Speaking of crunchy bits, where would you guys suggest I go for an in-depth look at the process of modern cartography? I.E. How to translating survey info, what the standard software used is. etc. Any help would be awesome!
This is a good place to start Mike.
Check out the resources page too.
Since you've got alot of the art/tool background I would focus on things like projections, datums, grids and information design aspects. Alot of that can be gleamed from a good cartography textbook, although a bit dated in some aspects...the 6th edition of elements of cartography would likely be a good introduction to alot of things for you.
You will also need to learn some GIS concepts to allow you to go from raw data to a file you can work with. A GIS course at a local college or from an online college should be enough to put you on the right track.
Alot of this stuff has been discussed on this board before our current loss of content so I suspect if you read back over the last year you will find plenty to entertain yourself with. Feel free to post questions here, most of us are happy to help.
BTW those maps are very impressive, I hope you get to apply your skills to some real world places.