Cartography Training Programs and Requirements

Cartography is the process of making maps; cartographers collect and analyze data to create visual simulations of land areas. Cartography training programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools and universities at the certificate and degree levels.

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Essential Information

Cartography certificate programs are widely available and only require about two academic semesters to complete. On-the-job training is common, and cartographers can be officially licensed by the state in which they work. Due to the specialized nature of this job and recent developments in digital technology, it is becoming increasingly common for a prospective cartographer to hold a 4-year degree in applied geography or a related field. Some bachelor's and master's degree programs in applied geography, a related field, are also available for the aspiring cartographer.

Cartography Certificate

A cartography certificate may be a good option for students unable to commit to a full-time degree program. Certificate program subject courses include:

  • Map design
  • Computer mapping
  • Geographic information systems

Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Geography

A Bachelor of Science degree program in applied geography introduces students to a number of topics in the field. Courses often cover the following:

  • Map-air photo analysis
  • Remote sensing
  • Cartography graphics
  • Chemistry, mathematics and other general courses

Master of Applied Geography

A Master of Applied Geography is a 2-year graduate degree program that can include the opportunity to concentrate in cartography. MAG programs may introduce students to advanced cartography subjects, such as location analysis and advanced cartographic design. Master's degree students may engage in supervised internships while studying.

Continuing Education

Universities often offer workshops for cartographers. Because much of modern cartography involves the use of technology, seminars may address recent technological advances in the field. Cartographers must stay up-to-date with regards to the latest computer software and tools available. Some workshops also address ways in which cartography costs can be contained.

Continuing education courses are available to cartographers in topics such as CAD, GIS and GPS software. Cartographers who are interested in an academic or scholarly career may choose to pursue a doctoral degree in applied geography or a related field.

Aspiring cartographers can pursue a certificate, bachelor's, or master's degree, usually in applied geography. Students will learn about computer mapping, remote sensing, and other technology that will most likely require continuing education through seminars and workshops.

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