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Cartographers draw up and revise maps of the earth's surface, and make this information available to the user in a format that is easy to use.

Cartographers work closely with surveyors and geologists and make use of a number of sources for their work including aerial photographs, field reports, historical manuscripts and other charts and statistical reports. They produce charts using photolithography, drawing and etching techniques.

They also work with computer programs and photogrammetry (the science of accurately plotting maps and plans from photographs taken with calibrated cameras, usually from the air, but occasionally also from ground stations), which gives a three-dimensional perspective of the landscape.

Cartography is concerned with four different map processes:

- linework: sketching lines and engraving
- colour separation: the preparation of different masks for each separate colour for multi-colour maps)
- positioning of letters and symbols
- reproduction of maps

The types of maps produced depend on the purpose for which the maps are required. These may include:

- topographical maps
- maritime charts
- cadastral maps that show farm boundaries
- climatic maps indicating variance in climatic parameters
- road maps, street plans and tourist maps
- geographical and geological maps
- town and regional structure plans.
- aeronautical charts and maps, which indicate routes and provide navigational information

Cartographers usually work in well-equipped offices. The sophistication and standard of the equipment depend on the financial resources of the employer.

Satisfying Aspects
- the original nature of one's work
- variety of work
- working with pens, inks and printing materials
- producing works of art

Demanding aspects
- having always to be accurate and precise
- getting smudged with ink in the course of one's work

A cartographer should:
- be not necessarily artistic, but at least able to put ideas on paper
- be precise and neat
- be able to work patiently and accurately
- have manual dexterity and good eye-hand coordination
- have good colour discrimination
- have a flair for figures
- have an interest in Geography.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Physical Sciences, Geography

Aspirant cartographers apply for posts as learner drawers with potential employers. If accepted, they undergo theoretical training at a university of technology and practical training with the employer concerned, under the supervision of an experienced cartographer.

Diploma: National Diploma: Cartography is a 3-year course offered at the CPUT and TUT. Students receive 2 years' theoretical training at the university of technology and 1 year’s practical training with their employer.

- Various government departments
- Large municipalities
- Private concerns
- Mining companies
- Photogrammetric enterprises
- Universities and universities of technology
- Research institutions

Chief Directorate: Surveys and Land Information
Private Bag X10
Mowbray, 7705
Tel. (021) 685-4070