A map shows you where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you want to go. A cartographer creates maps—epic poetry whose lines and colors depict the fulfillment of huge dreams and intricate geographic knowledge.
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Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Cartographers do?
A Cartographer would typically need to:
- Compile data for map preparation, such as aerial photographs, survey notes, records, reports, original maps, and satellite images; use the data to create and maintain digital databases.
- Analyse and examine data in order to create topographic maps, aerial-photo mosaics, and associated charts.
- Using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics technology, create and modify trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and 3D optical landscape models.
- Using basic mathematical methods, identify, scale, and orient geodetic points, elevations, and other planimetric or topographic features.
- Establish criteria that clarify which sources are allowed for use. final compositions are inspected to verify correctness and accuracy
- Determine map content, layout, and production parameters including scale, size, projection, and colors; direct production to ensure specifications are met.
- Using aerial photography and other digital remote sensing techniques, gather information about certain aspects of the Earth.
- Using precision stereo plotting or drafting devices, delineate aerial photographic information such as control points, hydrography, terrain, and cultural features.
- Examine legal documents to determine the borders of local, national, and international properties, and travel through imaged regions to inspect, identify, document, and verify all necessary elements.
- Liaise with clients about their needs and with external contacts, such as surveyors and designers, regarding the information supply.
- Collaborate with editors and printers to examine, model, and analyse landscape elements using computer-based technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS).
- Consult with and advise project directors on data display, geographic data analysis, time/cost estimates for cartographic output, and quality control of report graphics.
- Investigate, install, and debug new automated cartographic gear and software, as well as cartographic approaches and methodologies.
- Train and supervise the work of cartographic artists and drafters.
Standard Work Environment
Cartographers typically operate in an office setting as part of a multidisciplinary team. You may spend time outside and away from home when conducting land or hydrographic surveys. Unless otherwise noted, the dress code is casual.
Cartographers often work standard office hours, however, they may be required to work extended hours to fulfill publication or project completion deadlines.
Cartographers are in high demand in the public sector and various government ministries. Their services are also used by the private commercial sector in a variety of ways. Vacancies are typically advertised on websites, in newspapers, or in specialty publications and journals.
Cartographers are generally employed by:
- National Mapping Agencies
- Meteorological Offices
- Armed Forces
- Defense Ministries
- Transport Departments
- Forestry Departments
- Environment Departments
- Food & Rural Departments
- Land Use Research Institutes
- Land and Air Survey Companies
- Hydrographic Office
- GIS Companies
- Planning or Environmental Consultancies
- Utility Companies, such as Electricity, Gas & Water
- Oil Companies
- Local Authorities
- Service Agencies
- Private Consultancies
- Map Publishers
- University Departments
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional associations and organizations are essential for Cartographers who want to further their professional growth or interact with other professionals in their industry or employment. Membership in one or more of these organizations adds value to your CV while strengthening your credentials and qualifications. You can join cartographic societies, which provide networking events and possibilities as well as professional courses.
- Fierce competition for jobs; the need for interdisciplinary knowledge and the ability to adopt new technologies
- Lack of dedicated Cartographers; lack of focus on particular skills; cartography losing ground in institutions
- Health-related issues because of time spent at the computer
Suggested Work Experience
Work placements or a year in industry as part of your degree will give you practical experience that will help you compete in the job market. Sandwich placements and internships offered by large organizations, as well as work experience gained by shadowing a professional Cartographer, would be invaluable.
It’s a good idea to put together a portfolio of any design concepts or maps you’ve created to display at an interview. School leavers may be allowed to pursue the profession after receiving military experience.
Cartography can be entered at the trainee technician level right out of high school or college. A bachelor’s degree in geography, geographical information systems (GIS), geology, computer science, or software engineering will be useful in this competitive sector.
A bachelor’s degree in physical or mathematical sciences, earth science, geophysics, marine science, surveying, civil engineering, or graphic design is also an option. A postgraduate qualification in a related discipline improves work prospects.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
Although certification is not necessary, it does demonstrate expertise and may help candidates land a job.
The requirements for a Cartographer license vary by location; in general, a candidate must have a bachelor’s degree, several years of experience as a certified surveyor, and a passing mark on procedure and technique exams.
Projected Career Map
Cartographers may begin as mapping technicians and progress to become Cartographers and Cartographic Editors. You could specialize in geological or military mapping, for example. You may potentially work as a freelance consultant or academician, but chances are limited.
With experience, you may be promoted to Team or Project Manager, with increasing responsibility for junior personnel, projects, and decision-making. There may also be more opportunities to move to other areas of the company.
To succeed in a small company, you may need to be geographically flexible. You can extend your career by specializing in GIS, photogrammetry (the science of making measurements from photos), 3D visualization, map animation, or desktop publishing.
Although prospects are limited, experienced cartographers can go into self-employment and provide a specialized product or service to other cartographic enterprises or publishers.
Cartographers’ job prospects are likely to be great since maps are increasingly used in government planning.
Beneficial Professional Development
Because there are no formal Cartography degree programs, on-the-job training is the standard. The emphasis is on acquiring practical skills. Cartographers will most likely begin their careers as part of a formal training program in a governmental organization or a large corporation. Following this first training, they will continue to learn new skills and knowledge on the job.
In a larger company, you may go through many departments and gain expertise in fields such as GIS, photogrammetry, and digital mapping. External training in certain software products may also be provided.
In a smaller company, you may be able to work on more diverse projects to hone your talents. Employers may grant postgraduate study sponsorship if you do not have a master’s degree. To stay up to current on the newest software development, you will need to engage in continuing professional development (CPD).
Though cartographers are not commonly held in the same regard as they were when hand-drawn and engraved maps were valuable works of art, cartography is still a difficult field that is equal parts art and science. Cartography is often associated with being an artist, engraver, writer, or other creative. The interest in the world around them is something that all cartographers share. If that is what gets your boat going, then this is the way for you!
Advice from the Wise
To make interactive maps, cartographers do not need to be master programmers; just a little competence and a desire to write some code would suffice.