Community Forums

Community Forums

Clear all

2 or 3 Survey Crew?  



What determines the use of a 2 or 3 Survey Crew?  Does each member of the crew get their own truck?

7 Answers

It depends on the equipment being used and on the particular job being done.

Probably a majority of times now a solo surveyor will do much of the work using GPS/GNSS and/or a robotic instrument that keeps itself pointed at the reflector he/she is carrying. A communication link lets the surveyor tell the instrument when to take readings on the reflector position.

I think elevation leveling still is often a 2-person job.

An additional person may be employed when brush needs to be cut for sight line, when equipment needs to be carried some distance on foot, or for safety in remote areas or along busy roads.

It is unlikely more than one truck is needed on a survey job.

Back in the past most surveys had multiple tasks needing people at the instrument, holding the rod, clearing line, and perhaps manually recording measurements in a book. Thus larger crews were common.


Old fashioned engineering crews may need 5 people.

2 bosses, and 2 persons training to be bosses, and one person working.



Visit NLC Prep Today!


On rough and remote Forest Boundaries we prefer at least 3 and 4 is better.  We find that production of a 4 person crew in that circumstance is more than double a 2 person crew.  With cutting brush, retrieving the backsight, carrying equipment 1 mile or more from the trucks (2 per truck), selecting the route ahead, setting provisional line points, 2 people just doesn't cut it.

For topography we mostly use one 2 person crew (1 truck).  One does what can be done with RTK and one does what can be done with conventional or terrestrial Lidar.


In the PNW the average surveyor is pushing 60, with many well past that. Plain truth is minor incidents can become fatalities if you are on your own. I prefer to tackle the big jobs with two guys just for safety. If the second member is young and strong all the better. You can kill two birds with one stone by taking the opportunity to mentor. Sometimes two trucks are efficient, others not so much. As ususl it depends...


2 person crews for safety and efficiency.

2 trucks so each crew member can stay 10+ feet away from the other.

We're a small shop - 2 people out sick means 40% of our work doesn't get done and if either or both of them die or are long-term compromised we are really screwed. Way easier to simply avoid the COVID.

Visit NLC Prep Today!


One man crews almost exclusively, exceptions are running levels, construction staking and some dense rough timber areas. Otherwise it's a GPS surveyor with a robot to fill in. 

Two man crews usually will mean two trucks and two 4-wheelers, everyone hates taking the trailers. 

Three man crews are so rare they aren't worth a mention. 

40 years ago 3 man crews were a normal occurrence, that began to fade with total stations and when GPS/robots came on the scene they were gone. 



3-5 two man crews for 32 years, worked for me. 😎 

Scroll to Top