Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Cartographers in Seattle, Washington

There are many career and education opportunities for cartographers in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 420 jobs for cartographers in Washington and this is projected to grow 19% to about 500 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for cartographers are expected to grow by about 26.8%. Cartographers generally collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data.

The income of a cartographer is about $31 per hour or $64,510 annually on average in Washington. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $24 per hour or $51,180 annually on average. Cartographers earn more than people working in the category of Surveying generally in Washington and more than people in the Surveying category nationally. Jobs in this field include: gis specialist , cad draftsman , and map editor.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a cartographer. Cartographers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Seattle 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

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated nineteen and two students respectively in 2008.

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has an associate's degree program in Surveying Technology/Surveying which graduated three 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.