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Hello! From Pittsburgh, PA


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#1
kellyryan22

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I'm a graphic designer who loves geography. I look at maps sometimes for hours, just studying them. This is my first attempt at reaching out in the world of cartography. I'm not really sure how to begin or how to go about getting my head around this interest. I often consider going back to school to focus in this area, but wanted to join this forum first. Perhaps I can get some first hand advice! Cartography seems like the natural next step for me. I am open to all comments or questions. Thanks!!

-Kelly

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hello Kelly, and welcome to Cartotalk!

Getting back to school to get a degree in cartography is certainly an option worth considering. If I'm not mistaken we've had a thread here some time ago about the various cartography courses being offered.

Another option is to try out some stuff on your own. Since you already have a design background, you're not starting from square one. This may be rather daunting though.

One thing I would definately recommend is joining NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society), and attending their annual event (Missoula, October 8th-11th). A lot of other Cartotalk members will be there and you'll get a chance to see what's happening in the Carto world.

Hope this helps.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
Dale Sanderson

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I'm a graphic designer who loves geography. I look at maps sometimes for hours, just studying them...


Hi Kelly: the best maps are a skillful blending of both art and science. As a graphic designer, you already know about how to effectively communicate visual information. You know how to emphasize more important information (and de-emphasize less important information) through the use of line-weight, color choices, font choices, etc. This gives you a great start. If you have a passion for cartography (and your post makes it sound like you do), then you have the motivation to pick up on the more technical aspects of mapping (where to get good source data, how to manipulate it, how to project it, etc.) Many cartographers (myself included) arrived in the field by way of a graphic design background, so I'd encourage you to go for it. I agree with Hans' suggestion about getting involved with NACIS, because it's a great place to see what other mapmakers are doing, and to ask questions about how they do it.
Dale Sanderson
professionally: cartographics manager for Dex One
personally: cartophile and road-geek (my website)

#4
kellyryan22

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Thanks so much to the both of you for your responses. Since I posted I have become more interested about Cartography and what is near my to pursue my goal of becoming one. I am three semesters shy of receiving my degree and have relocated to Pittsburgh since I last attended college in Minneapolis (10 years ago). I am still waiting to hear back from my local Universities but it's looking like the University of Pittsburgh offers a GIS certification program, which I might consider along side an official Design Degree, or the Indiana University of Pittsburgh offers Cartography as an emphasis under their Geography track. I lean towards the one at Pitt because I believe I have most of the requirements for a BFA or BA degree (art fundamentals) but It would really take quite a while to complete the additional requirements for a science degree. My professional experience has been working with Master Planners and Architects in renowned firms. (While I am creative and very conceptual minded I consider myself more technical like the mind of an architect or engineer) Of course finding that right career path that fits with skills and personality is key - and gosh is this especially daunting during a financial low. In any case I'd like to use these previous references and names and my own experiences working with these brilliant minds to help carve my new career. Perhaps If I was to move back to Los Angeles I could work in my last firm. I have also traveled just under 30 countries, and currently looking into living in Antarctica for a season. I feel very excited yet also overwhelmed as I know what I like, but too unfamiliar with this industry to know exactly what to shoot for. Making it to the meet in oct. I think is doable. So perhaps I will see you there. I will familiarize myself with NACIS. I'm ready to dive deep! Thanks again! It's so very exciting!!!

p.s. My favorite map is the extra large topographic one located in Reykjavik, Iceland

http://farm1.static...._425feef24f.jpg



I'm a graphic designer who loves geography. I look at maps sometimes for hours, just studying them...


Hi Kelly: the best maps are a skillful blending of both art and science. As a graphic designer, you already know about how to effectively communicate visual information. You know how to emphasize more important information (and de-emphasize less important information) through the use of line-weight, color choices, font choices, etc. This gives you a great start. If you have a passion for cartography (and your post makes it sound like you do), then you have the motivation to pick up on the more technical aspects of mapping (where to get good source data, how to manipulate it, how to project it, etc.) Many cartographers (myself included) arrived in the field by way of a graphic design background, so I'd encourage you to go for it. I agree with Hans' suggestion about getting involved with NACIS, because it's a great place to see what other mapmakers are doing, and to ask questions about how they do it.



#5
Hans van der Maarel

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p.s. My favorite map is the extra large topographic one located in Reykjavik, Iceland

http://farm1.static...._425feef24f.jpg


Okay, that does it. I *have* to go to Iceland! :rolleyes:

From what it sounds like, you're pretty good on both the creative and technical sides, which would be a great benefit in a Cartography career. Please keep us informed of what you end up picking and perhaps until NACIS.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics




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