Professional Aspects of Photogrammetry

Classification Chart for Photogrammetry and Mapping Sciences

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing accepts without change the definitions used in the ASCE report* for professional level and technician level work as follows:

Professional Level:Work that involves the exercise of professional judgment frequently based on knowledge acquired through higher leaning, generally non-routine in character. The term implies one who can plan, perform and/or direct all such operations in the category; this person is responsible for work performed by those under him/her.

Technician Level: Work that is primarily routine, of a technical nature, often demanding a high degree of skill, done under the direction of a professional person who is responsible for its outcome. Such work is pre-professional when performed by a professional trainee who, having completed courses of specialized intellectual instruction and study, is seeking to attain professional status.

In the classification chart that follows, work listed under the heading of Technician Level also includes work that is pre-professional as defined above.

In the classification chart, several professional-level activities are listed, such as geographer, geologist, forester, and archaeologist, in which it is intended to connote that photogrammetry and/or mapping science is used in this particular activity in a professional manner by a professional person. (The occupations mentioned are examples only and the list is not to be considered as comprehensive) Practitioners in one of these disciplines may acquire professional competence in photogrammetry and the mapping sciences, and only when they possess this competence is their use of photogrammetry and the mapping sciences to be construed as professional.

Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division ASCE, ASCE Proceedings dated Sept 1959 (No. 2166).


I. Education in Photogrammetry

  1. Administration of instruction in Photogrammetry
  2. Undergraduate teaching
  3. Graduate teaching
  4. Technical writing

Professional Level: Dean, department chair, professor, technical writer.
Technician Level: Teaching assistant

II. Research and Development

  1. Materials: Photographic emulsions and bases, chemicals, and drawing and reproduction materials.
  2. Instruments and equipment: Lenses, cameras, sensors, platforms, rectifiers, enlargers, printers, measuring and plotting instruments, automation hardware and calibration devices.
  3. Systems: Mapping systems photographic and other image interpretation systems. (development of an integrated series of functions and techniques to produce a given result using photogrammetric principles.)
  4. Investigations and research: Operations research, concept determinations, cost effectiveness studies, techniques studies and investigations.

Professional Level: Research chemist, research physicist, research engineer, technical writer, Cartographer, mathematician, electro-optical systems design engineer.
Technician Level: Laboratory or shop assistant, test technician.

III. Manufacturing

  1. Materials: Photographic emulsions and bases, chemicals, and drawing and reproduction materials.
  2. Instruments and equipment: Lenses, cameras, camera and other sensor platforms; rectifiers, enlargers, printer sensor systems; viewing, measuring and plotting instruments; automation hardware; software and calibration devices.

Professional Level: Manufacturing engineer, quality control engineer, electro-optical systems engineer, physicist, chemical engineer
Technician Level: Shop technician, drafter.

IV. Photography (Includes aerial, terrestrial, underwater, space photography) and electronic imagery

  1. Technical planning: Flight or exposure station parameters; photography specifications; camera calibration.
  2. Procurement and inspection; Technical negotiations; technical administration of contracts; inspection and acceptance.
  3. Photographic mission: Operation of camera-bearing vehicles; maintenance and operation of cameras; flight or course navigation.
  4. Photographic processing: Development, inspection and reflight requirements.

Professional Level: Planning engineer, aerospace engineer, photographic scientist, photographic engineer.
Technician Level: Drafter, inspector, photographer, laboratory technician.

V. Engineering Surveys for Location Design and Construction, (Utilizing photogrammetric technology)

  1. Location and design data surveys: Control, basic and supplemental (horizontal and vertical); culture and topography profile and cross sections measurement and digitization of topography and other vital details.
  2. Construction survey; Location surveys, and staking on the ground of the designed facilities and/or structure quantity and measurement surveys; “as built” surveys; utility surveys; surface mines.
  3. Surveys for plans and plats: Architectural (building sites); tax maps, as constructed sites.

