Powerful Geography
Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer


Main Topic: Physical Geography
Secondary Topic: Human Geography

Overview: Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Many civil engineers work in planning, design, construction, research, and education. Civil engineers typically analyze long range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data to plan and design projects. They consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages of a project. They compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations. They often oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, and analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects. They can prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility. They will use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards. They will perform or oversee surveying operations to establish building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction. Civil engineers have a strong relationship to geographical concepts and methods, both in practical design of structures and systems and in their relationship to broader societal, economic, and environmental impact.

Geographers at work: Transportation geographers, environmental geographers, urban planners

Recommended College Courses: Physical geography, planning, cartography, human geography, transportation geography, environmental geography, geographic information science, remote sensing, surveying

Skills: Understanding and assessment of physical features (soils, topography, hydrology); map reading and interpretation; computer and database systems; spatial analysis; critical thinking

Occupation Group: Architecture and Engineering

Learn more about Civil Engineer from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm

Written by Christopher Anderson


Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems.
Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems.