In a nutshell, a land surveyor is one who surveys property for construction, real estate transactions, public transportation, land development, etc.
We are the guys you would normally see standing in the middle of the interstate looking through a transit while dodging cars
Seriously though, it is a little more complicated than that. For starters, to be licensed to practice (at least in the state of Florida), you must have a 4 year degree (usually in an engineering background). Then one must pass a three day exam administered by the state, in addition to the apprenticeship requirements. All this to pet gators, run from snakes, and dodge cars!
The majority of our clients are land developers, local and state governments and municipalities, realtors, title companies, mortgage companies, construction companies, local builders, real estate attorneys, architects, and engineering firms -- the latter of which we work very closely with in the design of roadways, subdivisions, utilities, and so forth.
The land surveyor's primary job, first and foremost, is the retracement of property boundaries based on previous surveys done all the way back to the establishment of section land grants in the 1800's -- and the mapping and recording of that information for future preservation. The majority of this is spent "in the field" finding original boundary corners, chopping out boundaries through the woods and swamps with machetes, and measuring between these corners or laying out roadways, parking lots, buildings, etc.
Technological improvements are making these tasks not only easier, but also much more accurate. GPS systems are used primarily in the majority of day to day fieldwork, as well as "total station" transits that collect the field data (angles, distances, elevations) automatically for simple upload or download to computer software back in the office thus greatly simplifying the mapping of this information.
It's a very challenging, rewarding, and diverse line of work -- especially if you like getting outdoors!