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Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
SOC Code: 17-1021.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Aerial Photogrammetrist, Cartographer, Cartographic Designer, Compiler, Digital Cartographer, Mapper, Photogrammetric Technician, Photogrammetrist, Stereo Compiler, Stereoplotter Operator


  • Compile data required for map preparation, including aerial photographs, survey notes, records, reports, and original maps.
  • Delineate aerial photographic detail, such as control points, hydrography, topography, and cultural features, using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments.
  • Prepare and alter trace maps, charts, tables, detailed drawings, and three-dimensional optical models of terrain using stereoscopic plotting and computer graphics equipment.
  • Study legal records to establish boundaries of local, national, and international properties.
  • Inspect final compositions to ensure completeness and accuracy.
  • Revise existing maps and charts, making all necessary corrections and adjustments.
  • 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.
  • Examine and analyze data from ground surveys, reports, aerial photographs, and satellite images to prepare topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts.
  • Build and update digital databases.
  • 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.
  • Determine guidelines that specify which source material is acceptable for use.
  • Select aerial photographic and remote sensing techniques and plotting equipment needed to meet required standards of accuracy.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Boeing Kork Digital Mapping; Boeing SoftPlotter; RSI ENVI; Terrasolid TerraScan (see all 5 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD ; Bentley Microstation ; Cosmo Software Cosmo World; MultiGen Paradigm Vega Prime
  • Data base management system software - SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise
  • Data base user interface and query software - Autodesk World; Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL
  • Data compression software - Arbor Image Draftsman
  • Desktop publishing software - Corporate Montage CADScript; QuarkXPress
  • Development environment software - Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Flight control software - Leica AEROPLAN LiDAR
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Aldus FreeHand; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Steroplotter software (see all 7 examples)
  • Information retrieval or search software - Digital databases; Master Seafloor Digital Database; Rand McNally World Digital Database; World Vector Shoreline
  • Internet browser software - Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Map creation software - ESRI ArcGIS software ; Geographic information system GIS software ; Mapthematics GeoCart; Precision analytical aerotriangulation pugging software (see all 13 examples)
  • Object or component oriented development software - Python
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Web page creation and editing software - Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver ; Adobe Systems Adobe Flash Player; Quark Immedia
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Aircraft guidance systems - Aerial imagery mapping-grade global positioning systems GPS
  • Compasses - Dividers
  • Computer servers - Windows servers
  • Curves - French curves
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras - Digital camcorders
  • Digital cameras - Color digital camera systems; Large-format aerial digital cameras; Panoramic digital line cameras
  • Digital image printers
  • Drafting kits or sets - Drafting instruments; Drafting machines
  • Film editors - Film processors and editors
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Geodetic ground global positioning system GPS receivers; Global positioning system GPS receivers; Mapping grade global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Infrared imagers - Video thermal imagers
  • Laminators - Lamination systems
  • Laser printers
  • Levels - Automatic levels
  • Map measurers - Planimeters
  • Notebook computers
  • Personal computers
  • Photographic enlargers - Photo enlargers
  • Plotter printers - Analytical stereoplotters; Color inkjet plotters; Large-format plotters
  • Protractors
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Laser imaging detection and ranging LIDAR systems; Remote sensing equipment
  • Scales
  • Scanners - Digitizers; Photogrammetric scanners
  • Stencils or lettering aids - Type lettering sets
  • T squares - T-squares
  • Templates
  • Theodolites - Total stations
  • Triangles


  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.


  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.


  • Interest code: RIC
    • 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.

Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 98% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 87% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 83% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Telephone - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 55% responded “Very important.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 56% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others - 56% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 46% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 51% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 32% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Time Pressure - 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 27% responded “Very important results.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 11% responded “Less than 40 hours.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 30% responded “Not important at all.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Letters and Memos - 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Physical Proximity - 50% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 24% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 24% responded “Every day.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
36%Post-secondary certificate
30%Bachelor's degree
11%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Work Values

  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $30.76 hourly, $63,990 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 13,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,200

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