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What to call myself?


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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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Looking for some input and insights on this one...

One of my business contacts has recently asked a group of people involved with 3D visualisation whether there was some special term they used to describe themselves when people asked what they do for a living. I've been giving that some thought and I came up with either "Geovisual artist" or "Geo-artist".

I think this actually might be easier to understand for the general audience than "cartographer" ("When I heard you were a cartographer, I thought you took pictures of cars..." comes to mind)

It just so happens that I'm in the process of developing a new website that specifically showcases my cartography work, as well as having somebody rewrite the texts for my existing website, so I think the expression could be used there. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that part of what I do is very hard-core GIS whereas the other part is cartography and visualisation. I think this might be confusing to my clients as well sometimes.

So what does everybody else think of those titles? Part of me likes them, especially the Geovisual Artist one, another part is not sure whether I can call myself an artist when I compare my work to that of people like Tom Patterson, Tibor Toth or many of the fine cartographers here.

Looking forward to your comments.
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#2
François Goulet

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That's not an easy one... Most of the time, when I say I'm a cartographer, I can see THE look in the face of many persons: :blink:

- You're a what?
- I'm a cartographer
- You do what?
- Maps
- Euh... you do what??
- ... ( :blink: Now it's my turn to have THE look ;) )

So, more often, I don't have a title... "I do maps... for atlases, newspapers, publishers, ..."

I love your Geovisual Artist & GeoArtist... in invoke both the science and the art in our jobs... My only concern is that it could need an explanation and I'm not sure it would be more easily understandable at first...

I'll give it more though and come back if I have an "add-on" for your titles ;)

Good topic!

#3
MapMedia

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If you want to pick up chics at parties, probably Geo-Artists might be a great conservation starter. :D
Otherwise I would lean towards conventional, industry terms - just so you don't spend a lot of energy re-creating the wheel.
Since you are having someone write content for your new site, sounds like you have SEO in mind, another reason to go with standards; have you checked out Google keyword results for geo-artist vs cartographer?
That's my practical response - good luck with whatever you choose!!

#4
James Hines

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You know what I hate most when I say I'm a cartographer? The response, oh you snap pictures. :rolleyes: Anyways I what I hate more is the fact that there are too many clients that don't understand what a cartographer is, especially when your trying to convince them that you are more of a professional then a graphic artist in that specialty. So far I have submitted close to 40 bids, & with the exception of one client I haven't been able to land one single contract.

So maybe that's what it may take to convince some clients that your knowledge of mapping super cedes your competition, but I really hate to steep to the level of adding artist. Because as a cartographer I am more then just an artist, I'm a GIS & data entry technician. But if I had to chose one of the terms, geographic visualization artist would be a far more descriptive & professional term for a cartographer.

However I'm leaning towards the marketing & real estate niche, so I don't know what I would call myself.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#5
MapMedia

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So far I have submitted close to 40 bids, & with the exception of one client I haven't been able to land one single contract.


Don't despair Hasdrubal. This is a person-to-person business (maps and GIS), where personal relationships lead to business. Attending conferences and other networking events is more likely to lead to actual work, maybe repeat business, than other methods. My 2 cents there.

#6
François Goulet

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So maybe that's what it may take to convince some clients that your knowledge of mapping super cedes your competition, but I really hate to steep to the level of adding artist. Because as a cartographer I am more then just an artist, I'm a GIS & data entry technician. But if I had to chose one of the terms, geographic visualization artist would be a far more descriptive & professional term for a cartographer.


I like to thing than I am more than a technician... maybe because here, in French, a technician is not an artist and far for being a scientist... Maybe it's just a language and cultural thing...

It's sad because I think that "cartographer" should be enough to describe what we do. The visual "rendering" and the data collection, entry, analysis, etc. it's just a way, for me, to produce the best map I can.

