CareerShip Home
About CareerShip
Contact Us
Mapping Your Future
Visit the Featured Career Match My Career Interests
Review Careers by Clusters Career Search

Details for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists


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.


  • Identify, scale, and orient geodetic points, elevations, and other planimetric or topographic features, applying standard mathematical formulas.
  • Collect information about specific features of the Earth using aerial photography and other digital remote sensing techniques.
  • Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.
  • 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.
  • Examine and analyze data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts.
  • Select aerial photographic and remote sensing techniques and plotting equipment needed to meet required standards of accuracy.
  • Delineate aerial photographic detail such as control points, hydrography, topography, and cultural features using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments.
  • Build and update digital databases.
  • Prepare and alter trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and three-dimensional optical models of terrain using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics equipment.
  • Determine guidelines that specify which source material is acceptable for use.
  • Study legal records to establish boundaries of local, national, and international properties.
  • Travel over photographed areas to observe, identify, record, and verify all relevant features.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.


  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Geography - 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.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Writing - 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.

Related Careers

  • Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity
  • City and Regional Planning Aides
  • Civil Drafters
  • Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service
  • Mapping Technicians
  • Park Naturalists
  • Postal Service Mail Carriers
  • Surveyors
Wages for this career
America's Career InfoNet