Who’s that taking photos of my house?

Who’s that taking photos of my house?

By Ashley Stacey

A question I can simply not avoid when undertaking surveys for residential subdivision and development. Often people mistake my instruments as a camera due to their lack of knowledge or exposure to the survey industry. Many times I have explained my line of work to my family and friends only to be met with confused expressions. Surveyors are few and far between in Australia when compared to the numbers of most other professions. We are an increasingly aging group of people, who are not promoted in schools and those who do continue on to higher education are intimidated by the difficulty of the work.

With the diminishing number of surveyors in the industry, new and upcoming companies can thrive in the new avenues of social media and property forums. Employing new technology, both computer and field based, new survey techniques and ultimately making use of the hard work of our predecessors, we can do better quality work with higher turnover than ever.

Earlier this year I attended a presentation where one of the speakers was the surveyor-general John Tulloch. Following his speech I managed to ask him his thoughts on the future of our industry.  As there are lower numbers of younger surveyors completing their tertiary study, I wanted to know how we could encourage growth whilst keeping the standards of the education extremely high.

He agreed that it is a difficult situation but “Melbourne is renowned for its quality of surveys and we are quite reluctant to start letting more people through the qualification system at the expense of the quality of our work”.


With fewer and fewer surveyors achieving their licenses it is a sad scenario considering the bright history the industry has come from, especially in Victoria. For example, Robert Hoddle was Melbourne’s most respected surveyor, upon settlement and he designed the CBD grid that we know today. A famous and extremely functional design which is unique to our city.

So getting back to the original question, I am not taking photos of your house with my theodolite- I am merely measuring its dimensions. But I look forward to explaining this to these curious people as it opens them up to an industry which they might not have possibly considered. Knowledge is the only way our industry will progress and hopefully encourage people to continue the work our current surveyors are developing.