#7
Unit Seven

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That's not an easy one... Most of the time, when I say I'm a cartographer, I can see THE look in the face of many persons: :blink:

- You're a what?
- I'm a cartographer
- You do what?
- Maps
- Euh... you do what??
- ... ( :blink: Now it's my turn to have THE look ;) )


But François—haven't all the maps already been drawn? :D

Well that's the next question I always get, and yeah I've also had the car photographer one. On the maps we do we always have our copyright note which used to say 'Cartography by Terralink'—I got us to change that to 'Cartographic Map Design by Terralink' to educate people as to what Cartography is. I will use this on 3d views as well as maps.

I still go with the term cartographer but like the term geographic visualisation/communication/representation as when you say maps people think an off the shelf street map or a topo map but we do so much more than that. Collect, source, analyse and process data, then the mapmaking but but this may be 3d, may even go into charts if these are the best way of communicating the message once collected. I like the inclusion of the word communication as its so much more than just making a visulization of geography—for that you can grab a sat image, most of my job seems to be convincing people why they shouldn't get me to just slap some text and/or lines over a sat/ortho image :rolleyes:
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#8
ELeFevre

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I really like the words "artist" and "scientist" because they place the focus on the individual and not on deciphering the meaning of the word. In that light, I'd like to see "artist" used more often, or "digital artist" or "media designer" or even "artistic geographer".

"Geo-Artist" has an esoteric and grand quality to it which made me think of artists Cristo and Jean Claude. I'm just not sure I see the point in attaching "geo" to a perfect word like "artist". A webpage covered in maps with well written text is self explanatory. Of course in terms of commercial internet marketing and SEO you have to identify and adopt the same industry "key-words" your customers use so they can find you (custom maps, GIS data, whatever) , but there still has to be balance or you end up feeling misunderstood and artistically short-changed. I believe that's where many of us are at and why we keep having this "what do we call ourselves?" discussion. It's a good topic. my 2 cents.



#9
Kalai Selvan

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Hi!!

Interesting topic " What to call Myself" A professional map maker, i would say is identified only by a person who knows what is involved in map making, again map maker alone without artistist overview is again every difficult to name.

Its a common ? that most of my friends, relatives ask "What do you do" and when i say i am a map maker, their faces goes :o ... I feel so embarassing (Not Always though) :( sometimes, but again i make them understand, but still they don't know what my profession is..i try to show some samples of my work and still they are some what :rolleyes: ...

explaining GIS and map making professio is one of the biggest task?

One incident to narrate...My ex=boss, who knows very less of MAP making skills, will always insist me to explain GIS which reaches a laymens brains... which i know is a difficult task....But still i call my self a Map maker, GIS Specialist....

COol!
GISGURU



I really like the words "artist" and "scientist" because they place the focus on the individual and not on deciphering the meaning of the word. In that light, I'd like to see "artist" used more often, or "digital artist" or "media designer" or even "artistic geographer".

"Geo-Artist" has an esoteric and grand quality to it which made me think of artists Cristo and Jean Claude. I'm just not sure I see the point in attaching "geo" to a perfect word like "artist". A webpage covered in maps with well written text is self explanatory. Of course in terms of commercial internet marketing and SEO you have to identify and adopt the same industry "key-words" your customers use so they can find you (custom maps, GIS data, whatever) , but there still has to be balance or you end up feeling misunderstood and artistically short-changed. I believe that's where many of us are at and why we keep having this "what do we call ourselves?" discussion. It's a good topic. my 2 cents.


Thanks and Regards
Kalai Selvan


#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Thanks for the comments so far everybody. Definately some food for thought. I'm kinda leaning to the "Geo-visual artist" myself to be honest... Although now that Erin mentioned Christo, I'm feeling the urge to wrap things in maps...

Just to clarify, the main reason I'm getting somebody to (re)write texts for my website is to get a bit more of a professional sound to them. I've always found it surprisingly hard to write proper business-like English. One of my friends happens to be a professional writer and native English speaker, so she's helping me out there. SEO is another goal, but of lesser importance to me.

