Who is a Cartographer?
Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible ~ Mark Jenkins
How fascinating it is to represent the whole world on just a piece of paper or a sphere. With the help of maps, we are able to represent the real world on a much smaller scale. It is the maps that help us travel from one location to another. Maps help us figure out where we are and how to get where we want to go. And most importantly, maps are possible because cartographers made them possible. Without cartographers, google maps would have been nothing but an incomplete dream. The reason why we are able to analyse the distance and route between two destinations is that we have maps to help us figure it out for us. Also, without cartographers, forget about the cab facilities that have now become an integral part of our lives. So, if you think you have an interest in maps and solving puzzles, along with combining and designing with appropriate geographical skills then you can consider becoming a cartographer.
Cartographer in a Nutshell
A cartographer is someone who makes maps. But, cartography is not just limited to maps, it is about a mixture of art, science, and technology. As a cartographer, not only you will create maps but use various geodetic surveys and remote sensing systems to measure, analyse, and create different maps for political, cultural or educational purposes.
Quick Facts for Cartographer
Average Salary in India
A career as a cartographer preferable for anybody who wants to pursue his/her career in cartography. Both men and women can work as cartographers, it is suitable for all. If a person has the required skillsets and the right attitude, then there is no stopping.
Any special needs
Anyone with strong critical and analytical reasoning skills can have a career as a cartographer. There are no limitations to choose cartography as a career. Cartography is a desk job that can be done remotely without any physical movement and external efforts. Hence, the job is a perfect fit for anyone who is specially-abled.
Table of Contents for Cartographer
What is the role of Cartographer?
As a cartographer, one is required to collect and analyse geographical data such as population density, demographic characteristics, and precipitation patterns. A cartographer analyses and collects data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare thematic maps. In addition to this, a cartographer also prepares thematic maps in digital or graphic form to be used for social, environmental, political, business, educational, and design purposes. Cartographers are involved with different aspects of map-making such as scientific, technological, and artistic. As a cartographer, one is required to represent complex information in the form of diagrams, pie charts, and spreadsheets, as well as in the form of conventional maps. So how to become a cartographer and what does it take to become one?
Cartographers are required to undertake various physical aspects into consideration before beginning the map designing. During research, they are responsible for developing various processes and diagnosing methodologies in order to excel the scope of cartography for the particular section. Developing is one of the most crucial parts of their job and responsibilities whether it’s developing methodologies, procedures, samples, and other such things.
One of the most important parts of the cartographers’ job includes studying the project they are working on. They are required to constantly study and remain updated at each and every step of the project. They are responsible for studying the project, it’s scope in land development, limitations, efficiency that the project exhibits, and the consequences related to the project. From beginning to end of the project, they are required to analyse each and every aspect of the research and ensure the resources utilized in the project are optimized at its best.
Cartographers are required to consult different professionals including other cartographers in order to meet certain requirements of the project they’re working on. For instance, political cartographers are required to meet and consult several research scientists working on the same project as them. The cultural cartographers are required to consult translators, language experts and professors in order to gain detailed information regarding the history or evolution of a particular language for a particular section of the society.
Another important job of a cartographer involves teaching and guiding students with their interests and research around cartography. Various cartographers work as professors in universities guiding students with the in-depth knowledge and understanding of cartography as a subject and further its application in career development. They also teach and train students interested in becoming cartographers. The cartography professors teach various subjects such as political cartography, physical cartography, cultural cartography, and educational cartography.
Types of a Cartographer
Geographer: A geographer is a professional who studies the earth and its land, features, and inhabitants. A geographer is also responsible for examining phenomena such as political or cultural structures as they relate to geography. He/she studies the physical or human geographic characteristics or both of a region, ranging in scale from local to global. Some geographers choose to do fieldwork, which may include travel to foreign countries or remote locations.
Cartographer: Cartographers can be termed as researchers who study human language, culture, societies, biological and material remains, the biology and behaviour of primates. Cartography can be categorised into four major fields: biological cartography, cultural cartography, linguistic cartography, and archaeology.
