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Career and Education Opportunities for Cartographers in San Diego, California

Cartographer career and educational opportunities abound in San Diego, California. There are currently 1,100 working cartographers in California; this should grow by 27% to 1,400 working cartographers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for cartographers are expected to grow by about 26.8%. In general, cartographers collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.

A person working as a cartographer can expect to earn about $29 hourly or $60,620 yearly on average in California and about $24 hourly or $51,180 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Surveying, people working as cartographers in California earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Surveying nationally. Jobs in this field include: cartographic designer, stereoplotter operator, and geospatial specialist.

There are sixty schools of higher education in the San Diego area, including two within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can get a degree to start your career as a cartographer. Given that the most common education level for cartographers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a cartographer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Cartographer

In general, cartographers collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data. They also research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, and design purposes.

Cartographers revise existing maps and charts, making all needed corrections and adjustments. They also compile data required for map preparation, including aerial photographs and original maps. Equally important, cartographers have to inspect final compositions to insure completeness and accuracy. They are often called upon to examine and analyze data from ground surveys and satellite images to ready topographic maps, aerial-photograph mosaics, and related charts. They are expected to decide on map content and layout, as well as production specifications such as scale and colors, and direct production to insure that specifications are followed. Finally, cartographers identify and orient geodetic points and other planimetric or topographic features, applying standard mathematical formulas.

Every day, cartographers are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for cartographers to collect data related to specific features of the Earth using aerial photography and other digital remote sensing techniques. They are often called upon to decide on aerial photographic and remote sensing techniques and plotting equipment needed to meet required standards of accuracy. They also delineate aerial photographic detail such as control points and cultural features using precision stereoplotting apparatus or drafting instruments. They are sometimes expected to build and update digital databases. Somewhat less frequently, cartographers are also expected to decide on guidelines that specify which source material is acceptable for use.

Cartographers sometimes are asked to study legal records to determine boundaries of local and international properties. and travel over photographed areas to monitor and verify all relevant features. And finally, they sometimes have to decide on map content and layout, as well as production specifications such as scale and colors, and direct production to insure that specifications are followed.

Like many other jobs, cartographers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Diego include:

  • Civil Draftsman. Prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.
  • Survey Technician. Adjust and operate surveying instruments, such as the theodolite and electronic distance-measuring equipment, and compile notes, make sketches and enter data into computers.
  • Surveying Technician. Calculate mapmaking information from field notes, and draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.
  • Surveyor. Make exact measurements and determine property boundaries. Provide data relevant to the shape, contour, or dimension of land or land features on or near the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking, and other purposes.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Cartographer Training

Cuyamaca College - El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pky, El Cajon, CA 92019. Cuyamaca College is a medium sized college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,926 students. Cuyamaca College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated one, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has a one to two year program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Photogrammetric Techonologist: This certification is designed for technicians who perform or supervises technical photogrammetric tasks to extract spatial data from photographic or digital imagery and other remotely-sensed data.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Certified Remote Sensing Technologist: This certification is for technicians who perform or supervise tasks to interpret, manipulate, extract, process and convert remotely sensed data from photographic or digital imagery and other remotely-sensed data.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Certified GIS/LIS Technologist: This is certification is for technicians who integrate a variety of spatial data sets into a GIS format designed for graphic output or analysis.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Geographical Information Systems Professional: The GISP certification program was founded on the principle that real-world work experience combined with education and professional association activities could serve as a proxy for a comprehensive exam on the basics of geographic information science and technology (GIS&T).

For more information, see the GIS Certification Institute website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.