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Topographic Surveyor (21S)

Construction and Engineering Army MOS Information
  • Enlisted
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve

The Army is always building and repairing airstrips, docks, barracks and roads. Surveying, mapping and drafting technicians, such as Topographic Surveyors, conduct land surveys, make maps and prepare detailed plans and drawings for construction projects. They’re also sometimes called upon to provide maps and surveys that locate military targets and help plot troop movements.

Topographic Surveyors are primarily responsible for supervising and conducting topographical surveys to provide control data for map making and artillery support. They’re also involved in supervising and performing topographic or geodetic computations.

Some of your duties as a Topographic Surveyor may include:

  • Recording topographic survey data
  • Operating survey equipment
  • Performing topographic computations
  • Constructing survey towers/stands
  • Transporting, setting up, operating and maintaining equipment
  • Drawing maps and charts using drafting tools such as easels, templates and compasses
  • Making scale drawings of roads, airfields, buildings and other military projects
  • Conducting land surveys and computing survey results
  • Drawing diagrams for wiring and plumbing of structures
  • Building scale models of land areas that show hills, lakes, roads and buildings
  • Using aerial photographs to form large photomaps


Job training for a Topographic Surveyor consists of nine weeks of Basic Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills, and 15 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, including practice operating topographical and survey equipment. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in a field enviroment. You’ll learn:

  • Surveying and drafting techniques
  • Aerial photo interpretation
  • Architectural and structural drawing

Helpful Skills:

Helpful atrributes include:

  • An interest in algebra, geometry and trigonometry
  • An ability to convert ideas into drawings
  • An interest in maps and charts
  • An interest in working with drafting equipment

Advanced Responsibilities:

Advanced level Topographic Surveyors supervise and train other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level Topographic Surveyor, you may be involved in:

  • Transporting, setting up, operating and maintaining equipment
  • Making field checks to ensure field measurements meet project specifications
  • Computing elevations of tidal benchmarks and baselines
  • Performing field computation to verify field observations for control surveys
  • Determining and writing equations used in least square adjustments
  • Operating and writing programs for programmable electronic calculators

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