In Summary - Cartographer
The Work - Cartographer
Cartographers design and prepare maps, plans, charts, models and globes that represent the surface of the Earth or other planets. They collect and use data from a range of sources such as:
- Aerial photographs
- Images produced by electrostatic mapping and seismic sensing
- Existing maps and statistics
Generally map making comprises the following skills:
- Photogrammetry - The interpretation of aerial photographs
- Field Survey - Investigation on the Ground or by Flight Crews
- Graphics - Creation of maps
- Spatial Data Management - Maintenance of Mapping Database and production of Large Scale Products
- Geodesy - the science of where we are in the world
- Cartography Design - Production of Maps mainly for the Tourist and Leisure Market or Special Requests
- Geographic Information Systems - GPS and Geographic products like OSI/An Post's Address Database
Cartographers analyse and interpret information from a range of sources and prepare reports. The cartographer evaluates this data and specifies lines, tones and symbols for a cartographic draughtsperson to use to produce maps and charts.
As well as preparing new maps, cartographers change existing maps. Cartographers deal with a range of mapping projects. They may prepare maps showing population distribution, the layout of ancient cities or even the Moon's surface and they may specialise in areas such as topographical maps. The type of map depends on the employer's or customer's requirements. The mapping database at Ordnance Survey Ireland is entirely electronic and Field Revisers use digital tablets to record changes in the topographic structure.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Determine map content and layout, as well as production specifications such as scale, size, projection, and colors, and direct production to ensure that specifications are followed.
- Inspect final compositions to ensure completeness and accuracy.
- Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.
- Compile data required for map preparation, including aerial photographs, survey notes, records, reports, and original maps.
- Prepare and alter trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and three-dimensional optical models of terrain using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics equipment.
- Delineate aerial photographic detail such as control points, hydrography, topography, and cultural features using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments.
- Build and update digital databases.
- Examine and analyze data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts.
- Identify, scale, and orient geodetic points, elevations, and other planimetric or topographic features, applying standard mathematical formulas.
- Determine guidelines that specify which source material is acceptable for use.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Interests - Cartographer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
As a cartographer you need to have patience, as it may take many months to complete a single sheet map. You need a sense of design, an interest in geography and ability in mathematics. They need the knowledge and interest in symbols with the ability to visualise the world in an abstract and scaled down form. A flare for Maths and Science is favourable to this job, with attention to detail and neat work also desirable.
Travel is quite popular within this profession to get information.
Entry Requirements - Cartographer
A degree in Geography, Geomatics, Earth Sciences, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Marine Science.
Courses in surveying and measurement or drafting are also useful.
Postgraduate qualifications are valuable in this competitive field.
Last Updated: August, 2015
Pay & Salary - Cartographer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 50k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.