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What is Cartography?

  • For centuries, maps have been an important tool for understanding and navigating the world. Cartography is the study of the science and practice of creating maps. Cartography combines science, aesthetics and technology and is based on the assumption that reality can be modelled in such a way that spatial information is effectively transmitted.

  • Maps connect with the physical world through the lens of time, perspective and storytelling. With almost guaranteed accuracy, new possibilities for visualizing rooms have emerged. By mixing art, experience and topography, maps represent a new way of thinking about the human experience of space.

  • Modern cartography has led to the creation of many digital tools. These improve the accuracy of traditional maps. Modern cartographic tools also contribute to better accessibility. They're used in urban planning, public education, public security programs and more. Location intelligence is also an integral part of modern cartography and disaster management.

  • In cartography, technology has changed constantly to meet the needs of new generations. The emergence of magnetic devices such as a compass and magnetic storage increased the accuracy of maps and opening the possibility of saving and editing them digitally.

  • Advancement of mechanical devices enabled the mass production of maps and makes it possible to generate exact reproductions from more accurate data.

What are the classifications for Cartography?

Modern cartography on theory and practice very much inspired by geographic information systems. It can be divided into two general categories.

  • General cartography
  • Thematic cartography

General cartography maps are created for general audiences. They contain a variety of functions. General maps, often produced in series, have many references and location systems.

Thematic cartography includes maps on specific geographic topics aimed at specific target groups. A few examples could be a dot map showing production or a shaded map broken down into numerical classes. In the past century, geographic data exploded.

Thematic cartography became necessary to interpret spatial, cultural and social data. They combine general map elements with thematic attributes to create maps for specific target groups.

What is the job description of cartographers?

  • Cartographers develop maps for a range of clients. This can be mapped for military purpose to geological charts used by industries, as well as everyday maps detailing roads and footpaths for tourists or travellers.

  • Cartographers collect, analyze and interpret spatial data, such as latitude, longitude, altitude and distance, as well as non-spatial data, such as Population density, annual rainfall and demographic features.

  • Maps can be digitalised or created in graphic form with information from satellites, LIDAR (Light Imaging Detection and Ranging), aerial cameras and other remote sensing systems for surveying 

  • The job of the cartographer varies from the development and design of geographical information to more strategic and technical work. 

  • Research, studies and prepares electronic maps in paper form or digital form of geographical areas to identify natural and constructed objects, political boundaries and others by desktop publishing, computer graphics and multimedia software for legal, social, political, and educational purposes design.

What is the Admission and Eligibility Criteria?

There are various levels of courses available in cartography. Some of them are listed below. 

Certificate Course in Cartography Eligibility:

  • 10+2 (Geography subject; Duration: 3 months to 1-yr Diploma courses in Cartography
  • Diploma (Geoinformatics) Eligibility: 10+2 with Geography subject Course Duration: 2-3 years Graduate Level courses in Cartography 


  1. B.E. Geoinformatics

  2. B.Tech in Geoinformatics

  3. B.Sc in Geography

  4. B.A. in Geography


  1. Post Graduate Diploma in Geographical Cartography

  2. M.A. Geography

  3. M.E. Geoinformatics

  4. M.Sc. Geography

  5. M.Sc. Geoinformatics

  6. M.Tech. Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS)

Top colleges for Cartography in India

  1. Annamalai University, Chennai

  2. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

  3. Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi

  4. Osmania University, Hyderabad

  5. Indian Institute of Surveying & Mapping, Hyderabad

Popular colleges for Cartography in India

  1. Burdwan University – Bardhaman

  2. MS University, Vadodara

  3. North Orissa University, Baripada

  4. Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur

  5. Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Allahabad

What are the skills required?

Apart from getting a specialized degree, Cartographers must have the following skills

  • Precise and accurate

  • Good interpersonal skills

  • Visualize objects, distances, sizes, and other abstract forms

How much do Cartographers make?

  • Average Base Salary Rs 8,53,863 /yr

  • Average Hourly rate of Rs 411/hr

  • Entry Level salary with 1-3 years of experience is Rs 6,16,555 /yr

  • Senior Level Salary with 8+ years of experience is Rs 10,72,577/yr

Interesting Facts

Hartmann Schedel was among the first cartographers to use the printing press to make maps more available.