What They 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.
Work Environment: cartographers and photogrammetrists spend much of their time in offices, certain jobs require extensive travel to locations that are being mapped.
How to Become One: Most cartographers and photogrammetrists need a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, or surveying.
Salary: The median annual wage for cartographers and photogrammetrists is $68,380.
Job Outlook: Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job prospects are likely to be excellent due to the increasing use of maps in government planning.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of cartographers and photogrammetrists with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as a cartographer or photogrammetrist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Cartographer (Mid) Job Description Designs and develops geospatial, imagery, full-motion video or remote sensing solutions to solve problems and create products in areas such as national security ...
Perform cartographic finishing, feature extraction, and data content management to customer data standards and in accordance with project specific guidance. Manage a geospatial database. Perform QA/Q ...
INCATech is searching for a Cartographer /Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Solutions Engineer to support a program at the Department of State. This position will work with analysts, researchers ...
Is seeking a talented and organized Certified Photogrammetrist professional to join our Geomatic Technologies Team. The candidate must possess a strong background in aerotriangulation ...
We have an opening for a Photogrammetry Engineer. Description This position will provide Photogrammetry Engineering support to the System Analysis Branch (EV74) for the Space Launch System (SLS ...
We are seeking a highly motivated LiDAR and Photogrammetry Data Processor. The selected candidate will support the firm's Director of Remote Sensing.The successful candidate will be processing ...
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 typically do the following:
Photogrammetrists typically do the following:
Cartographers are mapmakers who design user-friendly maps. Photogrammetrists are specialized mapmakers who use various technologies to build models of the Earth's surface and its features for the purpose of creating maps.
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 forests.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists often develop online and mobile maps. Interactive maps are popular, 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 maps help emergency responders provide assistance as quickly as possible.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists who use GIS technology to create maps are often known as geographic information specialists. 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 data. These maps are used to provide support for decisions involving environmental studies, geology, engineering, land-use planning, and business marketing.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists hold about 12,000 jobs. The largest employers of cartographers and photogrammetrists are as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||34%|
|Architectural, engineering, and related services||24%|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||6%|
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||4%|
Although cartographers and photogrammetrists spend much of their time in offices, certain jobs require extensive fieldwork to collect data and verify results. For example, cartographers may travel to the physical locations they are mapping to better understand the topography of the region. Similarly, photogrammetrists may conduct fieldwork to plan for aerial surveys and to validate interpretations.
Most cartographers and photogrammetrists work full time. They may have longer workdays during fieldwork.
Get the education you need: Find schools for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists near you!
Most cartographers and photogrammetrists need a bachelor's degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, or surveying. 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.
The growing use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has resulted in cartographers and photogrammetrists requiring 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.
Licensing requirements for cartographers and photogrammetrists vary by state. Some states require cartographers and photogrammetrists to be licensed as surveyors, and some states have specific licenses for photogrammetry and remote sensing. Although licensing requirements vary by state, candidates must meet educational requirements and pass a test.
Cartographers and photogrammetrists may also receive certification from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation offers certifications for GIS professionals. Candidates must meet experience and education requirements and must pass an exam. Although certifications are not required, they 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. Maps are created digitally, so 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 to reconcile differences between aerial photographs, land surveys, and satellite images.
The median annual wage for cartographers and photogrammetrists is $68,380. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,980, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,890.
The median annual wages for cartographers and photogrammetrists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$66,270|
|State government, excluding education and hospitals||$65,860|
|Management, scientific, and technical consulting services||$64,270|
|Architectural, engineering, and related services||$62,760|
Most cartographers and photogrammetrists work full time. They may have longer workdays during fieldwork.
Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The use of maps for government planning should lead to some employment growth. Cartographers and photogrammetrists also will be needed to map and locate areas that require help during natural disasters, often using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). However, GIS-related technology increases these workers’ productivity, which may reduce employment growth in this occupation.
Job prospects are likely to be excellent due to the increasing use of maps in government planning.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2019||Projected Employment, 2029||Change, 2019-29|
|Cartographers and photogrammetrists||12,000||12,500||4||500|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.