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Career and Education Opportunities for Cartographers in Boston, Massachusetts

Cartographers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Boston, Massachusetts area. About 210 people are currently employed as cartographers in Massachusetts. By 2016, this is expected to grow 19% to 250 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for cartographers, which sees this job pool growing by about 26.8% over the next eight years. Cartographers generally collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.

The average wage in the general category of Surveying jobs is $22 per hour or $45,720 per year in Massachusetts, and an average of $22 per hour or $45,476 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: photogrammetric technician, topographical field assistant, and field map editor.

There are 151 schools of higher education in the Boston area, including four within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can get a degree to start your career as a cartographer. The most common level of education for cartographers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn 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 Boston 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

Salem State College - Salem, MA

Salem State College, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 01970. Salem State College is a large college located in Salem, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,168 students and an admission rate of 58%. Salem State College has a bachelor's degree and a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Cartography which graduated two and five students respectively in 2008.

Wentworth Institute of Technology - Boston, MA

Wentworth Institute of Technology, 550 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115. Wentworth Institute of Technology is a small school located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,283 students. Wentworth Institute of Technology has a less than one year program in Surveying Technology/Surveying.

Northeastern University - Boston, MA

Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115-5000. Northeastern University is a large university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,368 students and an admission rate of 35%. Northeastern University has an associate's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying.

University of Massachusetts-Boston - Boston, MA

University of Massachusetts-Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125-3393. University of Massachusetts-Boston is a large university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,117 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Massachusetts-Boston has a less than one year program in Cartography which graduated four students 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: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.