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#1
rachel younghans

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Edited by rachel younghans, 22 September 2010 - 11:53 AM.


#2
loximuthal

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I'll tell you my history by way of illustration.

I got my Bachelor's degree in '86 in Fine Art. Spent a few years doing clerical work since I just didn't have the drive or interest to follow a career in arts. Went back to school for a Masters in Geography, did a Fluvial Geomorphology thesis, but took a lot of cart/gis classes. Now I am a cartographer with the US Census Bureau. All computerized (the only way to make millions of maps in only a few months), but I don't spend any time digitizing.

There are a few outfits that still do all or at least mainly manual cartography (Allan Cartography is one that comes to mind) but mostly it is a digital world these days.
Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Hi Rachel, and welcome to Cartotalk!

While the cartographic field these days is for a large part a computerised field, there certainly are a lot of opportunities that don't require you to be behind a computer all day. You just have to look for them.

Many of the maps being produced require a lot of field work for example, and there's always a market for beautiful, manually produced maps (Molly of MollyMaps combines these two things). Since you mention your art college background, I would certainly recommend that you consider this option.

Now, I'm not sure what to recommend in terms of major/minor but I'm sure others here can offer valuable advice.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#4
David Medeiros

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If you want to do cartography I'd say major in Geography. Your art background will be a big asset on the design side I'm sure, so rounding it off with a thorough understanding of the nature of maps and geography in general will be a good compliment to that. You'll have a hard time avoiding computer work in cartography but computerized map design and illustration is not at all the same thing as GIS database management and you may find you enjoy computer illustration.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#5
rachel younghans

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thank you so much for all three of these helpful notions


i think the best way to channel my specific interests into this profession is to pursue the field work and digital illustration parts. geography is still the best major, right? what about global/cultural studies?

#6
larry83

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Geography is probably the best major for you. In terms of your fear of ending up at a job plugging things into a computer all day, I think it just depends. I've seen both things happen to graduates. If you end up at a bigger company of perhaps with the federal govt, I think you are more likely to simply be viewed as simply a cartographer or a geographer and will be allowed to specialize on that alone.

I've also seen graduates who focus on GIS in school end up taking jobs in IT departments, where GIS people are located in smaller organizations much of the time. I've seen jobs looking for GIS people that have the requirements of any IT position.

I would advise you to go ahead with a geography degree and take some GIS and cartography courses. I always tell people to specialize in something else though bc if all you know is GIS, then there will be salary ceiling rather quickly in your career. For example, climatology or hydrology, urban planning etc.


Many people who do GIS work also do programming, SQL, database mgmt etc. I wouldnt bother trying to learn those things if you are not interested.




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