Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect, measure, and interpret geographic information in order to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, and other purposes.
Cartographers are mapmakers who design user-friendly maps. 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.
Cartographers typically do the following:
Photogrammetrists typically do the following:
Cartographers and photogrammetrists use information from geodetic surveys (land surveys that account for the curvature of the Earth’s surface) and remote-sensing systems, including aerial cameras and satellites. Some also use light-imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology. LIDAR systems use lasers attached to planes or cars to digitally map the topography of the earth. Because LIDAR is often more accurate than traditional surveying methods, it can also be used to collect other forms of data, such as the location and density of forest canopies.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists increasingly work on online and mobile maps. Interactive maps are growing in popularity, and cartographers and photogrammetrists collect data and design these maps for mobile phones and navigation systems.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists also create maps and perform aerial surveys for governments to aid in urban and regional planning. Such maps may include information on population density and demographic characteristics. Some cartographers and photogrammetrists help build maps for government agencies for work involving national security and public safety. Accurate and updated maps help emergency responders provide assistance as quickly as possible.
A cartographer who uses GIS technology to create maps is often known as a geographic information specialist. GIS technology is typically used to assemble, integrate, analyze, and present spatial information in a digital format. Maps created with GIS technology combine spatial graphic features with nongraphic information. These maps are used to provide support for decisions involving environmental studies, geology, engineering, land-use planning, and business marketing.
A bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, surveying, or a related field is the most common path of entry into this occupation. Some states require cartographers and photogrammetrists to be licensed as surveyors, and some states have specific licenses for photogrammetrists.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists usually have a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, or surveying. (Geomatics combines the science, engineering, math, and art of collecting and managing geographically referenced information.) Although it is not as common, some have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, forestry, or computer science.
Growing use of geographic information system (GIS) technology has resulted in cartographers and photogrammetrists needing more courses in computer programming, engineering, math, GIS technology, surveying, and geography.
Cartographers must also be familiar with Web-based mapping technologies, including newer modes of compiling data that incorporate the positioning capabilities of mobile phones and in-car navigation systems.
Photogrammetrists must be familiar with remote sensing, image processing, and light-imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology, and they must be knowledgeable about using the software that is necessary with these tools.
Many aspiring cartographers and photogrammetrists benefit from internships while in school.
High school students interested in becoming a cartographer or photogrammetrist should take courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, drafting, and computer science.
Licensing requirements for cartographers and photogrammetrists vary by state. A number of states require cartographers and photogrammetrists to be licensed as surveyors, and some states have specific licenses for photogrammetrists. Although licensing requirements vary by state, candidates must have a minimum of a high school diploma and pass a test.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists may also receive certification from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Candidates must meet experience and education requirements and must pass an exam. Although certification is not required, it can demonstrate competence and may help candidates get a job.
Computer skills. Both cartographers and photogrammetrists must have experience working with computer data and coding. Because maps are created digitally, knowing how to edit them on a computer is essential.
Critical-thinking skills. Cartographers may work from existing maps, surveys, and other records, and they must be able to determine the accuracy of each feature being mapped.
Decisionmaking skills. Both cartographers and photogrammetrists must make decisions about the accuracy and readability of a map. They must decide what information they require in order to meet the client’s needs.
Detail oriented. Cartographers must focus on details when conceiving a map and deciding what features to include. Photogrammetrists must pay close attention to detail when interpreting aerial photographs and remotely sensed data.
Problem-solving skills. Cartographers and photogrammetrists must be able reconcile differences between aerial photographs, land surveys, and satellite images.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Cartographer||Telenav, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Oct 17, 2011||$80,000 -
|Cartographer||Telenav, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Jan 03, 2012||$80,000 -
|Cartographer||City of North Las Vegas||North Las Vegas, NV||Apr 01, 2010||$75,633|
|Cartographers and Photogrammeterists||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||May 30, 2012||$54,000|
|Cartographer||Blanton & Associates, Inc.||Austin, TX||May 09, 2016||$52,000|
|Cartographer||Development Seed Inc.||Washington, DC||Sep 14, 2013||$51,418|
|Cartographer||Development Seed Inc.||Washington, DC||Oct 01, 2012||$50,648|
|Cartographer||Blanton & Associates, Inc.||Austin, TX||Sep 05, 2013||$50,000|
|Cartographer||Dewberry & Davis LLC||Fairfax, VA||Feb 10, 2010||$49,338|
|Cartographer||Republic Property Group, Ltd.||Dallas, TX||Sep 11, 2014||$42,000|
Top Cartographer Skills
Geospatial Data, Autocad, NGA, Nima, Feature, Cartographic Products, Esri Arcgis, CAD, Arcview, Base MAP, Geographic Information, Hard Copy, Adobe Photoshop, Usgs, Topographic Maps, MAP Production, Digital Terrain, Intergraph, MAP Content, ARC GIS
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