Photogrammetrists are professionals with advanced training in photogrammetry. The first remote sensing technology ever developed, photogrammetry is the process of constructing maps or scale drawings from aerial photographs or other relevant images. Photogrammetrists often work with surveying and mapping technicians as they are collecting data for a project.
Job opportunities for photogrammetrists can be found in a variety of businesses, since photogrammetry has applications in geology, architecture, topographic mapping, engineering, manufacturing, police investigation, and quality control. Examples of government agencies in the United States that hire photogrammetrists include the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). Occasionally, however, the duties of a photogrammetrist may overlap with that of a cartographer, remote sensing scientist, or geographic information systems officer.
During a typical day, photogrammetrists may perform tasks such as undertaking requested projects for architectural professionals, planning and supervising ground or aerial surveys, image acquisition, and airborne camera operation. Their data is often needed to analyze areas that are either inaccessible or difficult to survey by other methods.
Strong computer skills are needed for this occupation, since a photogrammetrist is expected to use specialized software while producing graphic and accessible images. Photogrammetrists must also be able to evaluate and interpret a wide variety of data, including aerial photography, laser ranging, satellite imagery, and radar.
The preparation for becoming a photogrammetrist can vary. High school students interested in the field are encouraged to take classes in algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus as well as biology, chemistry, physics, geography, earth science, and computer programming. Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees are available at colleges and universities that include photogrammetry as part of the geography, geomatics engineering, civil engineering, forestry, or physical science program. Internship experience is highly recommended before seeking a full-time position.
Like many scientific occupations, photogrammetry requires a commitment to continuing education. The technology used to evaluate images is constantly changing, so belonging to organizations such as American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing: The Imaging & Geospatial Information Society is important to stay current in the field. Professional status and licensure may be obtained through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Depending upon the state in which they wish to work, students may also need to become licensed as surveyors.