Is Cartography a Lost Art?

Cartography tells us stories by weaving representations of the world around us into maps.

It is a combination of art, science, and technology.

An old map of the word create in 1794 with detailed scientific calculations, diagrams, and descriptions.

So cartographers make maps? What else do they do?

Cartography Is Timeless

As technology advanced, cartography became digital. Cartography combined its artistic cartographic techniques with the sciences. You use it when you get an Uber, search for a restaurant or check the weather.

A wildfire, a city plan, a digital map, a panda, a smart city, and Telehealth

The Life Of A Cartographer

Cartography is more than map-making.

Cartographers use data to study, design, and produce digital and physical maps for public consumption.

Flaticon Icon

A Typical Day...

  • Collecting data through on-site surveys, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and reports

  • Storing, evaluating, and updating geographical data

  • Analyzing data using computer and map software

  • Designing cartographic, graphic, and web-based map products

  • Researching background information for analysis and findings

  • Updating and revising existing maps

  • Collaborating with information providers and clients


What are some key skills of a cartographer?

IT literacy

Attention to detail

Design skills

All of these

Where Do Cartographers Work?

Flaticon IconGovernment

  • Federal government

  • State government

  • Local government

Flaticon IconHigher Education Institutions

  • Universities

  • Colleges

  • Institutes of technology

Flaticon IconPrivate Sector

  • Engineering firms

  • Consulting firms

  • Architectural firms

Flaticon IconNon-Profit

  • Conservation and Ecology

  • Museums

  • Land Trusts


Where would a cartographer work?

Office of Emergency Management

University of Toronto

New York Power Authority

All of these

You’ll Love It If...

  • You love making user-friendly high-quality maps.

  • You're flexible with staying indoors or going into the field.

  • You love being challenged by learning new methods and techniques.

  • You're willing to get a degree in cartography, geography, or computer science.

    A comedian on stage saying,

Look For Something Else If...

  • You dislike the process of keeping up with changing cartographic technologies.

  • You hate making constant revisions to your work.

  • You dislike researching information and collecting data from various sources for one project.

Paul Hollywood saying,

Qualities Of A Cartographer

Who is most likely to go into cartography?

Flaticon IconAmelia

  • writes fiction

  • seeks out challenges at work

  • creates maps for fun

Flaticon IconBenjamin

  • likes working on his own

  • prefers to specialize in one field

  • volunteers to plant trees in local parks

Flaticon IconHasan

  • codes in three different programming languages

  • believes in life-long learning

  • has worked in several fields


Whose skill set is similar to that of a Cartographer's?

Amelia and Hasan


Benjamin and Hasan


Salary Expectations

Flaticon IconThe average salary of cartographers in Canada is $87,619.

Flaticon IconThe average salary of cartographers in the United States is $65,470.

Take Action

If cartography interests you...

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This Byte has been authored by


Zhaneille Green

Graduate Student