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Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

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What Does it Take to Be a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist?

Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Example 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.

Life As a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

  • Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.
  • Delineate aerial photographic detail, such as control points, hydrography, topography, and cultural features, using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments.
  • Study legal records to establish boundaries of local, national, and international properties.
  • Compile data required for map preparation, including aerial photographs, survey notes, records, reports, and original maps.
  • Prepare and alter trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and three-dimensional optical models of terrain using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics equipment.
  • Build and update digital databases.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist?

These are the skills Cartographers and Photogrammetrists say are the most useful in their careers:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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.

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.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Jobs

  • Map Editor
  • Cartography Supervisor
  • Cartographic Drafter
  • Topographer
  • Aerial Photogrammetrist

Job Opportunities for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

In the United States, there were 12,600 jobs for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,400 new jobs for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist by 2026. There will be an estimated 1,200 positions for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist per year.


The states with the most job growth for Cartographer or Photogrammetrist are Colorado, Oregon, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Mississippi, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist Make?

The salary for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists ranges between about $40,960 and $101,400 a year.


Cartographers and Photogrammetrists who work in New Jersey, California, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Cartographers and Photogrammetrists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $65,660
Alaska $67,920
Arizona $66,830
Arkansas $52,480
California $84,540
Colorado $73,150
Connecticut $72,270
Florida $62,160
Georgia $54,620
Hawaii $67,670
Idaho $56,350
Illinois $77,070
Indiana $57,420
Kansas $58,710
Kentucky $70,060
Louisiana $71,480
Maine $67,460
Maryland $79,440
Massachusetts $73,290
Michigan $65,610
Minnesota $71,070
Mississippi $58,840
Missouri $64,270
Montana $52,130
Nebraska $68,150
Nevada $75,300
New Hampshire $53,990
New Jersey $84,120
New Mexico $69,250
New York $78,780
North Carolina $56,530
Ohio $70,550
Oklahoma $56,250
Oregon $64,290
Pennsylvania $63,360
South Carolina $53,020
South Dakota $55,310
Tennessee $58,380
Texas $64,620
Utah $57,310
Vermont $62,940
Virginia $81,750
Washington $81,620
West Virginia $55,030
Wisconsin $64,490
Wyoming $57,110

What Tools do Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Cartographers and Photogrammetrists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Extensible markup language XML

Becoming a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

Learn what Cartographer or Photogrammetrist education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Are Employed


Cartographers and Photogrammetrists work in the following industries:



Image Credit: Couleur via public domain (CC0)

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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