Cartographer | Ponder


What do they do?

Cartographers produce maps, charts and plan. From interactive maps to driving directions, they might be used by individuals, businesses, or specific industries (e.g. oceanographic or military).

Although it might sound like a career from centuries gone by, cartographers are more in demand now than ever and jobs are expected to increase over the coming years.

If you love maps and geography, you’re great at researching with good technical skills and design abilities, then a career as a cartographer could suit you down to the ground.


  • researching, collecting, storing, retrieving, evaluating and manipulating data to create political, physical, topographic, climatic, economic, resource, and road maps, as well as maritime charts and others
  • using geographical information systems (GIS) to replicate and study geographical landscapes and features
  • collating and analysing new data from satellites, planes etc. to plot heights and positions of geographical features
  • doing topographic land surveys and hydrographic surveys of the sea and coastal areas
  • using desktop publishing and specialist technical and mapping software to design maps for different media (e.g. digital, interactive, or paper-based)
  • ensuring details are accurate and to scale
  • editing older versions of maps, updating them to include or remove roads, structures and landmarks
  • managing mapping projects and overseeing staff

Skills required:

  • knowledge of geography, environment and maths
  • reliably thorough, accurate, neat, with great attention to detail
  • analytical thinking and tech skills
  • excellent communication skill – verbal, written and report writing
  • outstanding graphic and design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • normal colour vision


You could complete a VET qualification in spatial information services, some courses are even offered online.

Combining a tertiary qualification with an apprenticeship (e.g. GIS Assistant or GIS Officer), could fast track your career and ensure better employment prospects once you’ve completed your apprenticeship.

You could enrol in the AGO Trainee Program with the ADF where you’ll get workplace-based training while completing a Certificate lV in Spatial Information Services.

Your employment prospects could be improved with a degree in cartography, geography, GIS, land surveying, earth sciences, oceanography, civil engineering. You could always begin your career with a VET qualification and go to Uni if you wanted to fast track your career or specialise within this industry.

Some employers could accept degrees in computer science, software engineering or graphic design. Especially with a  major in geographical, spatial or geospatial science, geography, geomatics or surveying could also work.

Average salary $1,958 per week (Source:

Job growth in this area is predicted to be strong.

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