Cartography is a profession that has been in existence since the early centuries, this is evidenced by the presence of maps of countries, locations and cities that existed before some of us were even born.
The presence of technology has made the field of cartography advance so much that you would require a knowledge of geography, design and the use of specific Softwares to become successful in this field.
Job Profile For Cartographers
Cartography involves using scientific, technological and artistic skills in developing and producing maps. People who work as cartographers try to present complex information in simplified forms using diagrams, charts and appropriate indicators that can be understood by people who read maps.
There are a lot of reasons why people request the services of a cartographer, it could be for everyday use when carrying out a large-scale industrial development, to determine landmarks and boundaries between states, cities and countries e.t.c. In recent times there are geographical information systems and digital mapping techniques which are used to make the process for designs easier and faster.
Work schedules usually follow normal working hours 9-5 pm with the need to work for longer hours when there is a need to complete project deadlines.
Most times because there is no specific degree for cartography, you would receive on the job training for a better understanding of your requirements and responsibilities. While carrying out different projects, it is important that you create a portfolio which prospective clients can look view for your previous designs.
Job Description For Cartographers
As Cartographer, your daily activities would involve;
- research and then decide on what details would appear on a map
- design maps, graphics, illustrations and layouts
- enhance information through the use of colour, symbols and style
- compile and produce graphs on computers for specialist and general users
- research, select and evaluate map source data for use in the preparation or revision of maps and charts to various scales
- Speak to clients for specifications and other unique requirements that should be included in the map
- operate a photogrammetric plotting instrument or a digital photogrammetric workstation (DPW), which views the photographs stereoscopically, or in a 3D format
- design, maintain and manipulate geographical information databases
- work with geographical information systems to see, model and analyse landscape features
- use desktop publishing packages to edit and formulate information
- capture, maintain and output digital geographic data
- generalise map data to allow for a reduction in scale
- Ensure the accuracy and validity of all designs and maps.
What Skill Should I Have To Work In As A Cartographer?
Some of the relevant skills for a successful career as a cartographer includes;
- Organizational Skills
- Good knowledge of geology, geography and the environment to be mapped
- A great eye for design and spatial awareness
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to interpret data, graphical representations and symbols
- Great attention to details
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Software skills with appropriate software programs
Where Can I Work As A Cartographer?
Working as a cartographer can be an exciting career especially when working in different positions as your experience increases some of the sectors where you would work includes
- Ministry of Land and Works
- Utility companies
- Oil and Gas Companies
- Land and survey companies
- Planning and environmental consultancies
- Urban and regional planning organisations
What Steps Can I Take To Become A Cartographer?
A degree in geology, geoscience, geoinformatics, quantity surveying, design, computer science, software engineering can be useful in getting your first job as a cartographer. However, there be training on;
- compiling maps
- designing and layout of maps
- map production using appropriate tools
during your first few years as a graduate trainee.