What is the workplace/work environment of Cartographer like?
A career as a cartographer is very fickle. The work of cartographers depends on the specific job. Although most cartographers work in offices, some collect and analyse samples in laboratories or work in the field. Cartographers often work for cultural resource management firms. They often do fieldwork, either in the United States or in foreign countries. During fieldwork, cartographers are expected to live with the people they study to know about their culture. The roles and responsibilities can involve irregular or sturdy living conditions and demanding physical exertion.
Does Cartographer require travelling?
In a career as cartographer, when doing fieldwork, cartographers may be required to travel and to work for several irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. They may travel around the world to uncover artifacts to aid in their research. The chances of cartographers traveling around is moderate.
Full Time, Part Time
In a career as a cartographer, those who work independently work according to their own timings as they do not have fixed work hours. Whereas, full-time cartographers work eight to nine hours a day with weekends off. Some also work on an hourly basis or work from home. They are usually consultants or work on a freelance basis.
A career as cartographer involves working on contractual as well as permanent basis. Cartographers might be required to work in certain shifts. The one working for a particular organisation or industry usually works for 9 hours which regards for regular shifts. Cartographers who work as a professor in universities also work from nine in the morning to five in the evening. However, the cartographers who are into the research field have very arduous conditions.
Laboratory, Office, universities
Those who work as a teacher and trainer spend their time in universities. Those who work for a particular organisation or company are required to work in offices. And those who are research-based employees are required to work in fields depending on the requirement of their work.
Presence in Geographical Area
In a career as cartographer, there are several opportunities that geology students can choose. The major job profile for cartographers is teaching in educational institutes which are located in almost every tier-1 and tier-2 cities in India. The other options are to make it to organisations such as art galleries, curators, publishing houses, NGOs, archives, libraries which can also be found in almost every city in India. Cartographers are usually located in urban areas where there are various students interested in studying cartography or geology or earth sciences.
The work pressure in a career as cartographers is considered moderate. Cartographers usually work indoors in labs conducting their research and preparing designs for a particular project field. They are usually required to work at least 40 hours per week. They may sometimes work irregular hours to monitor experiments that can't be completed during regular working hours.
Cartographers are usually required to work at least 40 hours per week. Sometimes, when the work pressure is more and they are required to accomplish a project in less time, their working hours may extend to 45-50 hours per week. They may also be required to work in day, evening, or night shifts, if working in production.
Weekly Hours of Work
Min 45 Hours
Cartographers usually work for around 45 hours a week. Work hours can increase depending on the nature of the work or the project. If there is a deadline to be met for a company, cartographers sometimes work extra hours. Cartographers work overtime, depending upon the roles and responsibilities they’re required to work for.
How to become a Cartographer?
What are the skills and qualities required to become a/an Cartographer?
Curiosity: Curiosity is one of the most crucial skills required for the candidates to excel as a cartographer. There are various sections of human society that work towards the evolution of human races ranging from socio cultural factors to economic, and biological factors. In order to understand and conquer the research in the relevant field, it’s important for cartographers to be curious enough to know and understand a certain factor responsible for the development of mankind. One must possess the curiosity to understand the different culture and diversity.
Vision: Cartographers should possess a wide perspective towards the inscrutable world of variation. Cartographers are required to conduct various research across a wide range of geographical topics. They are required to have a wide perspective in order to ensure the efficiency of the project and the various sectors its scope works on. They must be able to visualise various conclusions available for a particular project in order to decide whether to go about a particular project or not.
Creativity: Cartographer is a profession that demands one to be creative and exhibit it in his/her work. The power of imagination is what one needs to succeed in this field. The ability to visualise a project, the capability to be open to new ideas or ways of looking at things, curiosity to envision the potential in a place, the ability to imagine multiple scenarios, and most importantly, the ability to think three dimensionally. These are few creative skills that one need to acquire in order to become a sage cartographer.
