National Surveyors Week Spotlight | Jacob Bartlett, PLS | Project Surveyor

How many years of experience do you have as a surveyor?

I have 8 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Surveyor, and 13 years total.

When/how did you discover that you wanted to become a surveyor?

I started college as a mechanical engineer, but quickly realized I didn’t want to be in an office all day. There were a few of my friends that were Survey Majors and I was convinced that changing majors to surveying was the way to go.  I haven’t looked back since.

What do you like most about the work you do?

I find the research associated with a boundary survey the most interesting and challenging part of my work.  It’s looking at old documents, interpreting the language in the deeds, and understanding the legal aspects of what you are reading. With reviewing all of that information, you get a sense of the landscape and how it has changed throughout history.  I like to say that surveyors are historians that do puzzles.

Describe a typical (or ideal) work day in the life of being a surveyor.

My ideal day of surveying would be comprised of doing a reconnaissance survey for a large tract of land.  After conducting the research, we get to check how well we put all of the deeds together.  You get to be outside, hiking around and basically doing a treasure hunt. Sometimes everything falls right into place; sometimes it’s back to the drawing board.

What is your favorite/most notable project and why?

At Sebago, the project that I remember the most is Summer Commons in Sanford, Maine.  Not only was it a good project for the community and rebuilding an outdated nursing home, but it was one of the first times I was more involved in the land transfer with the client. There were some legal issues I brought up during the pre-development survey, and I got to be involved with the legal teams to help resolve the issue.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in surveying?

Surveying is very challenging, but also very rewarding.  Sometimes the aggravated neighbors and overly interested clients will slow your progress or make you doubt why you got into this career, but it’s important to keep in mind that there will be those bluebird days surveying on the lake as well. Overall though, it’s a great feeling to be able to get outside, work as a team, and help clients get their projects off the ground.