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Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

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What You Need to Know About Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

Job Description: Collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data. Research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, political, educational, and design purposes. May work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). May design and evaluate algorithms, data structures, and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems.

What Do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • 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.
  • Study legal records to establish boundaries of local, national, and international properties.
  • Identify, scale, and orient geodetic points, elevations, and other planimetric or topographic features, applying standard mathematical formulas.
  • Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.
  • Examine and analyze data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts.
  • Inspect final compositions to ensure completeness and accuracy.

Qualities of a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

When polled, Cartographers and Photogrammetrists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Photogrammetric Engineer
  • Photo Cartographer
  • Map Editor
  • LiDAR Technician (Light Detection and Ranging Technician)
  • Field Map Editor

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Employment Estimates

There were about 12,600 jobs for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,400 new jobs for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist are Colorado, Oregon, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Mississippi, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Salary

The salary for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists ranges between about $40,960 and $101,400 a year.

Salary Ranges for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists who work in New Jersey, California, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

How much do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $65,660
Alaska $67,920
Arizona $66,830
Arkansas $52,480
California $84,540
Colorado $73,150
Connecticut $72,270
Florida $62,160
Georgia $54,620
Hawaii $67,670
Idaho $56,350
Illinois $77,070
Indiana $57,420
Kansas $58,710
Kentucky $70,060
Louisiana $71,480
Maine $67,460
Maryland $79,440
Massachusetts $73,290
Michigan $65,610
Minnesota $71,070
Mississippi $58,840
Missouri $64,270
Montana $52,130
Nebraska $68,150
Nevada $75,300
New Hampshire $53,990
New Jersey $84,120
New Mexico $69,250
New York $78,780
North Carolina $56,530
Ohio $70,550
Oklahoma $56,250
Oregon $64,290
Pennsylvania $63,360
South Carolina $53,020
South Dakota $55,310
Tennessee $58,380
Texas $64,620
Utah $57,310
Vermont $62,940
Virginia $81,750
Washington $81,620
West Virginia $55,030
Wisconsin $64,490
Wyoming $57,110

What Tools do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Cartographers and Photogrammetrists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Extensible markup language XML

How to Become a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

Individuals working as a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist have obtained the following education levels:

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Work Experience

Where Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Work

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Sectors

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists work in the following industries:

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Industries


Image Credit: Couleur via public domain (CC0)

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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