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Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Cartographer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • the armed forces


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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • geospatial and mapping science specialist degree apprenticeship
  • geospatial survey technician advanced apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You may be able to get into this job by starting as a trainee cartographic technician and working your way up.

Employers may expect you to have completed:

  • an apprenticeship in geospatial surveying
  • A levels in geography, art and design, mathematics or computing
  • a relevant level 3 course

Other Routes

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

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

More Information

Career tips

You can find cartography jobs in the private and public sector.

Look for opportunities with:

  • Ordnance Survey
  • local and national government departments
  • transport companies
  • publishing companies
  • surveying or oil companies
  • the armed services

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Cartographic Society for networking, information resources and career development support.

Further information

You can find out more about a career in cartography from:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • use desktop publishing and specialist computer software
  • design digital or paper based maps
  • check maps and charts are accurate and to scale
  • edit maps by adding or removing new roads, structures or landmarks
  • collect and analyse data from remote sensors on satellites and planes
  • use GIS to model and analyse landscape features
  • plot the heights and positions of geographical features from photographs
  • carry out surveys of the land, sea or coastal areas

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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 as a consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Geospatial Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,000 a year Annually
  • Location: LONDON

Apprentice Geospatial Surveyor

  • Wage: £16,770 a year Annually
  • Location: Haywards Heath, West Sussex

Courses In England


  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Slough


  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Wilmington

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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