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Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oj7a2LmVtU.
Quick Facts: Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
2023 Median Pay $76,210 per year
$36.64 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 14,000
Job Outlook, 2022-32 5% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 700

What Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Do

Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and related products.

Work Environment

Although cartographers and photogrammetrists spend much of their time in an office setting, some jobs require travel to locations that are being mapped. Most work full time.

How to Become a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist

Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically need a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, surveying, or a related field.

Pay

The median annual wage for cartographers and photogrammetrists was $76,210 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 1,000 openings for cartographers and photogrammetrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for cartographers and photogrammetrists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of cartographers and photogrammetrists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about cartographers and photogrammetrists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Cartographers and Photogrammetrists Do About this section

Cartographers and photogrammetrists
Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically collect and verify data used in creating maps.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and related products.

Duties

Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically do the following:

  • Collect and analyze data from surveys, satellite images, and other sources 
  • Create visualizations of data, such as annual precipitation patterns and elevation
  • Develop maps that integrate Geographic Information System (GIS) data for geospatial context
  • Prepare static or interactive maps in print, digital, or graphic format
  • Update and revise existing maps and charts

Cartographers and photogrammetrists are mapmakers. They use information from a variety of sources to create visualizations of the world on a small scale.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists gather and analyze spatial measurements, images, and data about the Earth’s topography to build maps. They integrate information from sources such as land surveys and light-imaging detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology using GIS, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and other software.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists may tailor mapping information to support a variety of decisions, such as those related to land use, the environment, or marketing. For example, they might create maps for an urban planning project that show population density, elevations, buildings, and roads.

In addition to designing static maps on paper, cartographers and photogrammetrists prepare interactive maps for digital applications that include websites, cell phones, and navigation systems. They also may create enhanced products for specific users, such as tactile maps for people who are visually impaired.

Work Environment About this section

Cartographers and photogrammetrists
Cartographers may travel to the physical locations that they are mapping to better understand the topography of the region.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists held about 14,000 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of cartographers and photogrammetrists were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 33%
Architectural, engineering, and related services 20
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 7
Federal government 4
State government, excluding education and hospitals 4

Although cartographers and photogrammetrists spend much of their time in an office setting, some jobs require fieldwork to collect data and verify results. For example, cartographers and photogrammetrists may travel to the locations they are mapping to examine the topography and validate survey measurements.

Work Schedules

Most cartographers and photogrammetrists work full time. They may have longer workdays while doing fieldwork.

How to Become a Cartographer or Photogrammetrist About this section

Cartographers and photogrammetrists
Cartographers and photogrammetrists usually learn to create maps through degrees in cartography, geography, geomatics, or surveying.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically need a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, surveying, or a related field. Some cartographers and photogrammetrists may need to be licensed.

Education

Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically need a bachelor’s degree in cartography, geography, geomatics, surveying, or a related field. (Geomatics combines a variety of disciplines, such as engineering, natural resources, and mathematics.)

Coursework in these programs may include Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, remote sensing, and other technical subjects.

Aspiring cartographers and photogrammetrists may gain practical experience while in school by completing internships, such as in GIS, with private firms or government agencies.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensing requirements for cartographers and photogrammetrists vary. They may be state- or employer-specific and depend on job duties.

Certification for cartographers and photogrammetrists, such as from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, is usually optional. Certification may demonstrate competence and may make candidates more competitive when looking for a job.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Cartographers and photogrammetrists must be able to convey technical information clearly in nontechnical ways. Both written and oral communication are important.

Computer skills. Cartographers and photogrammetrists must be able to work with GIS and other technology to collect and process data and with software to create maps.

Critical-thinking skills. Cartographers and photogrammetrists interpret information from a variety of sources, as well as from existing maps, surveys, and other records. They must be able to determine the accuracy and relevance of the features they are mapping.

Detail oriented. Cartographers and photogrammetrists must pay attention to detail when interpreting data and deciding what information to include in maps.

Problem-solving skills. Cartographers and photogrammetrists must be able to reconcile differences between aerial photographs, land surveys, satellite images, and other sources they integrate into maps.

Pay About this section

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Median annual wages, May 2023

Architects, surveyors, and cartographers

$80,850

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

$76,210

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for cartographers and photogrammetrists was $76,210 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $113,540.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for cartographers and photogrammetrists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $102,150
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 76,610
State government, excluding education and hospitals 69,260
Architectural, engineering, and related services 64,900
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 64,000

Most cartographers and photogrammetrists work full time. They may have longer workdays while doing fieldwork.

Job Outlook About this section

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

5%

Architects, surveyors, and cartographers

4%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 1,000 openings for cartographers and photogrammetrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

The use of maps for government planning should lead to some employment growth. Cartographers and photogrammetrists also will be needed to map and locate areas that require help during natural disasters, often using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Employment projections data for cartographers and photogrammetrists, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

17-1021 14,000 14,700 5 700 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of cartographers and photogrammetrists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Civil engineers Civil Engineers

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction and maintenance of building and infrastructure projects.

Bachelor's degree $95,890
Environmental scientists and specialists Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Bachelor's degree $78,980
Geographers Geographers

Geographers study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants.

Bachelor's degree $90,880
Forest and conservation workers Forest and Conservation Workers

Forest and conservation workers perform physical labor to improve the quality of natural areas such as forests, rangelands, and wetlands.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,940
Landscape architects Landscape Architects

Landscape architects design parks and other outdoor spaces.

Bachelor's degree $79,320
Surveying and mapping technicians Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth's surface.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,940
Surveyors Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor's degree $68,540
Urban and regional planners Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities in cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and other jurisdictions.

Master's degree $81,800
Geological and petroleum technicians Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources.

Associate's degree $53,440
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Cartographers and Photogrammetrists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/cartographers-and-photogrammetrists.htm (visited June 10, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.