What is a Geospatial Survey Technician Apprenticeship?

The next blog post in our British Science Week 2020 series is written by Elizabeth Stephens from Historic England. 

Key facts about the Geospatial Survey Technician Apprenticeship –

  • A new apprenticeship standard approved for delivery in February 2018
  • Level 3 – this is equivalent to an A level
  • Based within the Construction route
  • Typically lasts 2 years
  • Time split with 80% working within a company and 20% off site training

My experience as an apprentice

I am now 16 months into my Geospatial Survey Technician Apprenticeship at Historic England. A lot has happened in that time. Projects undertaken have included coins, caves, churches and castles, all very different and all very interesting.

Historic England

I am employed by Historic England in the Geospatial Survey team. It’s a great place to work and the sites and objects I get to see are amazing. The support I receive at Historic England is excellent, there’s always someone to talk to, explain a piece of equipment or give advice.

My role at Historic England in one sentence

Using a range of equipment and software including different scanners and photogrammetry to survey building and objects, often generating 3D models that can be used to aid conservation work, monitor the structure, record, or as a learning tool.

Leeds College of Building

I spend around 20% of my time at Leeds College of Building where I have been learning lots. This year’s units have included Topographic Surveying and Geographical Information Systems. The units this year have been really interesting and very relevant. The first year was more background theory but this year has been more connected to what I do at work and has a bigger emphasis on the practical application.

Drone flying

I have been lucky enough to be part of the first group of colleagues at Historic England to undergo training and receive our PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations).  I am now able to fly a drone to capture images of different sites that are used to complete surveys.

Photogrammetry and laser scanning

Within my work at Historic England we often carry out laser scanning at sites to capture the shape and condition of a building or object. The laser scans are joined together when back in the office and produce a 3D model of the building or object. We use a range of scanners including mobile, hand held systems.

Photogrammetry is also used which involves taking many overlapping images that are then processed to produce a 3D model.

These methods can be combined into a ‘reality capture’ model combining the superior images from the photogrammetry and the geometry from the laser scanning. The laser scanning produces the framework that is then wrapped in the images.

Why apprenticeships are fantastic

  • Gain qualifications while earning
  • A chance to meet others within the industry for future contacts
  • Support and guidance from everyone in the organisation
  • Learning a wide range of transferable skills
  • Practical experience working within the sector
  • A chance to change career and learn a new skill set
Historic England 1
Shire Ditch.
Historic England 2
Longthorpe Tower.

Historic England 3

Historic England 4
Nottingham Caves.
Historic England 5
Nottingham Caves.
Historic England 6
PrimeScan- Whitby Objects