Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

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Full Name: Brandon French
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Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by brandonefrench »

What do you think the average salary for a scan tech in the US is? Does that figure go higher if that person is also adept in registration/modeling? I've been trying to find a good base point but there doesn't seem to be that much information out there. I'm assuming it's because the demand for experienced techs is relatively low still? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by Oatfedgoat »

By reality capture technician and your later comment indicating it doesn't include doing registration, I would say this would be a low skilled job that would require very little training to perform.
If you added in doing registration and providing a completed data set then this becomes much more skilled and higher value to clients.

Essentially this is a surveyors job, whether that is a junior surveyor or senior surveyor will impact the salary.
Do other forum users consider there to be "reality capture technicians" in the industry or is this simply a different tool/skill for doing surveys or capturing data?

IMHO I think that as low and undervalued as surveyors are, I suspect a reality capture technician would expect the same or lower salary?

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Re: Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by jaredmatthews »

It's a tricky one to answer, because yes it is a low-skilled profession in that anyone can be taught to set up the scanner to be level, select the specific scan settings for the scan etc etc.
The skill/experience comes in knowing what to actually scan for. Sure, you could instruct someone to just "scan everything", but then their time on site would be increased considerably, and your data set would be extremely (and unnecessarily) large, and most of it probably redundant.

Having surveying understanding IMO is a necessity, and this also comes at a cost.

Same thing as giving someone some wood and tools does not mean they are suddenly a carpenter. An understanding of what the tools can do and how best to use them comes into play.

Granted, the person does not necessarily have to have a masters degree qualification in surveying, or be a member of an institution (here in the UK, RICS) to be able to scan and capture data on site, but having the background knowledge of how the data is going to be used is necessary.

It also depends on what the end processing need is... Some people use scanning for art, some use it for crime scene analysis. In both cases, anyone can set up the scanner and press go, but knowing what to capture is where the knowledge comes in.

To sum up, your base point could be looking for someone who is willing to do the long hours on site scanning (and teaching them gradually what to scan for), having someone with with knowledge of what to specifically scan for would increase the starting amount. Then having someone with all of the previous plus knowledge of how to register would be the next step up.

Bare in mind, that there are some people who just sit in the office and register data that another tech has captured on site.

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Re: Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by stutosney »

As stated above, depends on the scenario etc. I personally am I surveyor who has gradually moved to specialise in 3D laser scanning for surveying, particularly large buildings and heritage sites. On that note, I can also go out and conduct a full blown topographical survey as well process and extract that data. I also do all the registering and modelling from the scan data as well as coordinate it all on site. From this, I have a salary expectation that I would imagine to be more than what you describe as a 'scan technician'.
I think one of the issues is that, with all the tech developments recently making scanning a 'one-button' procedure, people can fall into a false sense of security that anyone can do it, but like someone mentioned above, it is a skill and takes practice, particularly in scanning for surveying.
I have worked in Australia were scan technicians are common, so if you PM me I ma happy to share what those guys were earning so you can use it as a base for yourself.

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Re: Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by steves01x »

It will be a tricky one to gauge for any country..... and various things will add value short/long term:

can they drive?
can they travel/spend longer periods of time away from home?
do they have a degree/experience that will aid future bids?
are they fit enough should they need to start carrying more kit about aka P40/tripods etc?
will they need to process/register the data?

Then you see various salaries here in the UK.... a graduate job at the supermarket Aldi is £40k to £50k, train conductor (collecting tickets/opening doors etc) starts at £32k plus over time and a good pension. Or SSE call centre you can have almost no qualifications (pass a test) and start at £18k to £22k plus loads of overtime, bonus, energy discounts etc with a perfect 9-5 routine.

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Re: Average Salary for Reality Capture Tech?

Post by James Hall »

Hello Brandon,
I have worked in New York City, Pennsylvania and Virginia. These are very different markets.
20 years cad drafting with the last 13 years laser scanning.

In New York I was a Cyclone Operator specializing in data extraction. The pay equated to a senior cad draftsman / Survey tech. The work was registration and data extraction. The market had demand for this specialization and New York pay is higher due to the cost of living.

In Pennsylvania I did all the field work and office work. Scanning field work, setting control, registration, data extraction and final drafting in Cadd. I got paid 40% less then working in the New York City market. This was Scan Tech work and Cyclone Extraction with senior cad draftsman / survey tech. The demand was moderate and the cost of living was low.

Virginia, I have been doing scanning field work, setting control, registration and data extraction. I make 9% less than I did in New York City. This is Scan Tech work and Cyclone Extraction with senior survey tech work.

In New York I had fewer areas of responsibility and more pay. The cost of living was 22% higher than Pennsylvania. Virginia’s cost of living is between that of PA and NY. But there is less demand for the specialization.

I equate pay and performance. As others have discussed in this thread. Anyone can push a button and make the scanner go. How much you make the company will dictate how much they can pay you. If you are doing miles of roadway and can knock out 50 setups in a day. You are doing good. If you are scanning a building and can get what is needed without wasting hours and getting to much data you are also doing good.

Scanning field work only pays the equivalent of an Interment Man. USA average $34,000 a year, will vary per region.
Senior cad technician pay. USA average $67,000 a year, will vary per region.

An experienced Cyclone Operator who can do all of the previously mentioned plus data extraction could make USA average $ 57,552 and up to $72,000. If they are working in a market with demand for the specialization and higher cost of living.

A licensed land surveyor USA average is $62,400 a year. If you have some years of experience and an in demand speculation like drone surveying, laser scanning or hydro bathometric surveying the USA average $90,000.

Last edited by James Hall on Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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