Professional Level: Engineer, survey engineer, geodetic surveyor.
Technician Level: Stereoscopic instrument or plotter operator, operator of other photogrammetric equipment, computations technician, drafter, field survey assistant (instrument, tape, rod).

VI. Topographic and Planimetric Mapping

  1. Project planning.
  2. Control, basic and supplemental (horizontal and vertical): Analog procedures, analytical methods, instrumental methods; field measurement methods, global positioning systems
  3. Map compilation: Orientation of plotting instruments, delineation of planimetry and contours; measurement of spot elevations, profile and cross sections, and other terrain data; identification and annotation of principal topographic features and cultural details.
  4. Field edit and completion surveys.

Professional Level: Planning engineer, topographic engineer, geodetic engineer, production engineer, mathematician, cartographer.
Technician Level: Stereoscopic instrument or plotter operator, operator of other photogrammetric equipment, laboratory technician, computations technician, drafter, field survey assistant, computer operator.

VII. Space Surveys

  1. Geodetic surveys: Figure of the earth and control extension from satellite triangulation, from ballistic camera photography of earth satellites, and from earth satellite-borne synoptic photography; documentation of results.
  2. Planetary surveys: Surveying and mapping of planets using data derived from space photography and space probes; reporting and/or documenting data

Professional Level: Geodetic engineer, geodesist, space scientist, topographic engineer, mathematician, and cartographer.
Technician Level: Stereoscopic instrument or plotter operator or operator of other photogrammetric equipment, laboratory technician, computations technician,

VIII. Special Applications

  1. Photographic maps: photographic maps with contours, digital orthophotos, photographic mosaics.
  2. Operations and maintenance: Surveillance; elimination of hazards; condition and inventory surveys; quantitative measurements and evaluation.
  3. Close-range photogrammetry: Architecture; biomedical applications including conventional and x-ray stereo-photogrammetry, photogrammetric solution of biological problems; hydrography, structural engineering; oceanography, geography; police work including crime detection, traffic and accident surveys.
  4. Lasers and holography.

Professional Level: Cartographer, physicist, physician, dentist, archaeologist, geographer, oceanographer, architect, engineer, hydrographer
Technician Level: Stereoscopic instrument or plotter operator, operator of other photogrammetric equipment, laboratory technician, drafter.


I. Remote Sensing and Interpretation

  1. Instrumentation selection and operational planning: Instrument-carrying vehicles; space platforms; radar and thermat infrared sensors; scintillometers radio-meters, magnetometers; multi- and special- sensor combinations; viewing and scanning equipment; image enhancement and image data processing systems; operation and maintenance of sensor systems; preparation of imagery for end use.
  2. Interpretation for general purposes and mapping: conventional mensuration and interpretation of photographic and other imagery pattern recognition; reporting and documenting results.
  3. Interpretation for specific purposes and disciplines: geology, forestry, agriculture, land use, archaeology, water resources, meteorology, mineral and aggregate resources, urban planning, industrial development, transportation facilities, volcanic and earthquake surveys and investigations, environmental and pollution surveys; reporting and documenting results.
  4. Military intelligence.

Professional Level: Cartographer, electro-optical systems engineer, geologist, forester, archaeologist, hydrologist, planner, engineer, agronomist, soil scientist, materials engineer, resources scientist and engineer, earth scientist, environmentalist, analyst, etc.
Technician Level: Interpretation technician, laboratory technician, image analyst, drafter


System design: Designs basic GIS systems structures including mapping requirements and all operational software.

System application: Designs and/or integrates various application software packages to solve user requirements.

System maintenance: Consults with clients having existing systems and advises on update procedures and new system characteristics and specifications.

Professional Level: Manager of GIS, GIS department manager, systems analyst, computer Systems manager, graphics manager, programmer analyst
Technician Level: Data processor, data input technician, equipment operator, digitizer, drafter.