Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics > Science and Mathematics

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Cartographers and Photogrammetrists include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 35.73% said they needed a Post-Secondary Certificate.

  • 30.02% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Wondering what Cartographers and Photogrammetrists REALLY do throughout a day at work? Perhaps you should know what you’ll be doing all day before pursuing a career. So here are some tasks that Cartographers and Photogrammetrists can be found doing during the work day. Hover over each task for information about relevance and importance. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that have similar tasks.

Essential Tasks

    Compile data required for map preparation, including aerial photographs, survey notes, records, reports, and original maps.

    Inspect final compositions to ensure completeness and accuracy.

    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.

    Collect information about specific features of the Earth, using aerial photography and other digital remote sensing techniques.

    Delineate aerial photographic detail, such as control points, hydrography, topography, and cultural features, using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments.

    Prepare and alter trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and three-dimensional optical models of terrain using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics equipment.

    Identify, scale, and orient geodetic points, elevations, and other planimetric or topographic features, applying standard mathematical formulas.

    Study legal records to establish boundaries of local, national, and international properties.

Regular Tasks

    Determine guidelines that specify which source material is acceptable for use.

    Build and update digital databases.

    Examine and analyze data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts.

    Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.

Occasional Tasks

    Travel over photographed areas to observe, identify, record, and verify all relevant features.

    Select aerial photographic and remote sensing techniques and plotting equipment needed to meet required standards of accuracy.

What Tools and Technologies do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists use?

The future of work is gonna be… techy🤖. No matter the career path, you’ll have to understand what the experts use to get the job done. Employers want to see practical experience with these tools and technologies. Use these lists to figure out what tools you need to learn and see trends about up and coming tech. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that use similar tools.


Windows servers

Video thermal imagers

Type lettering sets


Total stations



All Tools



Remote sensing equipment



Photogrammetric scanners

Photo enlargers

Personal computers

Panoramic digital line cameras

Notebook computers

Mapping grade global positioning system GPS receivers

Laser printers

Laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems

Large-format plotters

Large-format aerial digital cameras

Lamination systems

Global positioning system GPS receivers

Geodetic ground global positioning system GPS receivers

French curves

Film processors and editors

Drafting machines

Drafting instruments



Digital image printers

Digital camcorders

Computer servers


Color inkjet plotters

Color digital camera systems

Automatic levels

Analytical stereoplotters

Aerial imagery mapping-grade global positioning systems GPS


Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign

Bentley MicroStation

Computer aided design CAD software

Cosmo Software Cosmo World

Geographic information system GIS software

JavaScript Object Notation JSON

All Technologies

MultiGen Paradigm Vega Prime


Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Systems Adobe Flash Player

Aerotriangulation adjustment software

Aldus FreeHand

Arbor Image Draftsman

Autodesk World

Bentley Systems InRoads Suite

Boeing Kork Digital Mapping

Boeing SoftPlotter

Corporate Montage CADScript

Digital databases

Digital mapping software


ESRI ArcView

ESRI software

Geomechanical design analysis GDA software

Hexagon Intergraph

IBM iSeries Access

Image analysis software

Image processing software

Intergraph ImageStation Stereo Softcopy Kit SSK



Mapping software

Mapthematics GeoCart

Master Seafloor Digital Database

Microsoft operating system

Oracle software

Precision analytical aerotriangulation pugging software

Quark Immedia

Quark Xpress

Rand McNally World Digital Database


SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise

Software development tools

Standardized general markup language SGML

Steroplotter software

Terrasolid TerraScan

World Vector Shoreline

What Skills Do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Need to Have?

Let’s be real… take a look in the mirror! Do you have the what it takes to join the other Cartographers and Photogrammetrists? The Skills? The Ability to succeed? If so, and you enjoy using these skills, then this job is for you. If not, GOOD NEWS, you can always pick up a new skill if you’re willing to put in the effort 💪


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


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.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Everything Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Should Know…

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists typically have vast knowledge of the subjects below. Think about this a lot… if you’re not a fan of the subjects, chances are this career isn’t for you. But, there’s plenty of time to learn and continue to learn throughout your career 🎓



Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Computers and Electronics

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Real People, Real Stories

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