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#1
ksfox

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Hello All,

My name is Kevin. I am living in Halifax, Nova Scotia currently and am looking at different options for pursuing Cartography as a profession. Perhaps I can explain what I am looking for and maybe some people in the field might have some insight. I did email some of the firms from NACIS' webpage. And I see some of the same names here. So, I apologize for the repeat. I only found this site yesterday.

I did an undergrad degree several years ago (PoliticalScience) and have had different work experiences since then. None of which related directly to Cartography. I am serious about pursuing Cartography, but I'm just not sure how to go about it. While I am wanting to learn the skills of Cartography I also want to ground myself in the historical evolution of the craft and the social and political implications of maps (and cartographers). I want a program that will foster the learning of different schools of thought concerning the representation of space, a program that will analyze the global context at the periods of major shifts in the perception and application of Cartography. A program that perhaps transcends the traditional approach to Cartography and might embrace topics of Art and appreciating maps from that vantage point. I am thinking of the way an American Studies program involves many different departments.

There seems to be the Masters track. Many programs seem to have course offerings in Cartography but not degrees. I have found a few. Maybe UW-Madison, especially for the historical? Could anyone suggest some more? Does there exist a program that allows an interdepartmental view of the subject?

There are a few technical schools where I can learn the skills. I suppose I could supplement such a course with my own readings. Has anyone ever heard of any apprenticeship type positions?

There seem to be a few possible ways to go about this. I want to look at each thoroughly.

I appreciate any thoughts you have concerning this. I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards, Kevin Fox

#2
EcoGraphic

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Kevin,

Food for Thought:

If you are already in Halifax, you should check out the cartography program at COGS in Nova Scotia. I know when I looked into it it looked good, it sounded a bit more "art of cartography based". I recently spoke to someone who had attended there, and they really enjoyed it. If you do not already have a design or art background, you might want to consider taking a program like this to start establishing your skills. There is also a program at Sir Sanford Fleming which is just 12 months, and they teach it as a Grad Certificate in GIS and Cartography. It is a little North of Peterborough in Ontario. Your undergrad would get you through the door and it would give you a foundation of skills to work off of. If memory serves me they also had a great work-study program where you could work on related GIS projects the school had going, in order to help fund your way.

Alternative Cartography-Related Careers:

If you are trying to examine all your career choices you should also take a look at Landscape Architecture. Because we design in 4 dimensions (3D environments and landscapes which evolve and change over time) maps are very important, and we produce them all the time in different formats for planning projects, 2D and 3D graphics, etc. Landscape Architects are trained to grasp the whole picture, including the physical, abtract and psychological aspects of environments and design problems, in order to find a design solution, so it really is just another form of geography. There is also lots of work in landscape architecture, and some extremely interesting research opportunities and projects, since projects range from large-scale environmental restoration projects to urban design. You can check out some of the research projects and grad landscape architecture departments at U-W Madison. Everything from the influence of urban environments on the rural landscape to historic cultural landscapes.

If you are considering U-W Madison I just don't think you could go wrong with that school.

Advice from personal experience:

When I decided to make the switch from Science to Design years ago, it was the start of a long road of learning to see the world a different way. Just keep learning.
Don't ever overlook opportunities to learn through local societies, art classes, etc on the side. These people often have a wealth of knowledge, and love teaching others. I recently learned from one of the best art teachers I have ever learned from through the local art gallery.


Cheers,

Gillian
Gillian Auld
EcoGraphic Design
www.EcoGraphic.ca

Design is the intermediary between information and understanding
Richard Grefe

#3
Stacey Martin

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Hi Kevin,

I just finished my MA in Geography at Georgia State University under the direction of Jeremy Crampton. He studied at Penn State and has a huge passion for the political implications of mapping. The program at GSU is changing from an MA to MS in Geosciences, so it may not be the program you are looking for, but Penn State has a strong program. And I agree with Gillian, at UW, you just can't go wrong. The history of cartography is rooted there.

