Survey says – Opportunities in the new drafting and survey technician occupation

A CAF technician gathers precise survey data using electronic and satellite equipment.
A CAF technician gathers precise survey data using electronic and satellite equipment in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Photo: DND

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By Major Jim Hutcheson

A military occupation that has recently been re-established provides a great opportunity to employ highly technical skills that are applied both in the office and in the field, serving the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments anywhere in the world. This small but exclusive occupation is drafting and survey technician (DS tech), and we’re looking for new members.

As part of the Military Engineering Branch, DS techs employ leading-edge electronic and satellite equipment to gather precise survey data. From this, they produce essential site plans, charts, architectural drawings and designs using the latest computer aided design (CAD) software. This capability is essential on permanent military facilities, during exercises, and across the full spectrum of deployed operations.

DS tech positions have been established at two Royal Canadian Air Force wings (4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, and 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia), at two Army bases (Canadian Forces Bases Kingston, Ontario, and Gagetown, New Brunswick), and in Brussels, Belgium.

This occupation includes non-commissioned members from the rank of private/aviator to sergeant, after which DS techs may enter the construction engineer superintendent (CE supt) occupation (link on the right side of this page).

The Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (CFSME) at CFB Gagetown conducts the occupational qualification training – that is, the training that will qualify you as a DS tech – which includes the following topics:

  • Planning and conducting land surveys
  • Mathematics related to survey
  • Data and material management
  • Auto CAD software
  • Producing civil designs
  • Producing building systems designs
  • Performing construction stakeouts
  • Producing as-built drawings
  • Construction engineering common tasks and safety

Further specialty training may be offered through additional formal courses and on-the-job training. The skills and experience gained by DS techs are closely related to those in civilian technician and technologist positions in the fields of surveying, architectural drafting, and civil engineering.

No previous training or experience is required to apply, although Grade 11/Secondary 5 math is a prerequisite. For more information about the drafting and survey technician occupation, check out the information and the video on the recruiting website (link on the right side of this page).

If you think a career in the Canadian Armed Forces in this new occupation is the right one for you, visit your local recruiting office or the online recruiting website.

For personnel already serving in the CAF, your local personnel selection officer can provide additional details about the opportunities available in this unique and challenging occupation.

Image gallery

  • A Canadian Armed Forces drafting and survey technician gathers survey data using the latest electronic and satellite equipment.
  • Canadian Armed Forces drafting and survey technicians mapping locations and distances.
  • Canadian Armed Forces drafting and survey technicians use new and highly accurate survey technology in Kuwait.


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