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Colleges and Careers in Cartography

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#1
Mom of Geography student

Mom of Geography student

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Good morning!

My son is a huge geography buff. He has maps everywhere and is wondering about a career in Cartography. I would love to hear back from people actually in the field to help him better understand what the field entails, how promising the job prospects are, and which schools he might consider. We live in central Indiana.

Lastly - do any of you know of any high school internships in Indianapolis?

Thanks in advance!

Amy

#2
dsl

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I don't know which Universities (in Indiana or elsewhere) offer specific Cartography programs. If they do offer, it would probably be housed in the Geography department. If you/he can't find one in the area, he might consider pursuing Geography and Geographic Information Systems. He can probably even create his own mix by majoring/minoring in Geography and majoring/minoring in Graphic Design. The key with Geography would be to specialize in Geographic Information Systems. That's just my opinion, though.

Hope that helps,
David

#3
P Riggs

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Just to expand your thinking, there are other careers in cartography than making maps. For example, map and map data librarian. Map dealer. For example, just down the street from my university is The Old Map Gallery run by a great guy with a vast knowledge of maps, cartographers, and history. A career in geography examining maps or teaching cartography/GIS.
Philip Riggs
Decorative-Maps.com

#4
loximuthal

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Along with the many independent cartographers you'll see on this list, government (from local to federal) is also a large employer of cartographers. Most of the hires in this field now definitely need GIS training (see dsl's post).

While I don't know about any particular programs in Indiana, the University of Wisconsin in Madison has an excellent program and isn't too far away. I can also recommend the University of Oregon (my alma mater), but that may be a bit further than you want to look.

As far as internships go, again, I don't know of any in your area, but when your son is a bit older the Census Bureau has a very nice summer internship program. Two of the interns that have worked in my branch (we make most of the maps produced by the Census Bureau, both internal and external) have gone on to be hired into regular jobs here. One of them starts today.

It is good to hear about another young person with an interest in maps. Reminds me of my youth :) Good luck to both of you.
Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

#5
BradGISOkla

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Also East Central University, Ada, OK.
And call Pinnacle Mapping in indy.
See if they can help with the finding an internship.

My experience has been that the cartography jobs are a little far and few ;) . With strong GIS understanding and and a solid base of Cartography you will be a standout in the GIS service field. Probably the only other thing that makes a standout is experience in multiple dicsciplines such as private services, software development, local gov, regional gov, and state gov. The industry really requires experience to move into mangement positions, however standouts can become project lead quickly.




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