Stacey Martin

#4
Rob

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Kevin,

Or warm it up a bit spending a couple of years at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Georgraphy Dept studying cartography and terrain viz under Ev Wingert. Dept. has a 2+ year master's program in cart/geog. Program should be able to accomadate varying skill cartographic levels as long as a masters research topic is well thought out and defined.

rob

#5
JB Krygier

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Hello All,

...While I am wanting to learn the skills of Cartography I also want to ground myself in the historical evolution of the craft and the social and political implications of maps (and cartographers).  I want a program that will foster the learning of different schools of thought concerning the representation of space, a program that will analyze the global context at the periods of major shifts in the perception and application of Cartography.  A program that perhaps transcends the traditional approach to Cartography and might embrace topics of Art and appreciating maps from that vantage point.  I am thinking of the way an American Studies program involves many different departments.

There seems to be the Masters track.  Many programs seem to have course offerings in Cartography but not degrees.  I have found a few.  Maybe UW-Madison, especially for the historical?  Could anyone suggest some more?  Does there exist a program that allows an interdepartmental view of the subject?

There are a few technical schools where I can learn the skills. I suppose I could supplement such a course with my own readings.  Has anyone ever heard of any apprenticeship type positions?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Kevin,

Your question is interesting: is there any way to learn to be a cartographer
in a context where you also gain a broad appreciation of the historical,
political, and intellectual context of mapping.

At least in the US, I know of no all-in-one integrated program like this, but
you can find places where you can stitch together such a program.

I did something like this at UW Madison: I worked in the Cartographic Lab
(applied map design and production) and with David Woodward (then ed.
of the History of Cartography Project, and also a specialist in map design)
on a historical research project. David died last year, and Matthew Edney
has taken over editorship of the History project, but he is not faculty. Mark
Harrower is the main carto/viz guy at UW Madison: check out his work at
the UWMadison Geography www site. Penn State, another big geography
program, has both map design people (Cindy Brewer) and historical geographers
Deryck Holdsworth). There are other places like this.

You should also persue programs that have a strong cartographic lab (where
you could beg for a job!) and see if you could pursue your interest in the
context of mapping in their geography program. I am thinking of Jim
Meacham's lab at Univ. of Oregon.

Another approach is to find faculty that share your broader contextual
interests in mapping. Jeremy Crampton at Georgia State (mentioned in
an earlier posting) is a good fit. Another excellent fit would be Margaret
Pearce, who just started at Ohio University. Margaret has an unusual
combination of historical/cultural interests in mapping (she has done alot
of work with indigenous mapping) but is also a top notch map designer.

Finally, there are some cultural/political geographers who are working on
what I think is the cutting edge of thinking on the cultural/historical/political
context of mapping: Denis Cosgrove (UCLA) [check out his book "Apollo's
Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination,"
and an edited collection "Mappings."] On par with Denis is John Pickles
at Univ. North Carolina [check out his book "A History of Spaces: Cartographic
Reason, Mapping, and the Geo-Coded World." These are both very strong
geography programs - but you would have to figure out how to learn carto
design and production in those contexts.

I strongly urge you to pursue your plans. Such an integrative approach
is a bit unusual, but very rewarding. Contact the folks mentioned above,
or even me via email (jbkrygier@owu.edu) if you have other questions.

John Krygier

#6
ksfox

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Hello again,
I appreciate all the advice. Thank you for all the different names of professors to contact. This certainly gives me plenty of opportunity to search out what it is I am looking for.

It will be a challenge to find the right balance between nuts and bolts cartography and the historical/intellectual approach in the same place (or program). But with some piece work I see its possibilities. I need to examine the craft from this perspective. Doing both together should create some excitement. And could make for a busy two years.

Thanks again. If there are any other suggestions please feel free to leave them here. I should say that I could see studying anywhere these topics are being discussed. I see no reason why I couln't study outside of North America. If anyone knows of any programs elsewhere...(english/spanish language)

Regards,
Kevin




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