Cartography Degree: What to expect?

Cartography is the study of the earth’s surface and the science behind mapmaking. If you get lost heading to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, then this might not be the job for you. That’s because the maps created through cartography are complex, showing more than how to get from here to there. Think Google Earth and you’ll have a better idea of the altitude, land formations, and geography included in these maps.

Knowing that, you still want to become a Mapmaker? Then read on to find out what to expect.


Most employers require a college degree to jumpstart your cartography career. If you’re looking for a mapmaking degree, try a degree in cartography, geography, or surveying. Programs typically run four years and include the coursework needed to land an entry-level position in real-world mapmaking.

Your classes will teach you all about earth science. You’ll learn about land formations, history, and land use. You’ll also study surveying techniques, remote sensing, and aerial photography. Then you’ll move onto computer classes that train you on how to use that information to create the actual maps. Cool, huh?

Next Step

Maps are used in a variety of ways, by a variety of groups. While the federal government might want a geographical map of a certain area, a local business might hire you to create a land-use map. You might also work with utility companies to help them design new gas line or power line layouts.

Look for jobs through online job boards, and take advantage of job placement programs on your campus. When starting out, look for internship or apprenticeship opportunities.


A few states require certain certifications, so check to see what applies in your area.

Careers You May Like