-Solving Skills – Photogrammetrists must be able to analyze, identify, and resolve problems with computers. They will use datasets and technology when constructing the maps.
- Decision-Making Skills – You will make decisions about the readability and accuracy of a map. That includes its features. You need to have strong decision making skills to determine what information is necessary in order to meet a company’s needs.
Photogrammetrist Work Environment
Photogrammetrists may be employed in architectural and engineering firms, government facilities, and consulting services. A photogrammetrist may spend a lot of time within an office setting, however, certain projects may require extensive fieldwork to obtain data and verify information. Fieldwork may include flying in specialized, LIDAR equipped aircrafts for aerial surveys and data collection.
In 2012, the Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor showed that the mean annual wage of a photogrammetrist was $57,440. The median annual wage of a photogrammetrist is dependent upon experience and education.
Average Photogrammetrist Annual Salary
The average annual salary for photogrammetrists is $67,390 a year. Salaries start at $40,390 a year and go up to $100,670 a year.
Average Photogrammetrist Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a photogrammetrist is $32.40. Hourly wages are between $19.42 and $48.40 an hour.
Stats were based out of 11,440 employed photogrammetrists in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Photogrammetrists
- 1. California $40.52 / hr $84,280 / yr
- 2. Virginia $38.49 / hr $80,050 / yr
- 3. Washington $37.93 / hr $78,890 / yr
- 4. Maryland $36.57 / hr $76,060 / yr
- 5. New York $35.56 / hr $73,960 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Photogrammetrists
- 1. Anaheim, CA $45.12 / hr$93,840 / yr
- 2. Silver Spring, MD $44.92 / hr$93,430 / yr
- 3. Oakland, CA $43.56 / hr$90,610 / yr
- 4. Washington, DC $42.75 / hr$88,930 / yr
- 5. Springfield, IL $42.35 / hr$88,080 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Photogrammetrist Career Outlook
The career outlook for a photogrammetrist appears to be very promising. From 2012 to 2022, the overall employment of photogrammetrists is expected to grow 20%. The projected growth of photogrammetrists is due to the demand for the future management of aerial, LIDAR, and satellite images. With the increasing amounts of mapping data that will continually need to be created and monitored, photogrammetrists will be needed to collect data and calibrate camera equipment.
If you wish to pursue a degree in Photogrammetry, you will need to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Geomatics. A degree in Geomatics may be the best option, as it combines cartography (mapping technology) with geography (land surveying). Throughout your coursework, you may learn about GIS, GPS, and LIDAR systems, computer programming, engineering, mathematics, and map-making.
Land planning, geodesy (astronomical and mathematical study of Earth-shaped spheres), remote sensing, photogrammetry, and mapping legal concerns may also be covered in your coursework. Internships are also vital to your career path, so be sure to seek out internships during your academic journey. It is vital to refine your computer skills, critical-thinking skills, decision-making skills, and problem-solving skills throughout your coursework.
Upon graduation, you will need to become a licensed photogrammetrist. Licensure requirements for photogrammetristss varies from state to state, so be sure to browse the Internet or ask your local government for information.