Cartographers study, design, produce and distribute digital and conventional maps, charts, spreadsheets and diagrams for public sector and commercial customers. As a cartographer you’ll be involved with the scientific, technological and artistic aspects of developing and producing maps.


    Types of cartographer

    You can work within a variety of areas, including:

    • conservation
    • government
    • the military
    • publishing
    • surveying.



    As there aren’t any undergraduate degrees specifically in cartography, you’ll typically need a degree in a spatial science. Relevant subjects include:

    • earth sciences
    • geographic information technologies
    • geographical information systems (GIS)
    • geography and geology
    • geomatics and geoinformatics
    • land surveying.

    A degree in design, and computer science and software engineering can also be useful. Look for courses that include modules or courses in cartography.



    Cartographers must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the work, and must have meticulous attention to detail and good IT and design skills. Other key skills necessary are:

    • an interest in geography and the environment
    • the ability to work independently.
    • analytical ability and problem-solving skills
    • high standards of accuracy and attention to set procedures
    • a keen eye for detail as much of the work involves careful research and the collection and manipulation of data
    • an eye for layout and design, good spatial awareness and colour vision
    • IT literacy
    • teamworking skills in order to produce maps quickly and effectively
    • a methodical and systematic approach to work
    • the ability to interpret data, graphical representations and symbols