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The worst jobs in history - land surveyor / pole man

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A famous TV channel that deals mostly with history, thought that being a surveyor or a pole man is one of the worst jobs in history. This is a brief description, how it was in the old days.
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Text Comments (86)
Belarion A.D. (23 days ago)
Surveying isn't all that bad most of the time. In the summer months it can suck in dense woods but that's about it. Ticks, mosquitoes, briars and feeling like you're inside a sauna can suck but your body and mind adapts to it.
Alex Schubert (7 months ago)
R u kidding ? I was a poleman (surveyor's assistant) in the US for 1 year a while back and while it wasn't my favorite job, i would take it ANY day over a job in the food/ service/ hospitality industries.
Ari Jalokinos (7 months ago)
Cheers from a fellow surveyor! (Finland)
Todd Maki (6 months ago)
Hyvää päivää to Ari Jalokinos from a fellow surveyor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! (The Finnish capital of the U.S.!)
Pee Pee business idea (8 months ago)
I m Pardeep from India but now I m at Dubai and my job as land surveyor chainman. I want to go to Canada and want to job .i have experience of this job 9 months and this is continue til today, pls WhatsApp me +91-70871-40150 and call me +971-5070-33911
Neoji Moran (1 year ago)
I am surveyor here in the Philippines. I LOVE MY job just because we only work for more than an hours but the price is good I'm proud to be an LAND SURVEYOR..
Neoji Moran (1 year ago)
I am surveyor here in the Philippines. I LOVE MY job just because we only work for more than an hours but the price is good I'm proud to be an LAND SURVEYOR..
CHUK CHUK (1 year ago)
My land surveying job actually sucks!! I am the "crew chief " of a 2 man crew. The "instrument person " that works under me has these responsibilities--drive the vehicle, take pictures, take measurements with a tape measure and run the rod!! He has a dream job because I only make a few bucks more than him. My job consists of running the transit, judging what prop corners are good, running a GPS unit, counting foundation flood vents, calculations for topo and fecs, calculating lot corners, sketching lot lines and houses/impermeable walkways, pools, etc. Also reading building plans for piling layouts and or curbing stakeouts as well as foundation layouts. I work in an area that produces many multi-million dollar homes and 1 inch of error is the end of the world
Jimmy Tally (1 year ago)
I started in 1990 as a Rodman in Texas...it was very physical and the heat was brutal, the cold was bone chilling, and the rain was....well...WET! I've dealt with snakes,spiders,wild hogs,bulls and guns....but the worse part is definitely cutting brush...all day!!! I was a Rodman for about 2 years, pulling chain and plumbob, then ran the gun for 5 years, then moved up to party chief. Once I became PC, I left Tx and started traveling all over the USA chasing pipelines.... $$$....The money is fantastic....You can take home over $10,000 a month, but there is a downfall to it...you will not see your family until the job ends, and that's usually 6 to 9 months or more. Then you will typically stay home for a month or so then do it again. I recommend a 3/4 ton truck, a travel trailer, and bring the family with you...Homeschooling is the best decision we could have ever made!!! Good luck!!! =)
Derek Bird McGovern (2 years ago)
Haha this is a joke right? Worst job in history? I could get paid to hike? Outside, on the clock, under the sun, really? This is what I do on my days off anyway! haha I'm so stoked to be a Geomatics major right now.
ExRep Fiddlero (2 years ago)
I can confirm... surveying sucks. It's a thankless job as well. Everyone takes their topo, ALTA or plat and runs off with it and you never hear anything unless there's a problem or you get some dumb lawyer who doesn't understand that a N-E bearing is the same as a S-W bearing in reverse. Everyone needs us to survive and get their crap built, they pay millions for engineering, permits and construction but then have the balls to complain about the price of an $4,500 ALTA survey. I could go on about how dirty some of the licensed guys are but I am too busy trying to figure out an 8 foot bust on plat that was signed by a guy who I am betting never set foot on the site.
Beyond The Veil (2 years ago)
I love this video. There should be more videos out there like this. I also like the old roman type of surveying methods.
John R (3 years ago)
I've been surveying a long time. I've seen a lot of equipment improvement through the years & all I can say is I LOVE my GPS!
Ron Harper (3 years ago)
Surveying sucks! But there ARE worse jobs out there.
r Negoro (3 years ago)
I'm a part time surveyor, I just wanna say it's not that bad as it says..... It's just bloody hot to measure under the scorching sun. I use alumunium insulators to keep the heat away.
Santiago Iparraguirre (4 years ago)
Here in Argentina you graduate as a Surveyor engineer. The pay is really good, a simple land surveying pays about 200 dls the hour (a school teacher here earns about 500 dolars a month). Best part you manage your own time, and almost every work is on free spaces, great contact with nature. It's known to be one, if not the oldest professions in history. Now, if you ask me, one of the greatest jobs in history, at least at this latitudes. Cheers
Oldag75 (4 years ago)
As a kid, I was a tail chainman on a surveying crew at the (under construction) Dallas-Ft Worth airport for five summers.  Please know that those runways are flat and straight thanks to me (with help from others on my crew).
