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Geodesy for the tunnel survey ( Ruckhaldetunnel ), 2017
Geodesy measuring the terrain, 1952

A geodesist (plural: geodesists ), or in Switzerland and Austria also a geometer, is a specialist in geodesy (surveying). A geodesist who has studied this subject - at a university ( university or technical college ) - is a surveyor .

The terms “geometer” and “geodesic” come from the Greek and mean “someone who measures the earth” or “divides” (into plots ). The word "Geometer" is preferred in some German-speaking areas, in others it is - like land surveyors  - out of date, and in colloquial language one also comes across the term surveyor . The job title surveying technician  -  also geomatician - is given to anyone who has successfully completed a three-year dual vocational training course.



Geodesists set themselves the task of determining the size and shape of the earth's figure ( ellipsoid of revolution ). So that this can be done as precisely as possible, knowledge of and research into the Earth's gravity field is an essential prerequisite. A geodesist also records geo-objects on or on the surface of the earth using surveying , photogrammetry and remote sensing methods . The aim is to determine the geo-objects geometrically in position, orientation, size and shape with a given quality. In addition, there is the collection of factual data and the determination of relationships between the spatial objects (relations, topology). A geodesic is also responsible for the administration of geospatial objects, especially for the geospatial base data . For this he uses geographic information systems . Using methods of cartography and computer graphics , he creates images, for example topographic maps or 3D city models , of these geographic objects.


In land surveying, cadastral and building surveying, a geodesic primarily deals with the recording of geometric values ​​on the surface of the earth and the transfer of property or building boundaries from planning to nature ( staking out ). Surveyors are in the preparation of development plans for construction and civil engineering involved and create the plan documents for this purpose. If plots of land are divided or merged or their boundaries are determined, this area of ​​responsibility affects the land registry. A geodesist with special rights (in Austria consultant engineer for surveying or surveying and geoinformation, in Germany publicly appointed surveying engineer (ÖbVI) called) may also make boundary records. These are protocols that used to be called border negotiations. He can also certify changes in the official cadastre.

Other areas of responsibility are:

The modern job description of geodesists is closely linked to geoinformation or geomatics and geographic information systems ( GIS ). In some cases, the geodesist also performs management tasks in the real estate sector, especially in the English-speaking area.

In the case of subtasks in this professional field (measurement, plan drawing, etc.), the geodesist is supported by surveyors and assistants (measuring assistants). These receive their training either at technical schools with extensive practical field exercises or in a teaching profession .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Geodesy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Workplace Earth A generally understandable introduction to geodesy and surveying, supervised by all the relevant professional geodetic associations in Germany