Recently, one of my daughters high school friends stated she wanted to be a map maker. I was wondering what exactly a map maker does, what the profession is called, and how to go about getting a degree to be a map maker. I assisted her in finding out the information.
People who work with maps are called Cartographers. Cartographers not only measure maps, but are involved in researching, designing, mapping, and updating geography for maps. Cartographers have a college degree, but their job also involves on the job training. It is important to know what high school courses to take, and which degrees to major in in order to be a map maker or Cartographer.
1) In high school, take college preparatory classes in high school. These include Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Math courses should include Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus. In order to be admitted to college you will need to take a college entrance exam. Take either the SAT or ACT, depending on your college of choice’s preference.
2) It is important to pick the right school. Research schools offering degrees in Surveying, Drafting or Geography. Most schools do not offer a direct degree in Cartography. If you can find a school offering a degree in Cartography, this would be the preferred degree.
3) It is important to talk frequently with an adviser at college to make sure the correct courses are being taken. It is also important to take computer courses as computers and Global Positioning Systems play a large part in map making in the 21st century. Drafting and graphing courses are also part of a Cartography major.
4) When finally looking for a job, it helps to have an advanced degree. Consider getting a master’s degree. Most Cartographers have an advanced degree. As the filed is very scientific, an advanced degree helps in getting a job.
5) Try to get some experience before college, volunteering at a university or a geologic agency near your home. The volunteer experience looks great when applying to a college.
With the constantly changing dynamics in our world, Cartographers will be busy for years if not decades to come. This looks like a great job choice for our ever expanding, 21st century world.