Ian Vanderwall (2 years ago)
+Oldag75 Needed to give yourself a pat on the back, did ya?
yubtypin (4 years ago)
I have a degree in surveying, and worked for 4 small surveying firms, and one large engineering firm.   I totally agree it has to be the worst job in History but I do remember seeing some brick layers on a job that made me feel really lucky.  Folks, the pay is not good, and working in ALL conditions year after year is hard on the body.  A well organized company will make your life less stressful because everyone has their own role but generally those are large companies doing work for the D.O.T. and field hands are usually out of town a lot.  I've seen crew chiefs on their 3rd or 4th wife, never see their kids, ect.  Its a job that I truly believe a few can enjoy.  It is rewarding for a FEW.  Most that get into this line of work never get past certain positions and learn to live with the results.  As a young man I really felt proud like I was doing something not everyone else could do and for once, I felt smart but as the years went by, I slowly began to realize I was being used up and had to make a change.  If your doing great in your survey curriculum at college, and your able to pass the FLS exam on your first or second attempt, by all means your going to be fine.  You'll most likely find yourself in an office of your own calling the shots if your a real business person.  But if like me, you struggle passing the exams, MOVE ON!  there are plenty of other services you can provide that will give you equal or better pay and be less stressful to your body and family.  
Curt Hegel (2 years ago)
+yubtypin couldn't agree more. Been a crew chief in Canada for about 20 years. And that is all I ever will be. Outside in rain/snow/cold/heat long hours and with my experience should be making more like a journeyman tradesman. But the professional surveyors are cheap n greedy. Ya I at the end of my rope with this career. Too bad I have a mortgage and car loan etc. Tough to make career change at mid life
sumflow (4 years ago)
I am a Surveyor, retired after thirty years.  Best job in the world.  The construction end of it pays pretty well and I would get part of the year free to do whatever I wanted because of the cyclical nature of the seasons.
WrathofHunhau (4 years ago)
I personally like running rod over the instrument. If you get someone new on your crew it's gets really annoying having to go back to the job after he shot stuff in with the wrong codes. Having run the instrument for a while I just walk him through whatever I need him to do just like my boss would for me. Now pay where I live sucks. I make less than working at MacDonald's per week but I enjoy it. It only gets annoying when you have someone working on your crew that messes things up all the time
SmokeySDA (4 years ago)
They presented this vid the way surveyors performed a job in the 19th century. Today there are 4 wheelers (which you can mount equipments instead of traveling with them by foot). There's GPS (for a one man crew) or robitic total stations. There are walkie talkies to eliminate hand signals. Bad video. The only true part is the weather.
Ryner PalapuZ (4 years ago)
How could it be the worst? Without them you can not finish any projects.. Its a humble job i guess..
Ryan McGowan (4 years ago)
I think the toughest part would be looking for prior monuments. Especially that first one that is a stone buried 3 feet deep with nothing but a chiseled X.
Steve Haw (4 years ago)
They missed the point completely here. A beautiful field in the English countryside is no torture. They should`ve mentioned the surveyors who worked in the far-flung corners of the British empire. Now they were heroes.
lunasam9 (5 years ago)
A Lee (5 years ago)
Any one who thinks being a poleman is close to being a terrible job, clearly has done fuck all with their own life.
supertilzen (5 years ago)
Best job ever unless youre these people. Idiots.
joe blow (5 years ago)
Yeah I abuse my Rodman but making 80,000 a year there is much worse jobs out there than his
Patrick McAnally (5 years ago)
Hey, I'd rather be outside in the mud then sandwiched in a cubicle being "...yyyeeeaaahhh"ed at. Plus the digitization of the tools vastly improved the time of each job
AktiebolagetAB (5 years ago)
What kind of company or branch of government do you work for?
Bergur Viderø (5 years ago)
I´ve been a Surveyor in Faroe Islands in about 25 years. Love it, despite the weather :-)
westmontwriter (5 years ago)
Where's the Distomat? Or the Wild? Who uses a chain?
westmontwriter (5 years ago)
If I was as pudgy as this dude I'd be bitching about walking as well.
Natasha Charl (5 years ago)
Running around outdoors, bushwhacking, hiking with lots of weight on your back.... Sounds like what I do for fun on the weekends! Sign me up to be a surveyor! :D
KUNDALINI (5 years ago)
How do i get into this buisness?
Loquitoporti bla (5 years ago)
I can tell you now it is very good! 3 of my mates are land surveyors and very very happy with all aspects of the job, I am moving into Building Surveying around the same money but less study time for me cause I have a already studied a building related course.
