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A year in the life of a Graduate Geomatics Surveyor

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Life as a graduate geomatics land surveyor

Glanville graduates gain experience in projects of all types and sizes as their careers progress. In this blog, Lauren Whittaker shares her experiences of her first year as a Graduate Geomatics Surveyor with Glanville and gives advice to those who want a career in Geomatics (Land Surveying).

Why did you join Glanville?

Joining a medium-sized company meant that I would be able to get involved in a variety of projects, which is particularly important to progressing as a Graduate Surveyor. For example, I’ve done topographic surveys for potential new McDonald's restaurants, measured building surveys for Historic Royal Palaces, deformation monitoring for the Environment Agency as well as setting out and land boundary disputes. One of the other elements that attracted me to Glanville was the fact that it is a multi-disciplinary company, meaning that graduates also have the opportunity to learn about the role of Civil/Structural Engineers and Building Surveyors.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

A surveyor’s week is very different to a typical 9-5 office based job! Typically I spend half the week in the office and half out on site. I’m involved in all parts of the project, both the data collection and compiling drawings ready to be issued to the client. Spending time on site not only means a varied week but also means visiting several different locations. All of which means that no week or two days are the same for a surveyor!

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I get to visit sites and buildings that I wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to. Recently I enjoyed doing a survey at a leading film studio, where I could observe what is involved in film productions whilst surveying the vast array of buildings.

Why did you choose surveying and what qualifications did you require?

My first experience of surveying was during my undergraduate degree at the University of Southampton where I undertook a field course in archaeological surveying at Chawton House, Hampshire and assisted a friend on the River Cober in Cornwall. I soon realised that surveying combined my passion for the outdoors and geography/mapping into one job. I studied MSc Geospatial and Mapping Sciences at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2018 when I joined Glanville as a Graduate Geomatics Surveyor. Graduating with a master’s degree accredited to RICS and CICES allows me to follow the pathway to become a Chartered Surveyor with either professional body.

What has been the most challenging moment of your career?

Surveys which require a higher level of detail and accuracy have certainly been a challenge, as has improving my attention to detail and drawing basic elevations as part of measured building surveys. I am constantly learning and developing my skills!  Recently I have drawn more detailed elevations at Kensington Palace which involved not only scanning with high resolution and in colour but also taping and making presses of the edge of the wooden panels in order to get the levels of detail that the scanner is not able to detect.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Knowing that the survey I carried out contributed to a new development is especially rewarding when you see the final result. Whether it be a topographic survey for a planning application or setting out, surveyors play a crucial role in creating plans and determining the location on construction sites.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career as a Geomatics  Surveyor?

If, like myself, you are coming from University to a Graduate role, I would say be prepared to adapt your skills learnt from your degree into the practicalities of the real world. As a surveyor it is important to have a good understanding of the basic principles but also able to adapt to different scenarios and understand the clients needs, which can only be achieved through years of practical experience. My master’s degree in surveying provided me with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for surveying and I would recommend anyone to study before beginning as a surveyor, although practical experience must not be undermined due to the nature of the work.

If you would like to find out more about a Graduate career at Glanville, click here to see what vacancies we currently have at our Didcot or Hemel Hempstead offices or contact Sandie Reid at our Oxfordshire Office (

Watch Lauren's video to find out why she loves working for Glanville: