Walter B. Volkmann qualified as a land surveyor before emigrating to German South West Africa (now Namibia) in 1906. Initially he worked as a surveyor for the Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahngesellschaft and later for the South West Africa Company. In 1907-1908 he executed the local triangulation system known as "Base North (V)", to which hundreds of farms in the Otavi, Grootfontein and Tsumeb districts were connected. His stations were later included in the Lo 22/17 and 22/19 trigonometric systems. He set up in private practice in 1913 and participated in various boundary surveys of the northern frontiers.
Volkmann's sons, Henner K. Volkmann and Hans J. Volkmann, later practiced as surveyors in Otavi and Stellenbosch respectively. Henner's son, Walter E. Volkmannn, qualified as a surveyor in 1983 and joined his father's practice.