Ioannis Pseirakis (6 years ago)
Who actually does land surveying like this? Ok, sure it's 2008, but still.... Modern surveyors use GPS and work is done A LOT FASTER. I have mapped ~18 acres in one day using only RTK GPS...
Chris Ecker (6 years ago)
@Macs83ak dare i ask how much you make a year? is it really good? send me a private message if you want;)
racenuke (6 years ago)
@Scoot8317 lol thank you. I am interested in this kind of job...
Scoot8317 (6 years ago)
I'm a surveyor. worst job, really? maybe if you suck at math and you're a sissy that hates being out of a cubicle....
LordDavidVader (6 years ago)
PS. unless you are working for a government agency that doesn't care about making money or wasting ours then there is not such thing as a rod man or a pole man.
LordDavidVader (6 years ago)
God! nice job commentators for proving the fact the surveyors are pretty much the lamest artards in the word with no sense of humour. I say this as someone who has worked in the land surveying business for 25 years. (and yea I'm probably a lame artard too, but that's what surveying does to you) Did you guys all miss the part where it said "how it was in the old days"
EMIL Balicanta (6 years ago)
I am a Geodetic Engineer, working as a Land Surveyor in my hometown and in middle east. I will start for a new job in another company and I will work as a Hydrographic Surveyor... Challenging Job for the journey of my profession... :)
EMIL Balicanta (6 years ago)
GOD!!! This is an OLD SCHOOL executing a survey. We have lots of high technology equipment for survey like total station and GPS. Why are you still using this. Your chainman/pole man/rod man, get angry with you if you still using this kind of method. But this is good. I am laughing while watching this. It reminds me when I was still a young boy and studying Surveying. Nice Job but quit classic.... hehehe
Durden5086 (6 years ago)
Whatever man, I'm a land surveyor and it is a easy job most of the time, the hardest part is chopping brush in overgrown areas.
Thanh Tran (7 years ago)
I really don't think it's so bad. I'm 29 years old and I would enjoy a job like that. All that walking regardless of weather conditions in the outdoors isn't so bad.
Madame Sata (7 years ago)
@ttomdorrej i mean physical geography
Tom Teters (7 years ago)
They are called a Rodman. Worked 15 years in the field in Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada and Colorado. I got a chance to see land that 99% of the public never gets to see. Work in coal mines, gold mine, on streets, pipelines, setting out roads, measuring mine claims, up mountains, prairie and urban settings. See wildlife up close & personnel. And get out in the weather, all kinds, push my body & mind and learn new techniques it was a wonderful career.
RzzRBladez (7 years ago)
lol, the work has become so much more lonely nowadays, that i enjoy the days more when i have an assistant with me ( that i can bully around ofcourse ) Yet some stuff never changes, some ppl threaten us with words like lawyers, because of our evl activities.
flenny (7 years ago)
Surveying is the best job i've ever had, Macs83ak said it, hate being stuck behind a desk and the pay is great!
Isaac Schultz (7 years ago)
I was a pole man off and on for 3 years about a years and a half total, eventually made party chief, which I thought would be more fun... Decided to take up drafting after 3 years consecutive as a party chief... Still got my hands dirty 2-3 times a week doing mostly Topo's... And eventually laid off - Never went back, been two years now. I Do miss hanging out behind a total station, doubling angles on some highlands along a river sometimes. GPS really took most of the "At nature" fun out of it.
Military Pyro (7 years ago)
yeah,hot and thick as fuck,snakes,swamps,los of shit!
ghost boy (7 years ago)
ghost boy (7 years ago)
@LouisianaPyro93 THAT MUST SUCK!!!!
Military Pyro (8 years ago)
try cutting line in louisiana
Madame Sata (8 years ago)
@FUCDAT12 I was thinking about going into land surveyoring and I was wondering if a degree in Geography would satisfaction?
markoderossi (8 years ago)
have u heard of EDMS or GPSS !
Dragonsayian (8 years ago)
I'm sure nowadays they have walkie talkies or cell phones but now it probaly is pretty cool job at times at least you are getting exercise people.
Chris Whidden (8 years ago)
This guy is a pussy thats why. Im a Land Surveyor and I love my job. He wouldn't last one say pussy!
Sean Twomey (8 years ago)
The guy in the video is Baldric from Blackadder. He isn't a surveyor and this series sums up his experience with Surveying. Maybe from the aspect of an normal unadventurous person land surveying seems like the worst job, but I know anyone who does it loves it. I am a Canadian RLS here in Arizona and have loved surveying for these past 12 years. I thought the show was a nice light intro to an aspect of surveying, and was thrilled that Baldric was the Host!
poloblurb (8 years ago)
Wrong job title and poorly informed description The job is known as a Chain-man. Surveying in the UK was practically a picnic compared to other locations around the world... take for example India, the surveyors had to hire massive work parties to hack a line of sight through dense forests. They were required to work even during the Indian monsoon's and you were exceedingly lucky if you didn't catch malaria or some other water related disease.
