Geographic Mapping technologies
Do you like maps? Do you enjoy graphic design but don't really have an interest in advertising? Do you like working with computers but don't want to major in computer science? Did you realize that you can apply these interests in a career in map making, more formally known as "cartography"? The B.S. in Geography (Mapping Technology emphasis) can prepare you for a career in this field.
Volcanic Eruption Impact Map by Brad Cole
Mapping Technology students work in a modern, cross-platform computer lab reserved for the use of Geography students. Available to our majors 24/7, the 26 workstations run Windows 7, have full licensure for ESRI's ArcGIS 10.x software, and are linked to a dedicated file server. The lab is also equipped with a scanner, a large-format digitizer and multiple printers. These provide students with broad experience in map compilation and production. Students who complete the Mapping Technology program have many hours of intensive computer experience in a lab designed to emulate a professional mapping environment.
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Solar study: U of M students seek state's sunniest places — Rick Kupchella's BringMeTheNews
The students are using geographic information systems technology and Lidar data, which is 3D aerial imaging of the Earth's surface, gathered by aircraft with laser-based technology, the students note in a 10-minute video that explains the project (below).
What GIS tools and technologies does Google use to develop and maintain their Geographic Services (such as Google Maps)? - Quora
I believe their data is managed with proprietary systems. Google Earth was the genesis of their mapping domination and that was bought from Keyhole, which was originally CIA funded. There may have initially been some desire to not use external GIS software at Keyhole.
I couldn't say for sure that this is how the data for Google Maps is managed, but it seems likely.
What is a geographical map?
a map of natural, physical land features