Cartographers, also known as mapmakers, are experts who are recognized for their exceptional analysis, design, fact-checking, and other abilities.
They are tasked with creating and drawing maps of a variety of areas around the world. In this article, you’ll learn who they are and what they do.
If you’re considering a career as a cartographer, you’ll find information about how to get started and some important facts about the field here.
- Being a Cartographer
- Duties and Responsibilities
- How to Become a Cartographer
- Work Environment and Salary
- Where to Apply for a Cartographer Job
Being a Cartographer
Cartographers are people who make a living by drawing maps. They’re part of a wider community of people known as mapping experts. These experts gather geological data from aerial photos and surveys and use it to create maps, plots, and sketches of vast regions of the planet’s surface.
Cartographers are engaged in all facets of map creation, particularly science, technical, and creative elements. They are the ones that created the maps we are currently using. They also have a strong ability to interpret and comprehend accurate images and sketches.
These professional mapmakers can use electronic and manual mapping tools, as well as photogrammetric methods, computations, and accurate stereo-plotting machines. While most of the earth has been surveyed, certain areas are not currently represented at sizes that can be used.
As a result, cartographers are extremely valuable in today’s culture. Cartographers no longer use a pointer, a compass, or a scrap of manuscript, as they once did. To record terrain and interpret data elements, modern mapmakers use high-tech remote sensing tools such as geographical information systems.
What a Cartographer Does
In government departments, cartographers play a critical role. They’re in charge of reprinting and upgrading outdated maps. They may also be credited with interpreting current data in fresh and creative forms. Geodesy surveys and devices, such as aerial drones and satellites, are used by cartographers.
Light-imaging detection and ranging equipment are still used by others. LIDAR remotely tracks the terrain of the earth using lasers connected to planes and other instruments. LIDAR is also more precise than conventional surveying techniques, and it can also be used to gather other types of information, such as the position and density of wooded areas.
These mapmakers are gradually creating maps for web and handheld devices. Cartographers gather data and build maps for smartphones and tracking systems, and infographics are becoming increasingly common. Cartographers can also use existing maps, polls, and other documents as a starting point.
Duties and Responsibilities
Cartographers should be able to assess each tool’s thematic and positional precision. They also make decisions on the overall map’s validity and reliability. As a cartographer, you have to be able to do analysis, determine what is included in a survey, and create charts, graphs, diagrams, and models.
They should also understand how to use color, icons, and design to convey details. These mapmakers use machines to accumulate and generate graphs for both specialists and non-specialists, as well as to collect, preserve, and produce virtual data elements.
Cartographers are also in charge of running a photogrammetric plotting tool or a digital photogrammetric workstation (DPW), which displays photos in the stereoscopic or three-dimensional layout.
Aside from that, cartographers communicate with customers about their needs and with outside contacts, such as surveyors and planners, about information delivery. They use geographic information systems to observe, design, and interpret landscapes.
Cartographers must have a passion for geography. They must understand cartographic conceptual designs and be able to capture, interpret, and incorporate data elements into a well-designed cartographic solution. Since maps are made digitally, learning how to modify them on a machine is important for being a successful cartographer.
Cartographers must therefore be critical thinkers when they deal with current charts, polls, and other data and must be able to assess the precision of each aspect being plotted. Decision-making abilities are another important ability to have if you want to be a cartographer.
You must make choices about a map’s precision and comprehensibility. To satisfy the client’s needs, you must determine what detail you need as a cartographer. When creating a map and choosing what elements to add, you must also be meticulous.
How to Become a Cartographer
To become a cartographer, you should first grasp what the work is and what it entails. Many cartographers should be able to interpret information both analytically and creatively. They have credibility for perfectionism and pay careful attention to details and precision when converting data into maps.
A bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, surveying engineering, engineering, forestry, or computer science is usually recommended to be a cartographer. Some people get into this field after serving as surveyors or map technicians.
Students interested in pursuing a career as a cartographer can take algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or drafting in high school. Cartographers now need more training and technological expertise, including programming experience since there’s an undeniable advancement of GIS technology.
One must also be familiar with web-based mapping technology, such as newer data compilation methods that take advantage of smartphones’ tracking features and car tracking systems.
Licensing or Certifications to be a Cartographer
The licensing standards for cartographers differ from state to state. A surveyor’s license is required in a variety of states. Applicants must hold at least a high school diploma and pass an examination, but the qualifications differ by state.
The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing also offers qualifications to cartographers. Candidates must have the required qualifications and pass an exam.
While qualification is not mandatory, it will help applicants gain employment by demonstrating their expertise.
Work Environment and Salary
Cartographers usually work 35 to 40 hours each week and only see the places they’re mapping. They spend the majority of their time inside an office, which is filled with drafting boards, machine geoinformation, and other specialized technology. Their job is methodical and meticulous, necessitating discipline and precision.
Cartographers’ salaries differ tremendously depending on the business and the cartographer’s expertise. Based on their credentials, cartographers who work with the government receive an average of $67,989 a year. In the private sector, cartographers receive a total yearly salary of $46,080.
A cartographer may advance to supervisory status after gaining expertise and regularly performing high-quality work. A person can advance into one of the advanced fields of cartography by gaining additional expertise and preparation.
Over the year 2014,thea workforce of cartographers is projected to rise at the same rate as the national median. Many with expertise in newer systems such as GPS and GIS will have the highest potential. The majority of job vacancies would arise from employees who are retiring or leaving the field.
Where to Apply for a Cartographer Job
As mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for a job as a cartographer, you can find an array of vacancies offline and online. However, since many companies today prefer online applications, it’s best to take advantage of the technology.
You can create a candidate profile in various online job-hunting sites, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, and more. These platforms can help you reach out to employers near your area or even those who are located in other countries.
It is also easier to find vacancies online and see reviews about the company you are applying for. Remember that more than the salary, you must consider a lot of things for your welfare.
It’s best to know the background of the company you are interested in applying to as a cartographer. That way, you can prepare for the entire hiring process and can set realistic expectations.
How to Apply
Many of the applications for a position as a cartographer can be completed online, either directly on an employer’s page or on a career site. You should plan to fill out online work applications before you begin your job hunt. It necessitates collecting all of the necessary details to submit.
To begin, gather all of your qualifications and records, including an updated resume, cover letter, and, if applicable, a portfolio. When applying for a job as a cartographer, it’s important to obey all instructions. As part of the online recruitment process, you will be required to create a profile, submit your documents and take an application exam.
It’s essential to meet the company’s eligibility requirements, request all necessary documents, and fact-check your submission before submitting it, regardless of how you apply.
The Bottom Line
Cartographers are professionals who specialize in the development of maps. They evaluate and assemble spatial data before combining it into a chart that can be shared. Cartographers find their work both frustrating and exciting in this regard.
It’s a complicated job that requires a wide variety of skills, including analysis, statistical analysis, and a grasp of architecture and interaction. Cartographers must also be professional in their work, be able to work alone or as members of a team, have a good eye for information, and be comfortable experimenting with emerging technology.