A higher ed email list I subscribe to recently posted a question from a student who is considering changing careers to the GIS field. The student is 52, and color blind. I don't know what his current background is, or what type of color blindness he has.
The student is basically wondering if being color blind would be prohibitive to his entering a mapping field where visual design and color play a prominent role.
I responded that I thought his color blindness would be a challenge, but not enough to keep him out of the field of mapping. I suggested that he may even find it an opportunity to develop work that is more subtle and sensitive than typical GIS output as he would need to think harder about about how he interprets or conveys visual data. He is in a sort of reverse role from what we normally think about as cartographers addressing color blindness, where we can see the full spectrum but need to create work that color blind individuals can still use and interpret, he needs to work in the opposite vein to some degree. And again I think there is an opportunity there for innovation on his part.
Basically I advised that he search out other color blind individuals facing similar issues of working with visual design and color for advice and support, and that he dive in to GIS and see how he does.
Most of the other replies where positive, but one did recommend that if wanted to work with mapping and cartography that would "almost certainly be out of the question".
That made me curious, how many of my fellow map makers are, or know of someone who is, color blind? Can you share your experiences?