Maths

Cartographer

Cartographers collect information about the geography of an area to design and produce maps, charts and plans.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37

1%
Future employment

There will be 1% more Cartographer jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

In this role you could be :

  • using desktop publishing and specialist computer software
  • designing digital or paper based maps
  • checking maps and charts are accurate and to scale
  • editing maps, adding and removing new roads, structures or landmarks
  • collecting and analysing data from remote sensors on satellites and planes
  • using GIS to model and analyse landscape features
  • plotting the heights and positions of geographical features from aerial photographs
  • carrying out topographic surveys of the land and hydrographic surveys of the sea and coastal areas

You could work in an office.

University

You can take a degree in:

  • geography
  • geographical information systems (GIS)
  • land surveying
  • earth sciences
  • oceanography

Employers may also accept degrees in other subjects like computer science, software engineering or graphic design.

A postgraduate qualification may help you to find work in a specialist field of cartography like GIS.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

Apprenticeship

You could complete a geospatial survey technician advanced apprenticeship, or geospatial mapping degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Further Information

If you want to work as a cartographer in the armed forces, you can apply to the British army as a geographic technician, or the Royal Air Force as an air cartographer.

After you leave the services, you could use your experience to find work in commercial cartography and mapping.

You can find out more about a career in cartography from the British Cartographic Society and Ordnance Survey.


£18,000 to £45,000

Starter salary: £18,000 to £22,000

Experienced salary: £30,000

If you’re freelance, you’ll set your own rates.

These figures are a guide.

37

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may have to work longer to meet deadlines for publication, or when finishing a project.

You’ll usually be based in an office and spend most of your time working with computers.

With experience you could become a senior cartographer and manage mapping projects and staff. 

If you specialise in working with GIS, you could apply for Chartered Geographer (GIS) status



You could also work on a freelance basis, but you’ll need your own mapping equipment.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register