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Become A Photogrammetrist

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Working As A Photogrammetrist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Photogrammetrist Do

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.

Duties

Cartographers typically do the following:

  • Collect geographic data
  • Create visual representations of data, such as annual precipitation patterns
  • Examine and compile data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images
  • Prepare maps in digital or graphic form for environmental and educational purposes
  • Update and revise existing maps and charts

Photogrammetrists typically do the following:

  • Plan aerial and satellite surveys to ensure complete coverage of the area in question
  • Collect and analyze spatial data, such as elevation and distance
  • Develop base maps that allow geographic information system (GIS) data to be layered on top

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.

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How To Become A Photogrammetrist

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.

Education

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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.

Important Qualities

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.

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Photogrammetrist Typical Career Paths

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Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
Show Salaries
$37,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$173,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Sanborn
Highest Paying City
Aurora, CO
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
6.4 years
How much does a Photogrammetrist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Photogrammetrist in the United States is $80,993 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $173,000.

Real Photogrammetrist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Photogrammetrist HJW Geospatial Inc. Oakland, CA Sep 14, 2009 $90,000
Photogrammetrist Towill, Inc. Concord, CA Oct 01, 2012 $85,280
Cheif Photogrammetrist Visual Intelligence, LP Houston, TX Jan 04, 2013 $84,000
Lead Photogrammetrist/Lidar Merrick & Company Aurora, CO Sep 10, 2012 $83,414
Industrial Photogrammetrist Geodetic Services, Inc. Melbourne, FL Jul 30, 2014 $75,000
Photogrammetrist KMA Consulting Engineers, Inc. Cherry Hill, NJ Feb 27, 2015 $72,363
Chief Photogrammetrist The Sanborn Map Co., Inc. Colorado Springs, CO Sep 07, 2011 $65,957 -
$95,957
Photogrammetrist KMA Consulting Engineers, Inc. Cherry Hill, NJ Sep 23, 2015 $62,932
Industrial Photogrammetrist Geodetic Services Melbourne, FL Nov 16, 2012 $60,000
Industrial Photogrammetrist Geodetic Services, Inc. Melbourne, FL Dec 09, 2010 $59,051
Photogrammetrist II Merrick & Company Aurora, CO Jul 01, 2011 $58,510
Digital Photogrammetrist Geospatial Professional Solutions, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Oct 01, 2011 $57,500

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Top Skills for A Photogrammetrist

  1. Aerial Photographs
  2. Flight Planning
  3. Autocad Systems
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Flight planning, aerial photo and data evaluation.
  • Analyzed and processed LIDAR data of specific areas of surveyed land.
  • Computed volume calculations using Terramodel and Intergraph software.
  • Designed AutoCAD drawings for helicopter technicians charting electrical layouts of aircraft.
  • Applied ArcInfo software to perform GIS mapping.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Photogrammetrists

  1. Colorado
  2. Nebraska
  3. Vermont
  4. Utah
  5. North Dakota
  6. Tennessee
  7. Montana
  8. South Dakota
  9. Minnesota
  10. Wyoming
  • (57 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Photogrammetrist Demographics

Gender

Male

73.4%

Female

19.0%

Unknown

7.6%
Ethnicity

White

65.3%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.6%

Greek

11.1%

Dutch

11.1%

Filipino

11.1%

Italian

11.1%
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Photogrammetrist Education

Schools

Ohio State University

11.1%

University of Maine

11.1%

Pennsylvania State University

7.4%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

7.4%

Oregon State University

7.4%

Missouri State University

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.7%

Brown University

3.7%

Michigan Technological University

3.7%

San Antonio College

3.7%

University of Southern Maine

3.7%

Kansas State University

3.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.7%

University of Washington

3.7%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.7%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

3.7%

University of Houston

3.7%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.7%

More Tech Institute

3.7%

Lincoln Land Community College

3.7%
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Majors

Geography

35.0%

Computer Science

10.0%

Geology

8.3%

Business

6.7%

Computer Information Systems

3.3%

Surveying Engineering

3.3%

Classical And Ancient Studies

3.3%

Human Development

3.3%

Graphic Design

3.3%

English

3.3%

Information Technology

3.3%

Civil Engineering

3.3%

Science, Technology, And Society

1.7%

Management

1.7%

Information Sciences

1.7%

Surveying, Mapping, And Hydraulic Technologies

1.7%

Forestry

1.7%

Political Science

1.7%

Management Information Systems

1.7%

Mathematics

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.2%

Masters

22.9%

Other

19.3%

Certificate

6.0%

Associate

4.8%

Doctorate

4.8%
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