A photogrammetrist is responsible for all phases of mapping and other mensuration requirements, which include planning and supervising survey activities for control, specifying photography, or other imagery requirements, managing projects for mapping or other mensuration requirements and interpretation. There is aerial and terrestrial or close-range photogrammetry. The former is the process of taking photographs from the air, but there is more to it than simply using a light aircraft or helicopter and flying up to take photographs. There are many elements to an aerial survey that must be considered to ensure that the data is useful enough to extrapolate whatever is being investigated. Terrestrial deals with photographs taken with cameras located on the surface of the earth. The cameras may be handheld, mounted on tripods, or suspended from towers or other specially designed mounts. The term close-range photogrammetry is generally used for terrestrial photographs having object distances up to about 300 m.
In our report on the Top Online Bachelor Degree Programs in Geography, we highlighted several schools whose curriculum will satisfy the job requirements for photogrammetry. Some jobs, such as one posted on indeed.com for a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Research Scientist prefer a degree in geography, GIS, or cartography. For example, the University of Arizona offers a specialized Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology, which is one of the specialties for entering this field. According to the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the educational preparation should be targeted either toward becoming a specialist in the field of geospatial information science and technology. However, due to the extensive use of geographic information systems (GIS), the work and role of photogrammetrists are changing because of these rapid advancements in technology.
There are other degree opportunities in geomatics, civil engineering, forestry, surveying and mapping, and spatial science programs. Geomatics is based on products, services, and tools involved in the collection, integration, and management of geographic data. A university curriculum including the study of Geomatics (or Geomatics Engineering) might include the subjects of land surveying, geodesy, remote sensing, photogrammetry, and other scientific studies. However, in order to keep up with the speed of technology, it is imperative to have expertise in GIS. Another subject that is crucial to this profession is mathematics. Students interested in pursuing mathematics should read our report on the Top Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Mathematics
To qualify as a professional photogrammetrist, you generally need a bachelor’s degree, or significant work experience combined with a two-year technical degree. Usually, this degree covers the disciplines of surveying, civil engineering, cartography, or geodesy. While this education generally occurs in engineering curricula, some geography, forestry, and resource management programs offer courses in photogrammetry. A background in computer science is also useful since most photogrammetrists today use advanced computer-mapping programs.
Professionals in this occupation can expect to work a standard 40-hour workweek. However, there will be times when outdoor work takes you beyond the standard work schedule. For example, during field work for aerial photography or surveying. Employment opportunities exist in government departments of transportation, private mapping companies, survey firms, and engineering firms. Other possibilities are in remote sensing companies, and geographic information companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sees the expected growth rate to be 29% through 2024. The median salary in 2016 was $62,750 with a Bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS.