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Certification for Cartographers?


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#1
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What makes an industry professional in cartography an industry professional in cartography?

Who can Label you as a qualified cartographer today?.

So the topic is, would it be a good idea to have your pears (or people that can make good maps) CERTIFY you as a 'professional' or a 'qualified' map maker.

Your thoughts?
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#2
MapMedia

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Interesting.

My sense on having a certification is that it is more for the cartographer than for clients and his/her peers.
If I put myself in the clients' shoes, I would look at a person's experience in handling certain projects, formal training, then speak with references. Since I do not do survey level maps, my work speaks for itself.
Just because I produce a street level map for a client does not mean I would expect them to consider me for a large trail map production without checking to see if I am trained and experienced to do so. Even if I was listed a being certified, clients should review training/experience as well.

I would like to know what problems people have had without one.

#3
ELeFevre

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If there was an official certification board, who would certify the certifiers as certified cartographers? Would there be a community vote? So much of what we do is in the eye-of-the-beholder... the whole art angle of cartography. The type of certifications that mean something to me are the ones that are not carto specific, but carto related. The Adobe Certified Expert program is an example. Not the best example, maybe, but one that says something concrete about a persons proficiency with one of the primary tools of our trade. Even then, nothing speaks "Certified!" like a great portfolio. That's my two cents at least.



#4
Unit Seven

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Who can Label you as a qualified cartographer today?.


My only answer to this is your clients, portfolio and billings.

Sure you can do papers etc that cover various aspects but which of all these aspects make you a Cartographer, and what is a Cartographer? I'm also sure everyone has differnt views of what a Cartographer is.
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#5
Derek Tonn

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Who can Label you as a qualified cartographer today?.


My only answer to this is your clients, portfolio and billings.

Sure you can do papers etc that cover various aspects but which of all these aspects make you a Cartographer, and what is a Cartographer? I'm also sure everyone has differnt views of what a Cartographer is.


The last supervisor I had before starting my own firm was a Vice President for Business Affairs (the money guy) at a University. One of his favorite quotes that he'd throw around his conference table during staff meetings was:

"Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach." :o

I always found the comment to be a bit more than a tad offensive! Although I've done a bit of teaching in my time too, so of course I would probably find that to be offensive. However, when it comes to any of the creative arts, you can write 200 papers, talk people's ears off, etc., and it does not matter. It's all about your body of work....your portfolio. If you are an "expert" at cartography, S-H-O-W people that you are an expert at cartography. If you cannot S-H-O-W people your expertise and can only turn to a degree or certification, that might be more than a bit troubling to prospective clients.

Not trying to be a "downer" in this thread! I just think I am speaking the truth. We can all talk about what it means to be a "cartographer" or an expert in our field. However, I am convinced that the ONLY thing that truly matters is our body of work that we have to show for our effort. No body of work, no real/perceived expertise. Period.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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http://www.mapformation.com

#6
merft

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I would expect that certification of cartography to be fairly difficult if not impossible. It would be like trying to create a certification program for artists. We ride this fine line between science and art. There are some rules but at the same time quite of bit artistic license is taken. Now I look at cartography from more of a artistic standpoint. I know there are many who look at cartography from a scientific standpoint.

Data structure, data quality, scale misrepresentation, etc are fairly easy topics to create a certification program around. But how do you address the more abstract topics such as generalization, label placement, color usage, etc. These are all the nasty topics ESRI and others have been trying to write routines into their programs to handle.

I guess my best analogy is when my son first started racing his bicycle. He asked a pro how to bunny hop his bicycle. The pro looked at him and said you just more your feet and hands slightly and just do it. "It's hard to describe". My son fiddled for several months trying to figure it out and finally did. I asked him several years ago to describe how to bunny hop and got, "You just do it".

Many of the concepts are similar in cartography. Generalization and text placement are prime examples. There are a couple general guides/rules to both but it comes down to what feels best on the map. Using the same rules within an application will produce similar results.

-Tom




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