Managerial skill: A cartographer is responsible for control, plan, and manage the overall strategy while working on any project. Therefore, one must be profound in planning and managing the complete process from starting to the end. As a cartographer, one must be able to plan and create an effective strategy, should have decision making skills, leadership quality, problem solving skills, should know how to manage time, how to control and motivate the team while leading them.
Organising skills: In addition to these, one must have excellent organisational skills i.e. one should be able to allocate and arrange resources for the successful implementation of the plan. It is one of the important managerial skills. It helps them to determine the list of pending tasks, combine them into jobs, and group the jobs into units giving a form to the organisation’s structure.
An eye for detail: As a cartographer, the job needs one to be precise and detail-oriented towards the work at hand. This skill helps one to notice small but important details that others might not notice. It is helpful to have an eye for detail while building a house. Paying attention to details is a skill that needs to be acquired and just like other skills, it requires diligent practice.
Analytical Skills: One must understand the concept of designs and must be able to provide solutions to unanticipated challenges. A cartographer must be able to collect and analyse the information. Analytical skills are important while detecting patterns, integrating new information, theorising, and making decisions based on multiple factors and options available. It helps them to evaluate information and then make decisions that help solve problems. These skills might sound technical but these skills are used in everyday work.
Communication skills: Being able to communicate properly not only helps professionally but also personally. Communication skills are what one needs to speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact. It ensures that one is able to manage interactions, businesses and organisations. Having strong analytical skills is worthless if one cannot share his/her analysis with others. As a cartographer, one must be an effective communicator who can explain the patterns that they observe in things around them. Sometimes, a cartographer would be required to explain information orally in a meeting or presentation. Other times, one might be required to write a report. Hence, lacking communication skills is non-negotiable.
Also read - Career as GIS Expert
Which certifications and internships can be helpful in becoming Cartographer?
We have mentioned below several certificate courses that aspiring individuals may opt to upgrade their skills.
Cartography apprenticeships are most appropriate for starting a career as a cartographer. There are various geographical or cartographical companies involved in construction that offer a variety of cartography apprenticeships to the candidates studying earth science, Geographic Information Technologies, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Geography and Geology, Geomatics and Geoinformatics and Land Surveying. To be considered for an intern position, candidates are required to be studying for a Master's, Bachelor's level of geosciences engineering degree or geoscience engineering courses. A candidate must possess a genuine interest in engineering design related to environmental engineering. Candidates must possess strong interpersonal skills, effective in both verbal and written communication.
Career Path Progression for Cartographer
Cartographer intern: Cartographer interns are required to be studying for a Master's, Bachelor's level of geosciences engineering degree or geoscience engineering courses. A cartographer intern must possess genuine interest in engineering design related to environmental engineering. As a cartographer intern, they are required to represent complex information in the form of diagrams, pie charts, and spreadsheets, as well as in the form of conventional maps.
Junior cartographer: After directly graduating from the relevant engineering field, he/she can start working as a junior cartographer in any of the various organisations. As a cartographer, you’ll collect and analyse geographical data such as population density, demographic characteristics, and precipitation patterns. A cartographer analyses and collects data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare thematic maps.
Senior cartographer: Cartographers might spend most of their time working in office or they might be required to typically do some fieldwork in order to collect and verify data used in creating maps. A cartographer is responsible to control, plan, and manage the overall strategy while working on any project. Therefore, one must be profound in planning and managing the complete process from starting to the end. As a cartographer, one must be able to plan and create an effective strategy, should have decision making skills, leadership quality, problem solving skills, should know how to manage time, how to control and motivate the team while leading them.
Cartographer Jobs and Salaries
- Average Salary 10000
- Junior Level Salary 5000
- Senior Level Salary 15000
Cartographer interns are required to be studying for a Master's, Bachelor's level of geosciences engineering degree or geoscience engineering courses. A cartographer intern must possess genuine interest in engineering design related to environmental engineering. As a cartographer intern, they are required to represent complex information in the form of diagrams, pie charts, and spreadsheets, as well as in the form of conventional maps.
