While geographers may study population patterns and climate change, cartographers might develop road creation plans and modern mapping technology. Continue reading to learn more about educational and employment options, earnings and responsibilities for geographers and cartographers.
Geography is the study of the earth, its features and its phenomena, while cartography is the science of map-making. Professional geographers and cartographers may also study the relationship between regions and their residents' political orientations, explore how natural disasters could affect certain areas and track population growth. Areas of specialization can include physical, political, regional or medical geography, environmental planning or geotechniques. Geographers and cartographers can work for the federal government, scientific research institutions or private businesses.
Career Options and Job Duties
If you become a remote sensing specialist, you'll gather aerial photos and determine what should be included on maps, choosing different symbols and colors to represent the various features. If you decide to pursue a career in land surveying, you might measure distances, determine boundaries and explore the depths of bodies of water. As a cartographer, you'll use global positioning technology, photos and surveys to create accurate maps. You could also pursue a career as a map editor, high school geography teacher, zoning investigator or land developer.
Earning your master's or doctorate in geography or cartography may lead to employment as a regional planner. In this position, your responsibilities might include assessing layouts of geographic regions and creating construction plans for roads and buildings. You may also research neighborhood revitalization projects, resolve traffic jams and make sure that new stores are easily accessible to shoppers. Completion of a graduate program could also qualify you for a position as a climatologist or map curator.
Employment and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of cartographers, geographers and photogrammetrists was expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Average growth in employment opportunities was projected for mapping and surveying technicians and surveyors during the same 10-year period. According to the BLS in May 2013, the median annual salary for geographers was $74, 750, while cartographers and photogrammetrists earned $58, 840. In the same year, surveyors had median annual incomes of $56, 590, while surveying and mapping technicians earned $40, 670 (www.bls.gov).
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