Truth is that our business is changing. When I say 'map', people often think just of paper maps or they ask me "what kind of maps", or they go "aren't you all out of business now thanks to Google?". In a way, the emergence of Google Maps, Google Earth and navigation systems has been a good thing. A lot more people now realize there is such a thing as the geo-industry out there. But a lot of those people thinks the industry ends there (or they think I'm the right person to complain to when their navigation system steered them in the wrong direction).

I guess all this also comes from a desire within me to emphasize my cartographic work. Maps are after all what brought me into this business in the first place and I just love working on them (as is the case for everybody here I would assume).
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#11
ProMapper

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Thanks for the comments so far everybody. Definately some food for thought. I'm kinda leaning to the "Geo-visual artist" myself to be honest... Although now that Erin mentioned Christo, I'm feeling the urge to wrap things in maps...

Just to clarify, the main reason I'm getting somebody to (re)write texts for my website is to get a bit more of a professional sound to them. I've always found it surprisingly hard to write proper business-like English. One of my friends happens to be a professional writer and native English speaker, so she's helping me out there. SEO is another goal, but of lesser importance to me.

Truth is that our business is changing. When I say 'map', people often think just of paper maps or they ask me "what kind of maps", or they go "aren't you all out of business now thanks to Google?". In a way, the emergence of Google Maps, Google Earth and navigation systems has been a good thing. A lot more people now realize there is such a thing as the geo-industry out there. But a lot of those people thinks the industry ends there (or they think I'm the right person to complain to when their navigation system steered them in the wrong direction).

I guess all this also comes from a desire within me to emphasize my cartographic work. Maps are after all what brought me into this business in the first place and I just love working on them (as is the case for everybody here I would assume).

Hans you have pretty neatly summarized the state of affairs of cartographers after the advent of Google maps.

What we see in Google Earth and Maps is just the beginning. The locational technologies are going to penetrate each and every domain of our life in not too distant a future. Everyone will have a GPS in thier mobiles, cars, watches (many have it right now), so you are driving down the road and your location is being beamed to location trackers or whatever. You plan to take a turn and your mobile or car GPS announces, why not take a break, you are just 500m from Macdonalds down the road and they are offering Fries and Cola free with Big Mac. Well all from the fantasy world right in front of your eyes.

Where will cartographers go then??? Are we going to become extinct?

Anu
http://www.mapsandlocations.com

#12
Unit Seven

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Everyone will have a GPS in thier mobiles, cars, watches (many have it right now), so you are driving down the road and your location is being beamed to location trackers or whatever.


Actually—they are already implanted in our heads pre birth and there's an underground tracking station in the South Pole being run by Big Brother... :ph34r:

The next step is for MacDonald's to gain access to this and work out how they can subtly exert that information to us—maybe the next generation will send messages to the brain as well as locations out... :unsure:
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#13
klacefield

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Let me preface this remark with the simple fact that I do not have to go out and sell my services as I work for a county government.

I really have a hard time justifying the creation of a new term when the existing one thoroughly explains itself. I like the term Cartographer and do not mind having to explain what that term means. It automatically sets the work we do apart from other mapping and graphic professionals. I define myself as a GIS practitioner who also is lucky enough to dabble in cartography. This allows me to define two terms to someone. This desire to explain what I do might be what led me into teaching GIS at the junior college level. This also is the reason why I am developing a course at the same school titled "Cartography in GIS".

But then again I can comfortably sit in my cubicle and create GIS Data, make maps, and update code for processing the data without having to sell my services.

cheers,

Kevin
Kevin Lacefield, GIS Programmer Analyst
County of Sonoma
Information Systems Department - GIS Central

#14
François Goulet

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But François—haven't all the maps already been drawn? :D


Never had this one... yet ;)

#15
mika

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I had this situation a while ago:

- So, what is your proffession?
- I am a cartographer
- Photographer, right.
- Well, not a photographer, a cartographer... Map maker you may call it
- A mop maker then....

I like the geo-artist idea although always wonder how much of the artistry is needed to create a good map. I think I'd call my self a craftsman rather than an artist. Ok, let it be the modesty... :-)
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