For entry-level positions, cartographer interns can expect an average total compensation of Rs. 5,000 per month. Interns studying Masters can expect a salary of Rs. 10,000 per month. The top-level salary for a cartographer intern is Rs. 15,000 per month.
- Average Salary 30000
- Junior Level Salary 20000
- Senior Level Salary 45000
After directly graduating from the relevant engineering field, he/she can start working as a junior cartographer in any of the various organisations. As a cartographer, you’ll collect and analyse geographical data such as population density, demographic characteristics, and precipitation patterns. A cartographer analyses and collects data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare thematic maps.
The average total compensation offered to an entry-level junior cartographer is somewhere between Rs. 20,000 per month. The average salary for junior cartographer after gaining some experience in the industry is expected between Rs. 30,000 per month. The top-level salary for a junior cartographer is somewhere around Rs. 45,000 per month which includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Average Salary 45000
- Junior Level Salary 30000
- Senior Level Salary 90000
Cartographers might spend most of their time working in an office or they might be required to typically do some fieldwork in order to collect and verify data used in creating maps. A cartographer is responsible to control, plan, and manage the overall strategy while working on any project. Therefore, one must be profound in planning and managing the complete process from starting to the end. As a cartographer, one must be able to plan and create an effective strategy, should have decision-making skills, leadership quality, problem-solving skills, should know how to manage time, how to control and motivate the team while leading them.
The average total compensation offered to an entry-level senior cartographer is somewhere between Rs. 30,000 per month. The average salary for senior cartographer after gaining some experience in the industry is expected between Rs. 45,000 per month. The top-level salary for a senior cartographer is somewhere around Rs. 90,000 per month which includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay.
What is the job outlook for Cartographer?
A cartographer can find good employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Candidates in geoscience and geology courses or civil engineering have seen exponential growth of upto 24 per cent in employment during the past decade, over and above its reported total. This results in making civil engineering the biggest employment hub in the sector. As a cartographer, one can find diverse career options in several government agencies at all levels. It’s important to get related work experience and one can start while still a student by attending open days at various construction facilities organised by different national laboratories and research centers to witness what the work’s like and to talk to employees. Another way to gain experience would be to join a research site as part of an industrial placement for one’s degree. Other than formal placements, part-time work is not usually available during the various relevant engineering degrees. However, one may be able to gain experience or part-time work with the offshore construction side of a large research project construction organisation that is involved in the industry, which would provide an advantage later on. All the geological and geosciences companies will expect their employees to keep up with new development.
Frequently Asked Questions for Cartographer
Que. What does a cartographer do on a daily basis?Ans.
As a cartographer, one is required to collect and analyse geographical data such as population density, demographic characteristics, and precipitation patterns. A cartographer analyses and collects data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs and satellite images to prepare thematic maps. In addition to this, a cartographer also prepares thematic maps in digital or graphic form to be used for social, environmental, political, business, educational, and design purposes.
Que. What hours does a cartographer work?Ans.
Cartographers who work on the field do not limit to the usual 9 to 5 a.m. as they require to travel and explore more. Many cartographers work full-time in classrooms, universities and offices don’t work beyond the prescribed number of hours.
Que. Where do cartographers work?Ans.
Depending on the kind of job they are assigned, they work in large corporations such as Intel and GM or studying primates in Africa. They also work in deserts, cities, schools, even in underwater geology sites.
Que. What jobs can you get with a degree in geology or earth sciences?Ans.
After studying geology or earth science engineering, students can choose to become cartographer, curator, GIS expert, geographer,and other such jobs.
Que. Is there a demand for cartographers?Ans.
Employment of cartographers and curators is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
Que. What are the top masters degree one can pursue in order to become a cartographer?Ans.
M.E./M.Tech. Geotechnical Engineering (PG course)
Geographic information technologies
Geographical information systems (GIS)
Geography and geology
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