Introduction to Cartography Mapmaking

Introduction to cartography

Cartography in view

Cartography or mapmaking is the study and practice of making maps.

The traditional analogue methods of map-making have been replaced by digital systems capable of producing dynamic interactive maps that can be manipulated digitally.

Duties of a cartographer

The work performed by cartographic technicians ensures that maps, diagrams, and data are of high quality and value to studies, land surveys, or development planning.

Some cartographic technicians operate surveying equipment and use surveying technology to collect accurate data for mapmakers to use when creating maps.

They collect primary data, including describing land boundaries and small, unique landmarks.

Once primary data is collected, someone needs to gather that information and wrangle it into a useable form for the mapmakers.

This usually falls to a cartographic technician who specializes in working with geographic information systems; the data collected is verified and then entered so that each piece of data is tied to a specific place on a map. 

Cartography technicians use GIS technology to assemble, integrate, and display data about a particular location in a digital format.

They also use GIS technology to compile information from a variety of sources. GIS technicians also maintain and update databases for GIS devices.

Qualifications of cartographer

Training is more common among cartography mapping technicians where an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as geomatics, geography or engineering is beneficial.

Good knowledge in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer science, Knowledge of these subjects will help in finding a job and in advance.

Cartography technicians learn their job duties under the supervision of a surveyor or a surveying party chief. 

With experience, they help to decide where and how to measure the land. During training, technicians learn how maps are created and stored in databases.

Technicians in cartography must be precise and accurate in their work. Their results are often entered into legal records.

Technicians work outdoors and must communicate with supervisors and other team members across distances. Following spoken instructions from the party chief/supervisor is crucial for saving time and preventing errors.


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