MegaJeremy07 (8 years ago)
try cutting line in Florida.
MANUEL DUNQUE (8 years ago)
this is an old method of triangulation guys..were using now GPS (GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM) and total stations to work in large tracts of land.any king of survey..who says that surveying is the worst job? its not job its an adventure...mongoloid!!!!
bapyou (8 years ago)
Sean Wright (8 years ago)
What the fuck? Worst job in the world? My grandfather started out as a rod man shortly after WWII and retired as the head of a survey crew and worked his way up in the various survey teams in the state of Florida. Not to mention my father did many, many jobs with him back when he was a lot younger coming back from Vietnam. In fact I still have my grandfather's survey tools and field note books from his days as a land surveyor. Worst job my ass, that takes a LOT of skill and concentration.
Ned Ferguson (8 years ago)
Not very informative. They do not even tell the viewer what they are using. That type of equipment is used for topographic, not boundary surveying. They do not discuss line-cutting through the woods, large elevation changes, or getting around obstacles. Most surveyors would drool at the chance to survey in open fields. Could have been much better.
bapyou (8 years ago)
Plane table and alidade. I made a topogaphic map of a small stream course in college using a PT and A. There's something about working with these old optical instruments that connects you with the past, all of which is -- somehow -- very satisfying.
Clickbeetle (8 years ago)
Famous Rod Man: Dan Akroyd. Look it up....
pretorious700 (8 years ago)
in the states we call them the "rod man"
jahuuja007 (8 years ago)
It''s 2 differend jobs
jahuuja007 (8 years ago)
Mate it is One of best jobs in the world
white is right (8 years ago)
set those hubs< level run the benchmark<traverse the section<set the property corners< love surveying!
Lisa Gibson (8 years ago)
This video isn't speaking of recent surveyors but back in the "old days". If you think about it mostly everything was hard in the old days.. I'm in college for my Associates in Carpentry. I'm now learning how to do site layout using transits. It sucks, I'm not fond it the transit only because of the math and fractions lol and the paper work is confusing.
badpie99 (8 years ago)
I've been dragging a heavy robotic rod, sledge hammer and bucket full of hubs across the Arizona desert for 7 years and it aint the easiest job in the world. Some starving Chinese kid would probably shit himself pounding hubs into unforgiving caliche in 122 degree heat.
nomore utube (9 years ago)
ya i agree , i enjoyed thepast almost8yrs as a survey assistant (billedout asa junior-tech)my first crew chief , was teaching me evrthig i made the mistake of mentioning it to the other crew when i had to temp work with them,crews shifted i got put with the worst crew chief(no he had trouble geting alone with everyone)i stuck it out 7yrs now laid off a bigger comp(meclhanney) boughtout the one i was working for,so now midleaged i'm going back to school get the educ to at least be a crew chief
Kate . McCridhe (9 years ago)
LOL! Sounds like this was taken in Britain - which is a whole lot milder than Nebraska, USA, where I got my degree in surveying. Funny, the parts of the job you listed are NOT why I decided to be a civil drafter instead... I've had heat stroke and frost bite, and I was already too beat up from working in factories and blue collar labor of various sorts for 10 years before I went back to school for my degree...
daveolso (9 years ago)
been surveying for 12 years now.. LOVE it.. Started when I was 18 as the rod man and grunt worker.. Pretty much worked my way up to crew cheif and department head for my company. I love it because it's always different and I love being out doors.. I love working in the winter also.. Don't ask me why.. I was in North Dakota working when it was -21 with 40mph winds.. Now thats cold..
landcruiserlarry (9 years ago)
Its ROD MAN not Pole man
lizabath (9 years ago)
My husband is the best damn surveyor in Monterey County! I surveyed with him and it was the best job I ever did. Outside, beautiful land, gotta use your brain which is why some can't do it ;-) Go BaselineLandSurveyors!
jackup29 (9 years ago)
right on-been surveying for 8 years and i love my job.traverse on!
Aaron Stark (9 years ago)
I've been surveying for 4 years and I love the job, although the way this show's is the old, old, old way before even the theadolite this still doesn't depict the 10 man crew but is close. I think they have there signal's backwards. Currently let go "due to no work" but hey whatever going to school for surveying and hopefully in a few years things will turn around.
lionel tan (9 years ago)
The surveyor with suit and tie is the one with a degree? Will he get to do the labour work of data collection too?
Lieutenant Moustache (9 years ago)
Poor Tony :D
David (9 years ago)
Is that a stadia rod? she didn't explain that very well. I doubt they did triangulation with that plane table setup.

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