Cartographer and Photogrammetrist

A cartographer and photogrammetrist interprets, collects, and measures geographic data...

Cartographer and Photogrammetrist

What does a Cartographer and Photogrammetrist do?

Median Pay $62,750
Growth Rate 29%
Citation Retrieved in 2017 from

A cartographer and photogrammetrist interprets, collects, and measures geographic data. They create user-friendly maps and update charts and maps for education and regional planning. Photogrammetrist’s specialize in using satellite images, aerial photographs, light imaging detection, and ranging technology to build models of the Earth’s surface and it’s features in order to create maps.

How to Become a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist


A cartographer and photogrammetrist typically hold a bachelor’s degree in geomatics, cartography, geography, or surveying. Less common are those with a bachelor’s degree in forestry, computer science, or engineering.

Courses in GIS technology, computer programming, geography, math, engineering, and surveying are becoming increasingly necessary. He or she must also know web-based mapping technologies, along with newer modes of collecting data that use positioning capabilities of car navigation and mobile phone systems. They must be familiar with the software and tools used for image processing, light imaging detection, and remote sensing and ranging (LIDAR) technology.

A cartographer and photogrammetrist may be required to be licensed as surveyors. However, each state may vary and all would require a minimum of a high school diploma and passing a test. One can also become certified from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), but must meet required education and experience along with passing an exam. This certification would be advantageous for employment opportunity as it demonstrates competence, although this certification is not a requirement.

It is also helpful to have an internship while in school. High school students aspiring to this career field should take classes in algebra, trigonometry, geometry, computer science, and drafting.

Job Description of a Cartographer and Photogrammetrist

A cartographer compiles geographic data and prepares maps in graphic or digital form for educational and environmental purposes. They create visual representations of data, like, annual precipitation patterns and collects information from aerial photographs, reports, satellite images, and ground surveys.

A cartographer would update and make necessary changes from existing charts and maps. Whereas a photogrammetrist would compile and analyze spatial data like distance and elevation. When an area comes into question, he or she plans satellite and aerial surveys to be sure of complete coverage of that location. Photogrammetrists also create base maps that provides geographic information systems (GIS) data to be layered on top.

A cartographer and photogrammetrist uses data from geodetic surveys and remote sensing systems along with satellites and aerial cameras. He or she may also use (LIDAR) technology. These systems use lasers attached to cars or planes to digitally map the topography of the earth and even the location and density of forest canopies.

A cartographer and photogrammetrist create maps and provide aerial surveys to governments to help with regional and urban planning which may have information on population density and demographic characteristics. Some government agencies require maps for work involving national security and public safety, as well as accurate maps to assist with emergency responders.

A cartographer using GIS technology to create maps is also known as a geographic information specialist because their maps provide support for decisions involving business and marketing, geology, engineering, environmental studies, and land-use planning.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists spend lots of time in an office. However, certain jobs may require extensive travel to locations that are in the process of being mapped.

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