Cartographers

Cartographers prepare maps, charts, and drawings from aerial photographs and survey data. They also conduct map research, developing new mapping techniques, and investigate topics such as how people use maps. They collect, evaluate, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data. They research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, political, educational, and design reasons. Photogrammetrists are specialized mapmakers who use aerial photographs, satellite images, and light-imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology to build models of the Earth’s surface and its features for the purpose of creating maps.

Finally, cartographers and photogrammetrists presently work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to design and analyze algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems. 

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Collect and analyze geographic data; examine and compile data from ground surveys reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images; prepare thematic maps in digital or graphic form; and revise existing maps and charts
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions; the highest employment levels for cartographers and photogrammetrists exist in California, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida.
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
Experience Part-time work as a surveyor's assistant; apprenticeship
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
Skills
  • Drawing/Design
  • Math
  • Organizational
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager
  • Cartographer or Photogrammetrist
  • Apprentice Cartographic Drafter or Geospatial Specialist
  • Surveying and Mapping Technician

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