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Updated On - June 24th 2019

Cartography, the study of making maps, is emerging as a sought-after academic field with technological advancements

Have you ever wondered what could be the other disciplines contributing to the navigation application on your smartphone? Or how can we understand the crime rate in a particular geographical region? Studied as a part of geography and gradually being absorbed in engineering education, Cartography - the art, science and technology of manufacturing maps, is one of the core factors behind these services and applications.

"Until the technological boom, Cartography was studied as a branch of geography, but now the domain has transformed. The final output of geoinformatics, remote sensing and global positioning system (GPS) techniques, which are the constituents of cartography, is map making. Many students are not aware of the specialisation but as technology is taking over, geography graduates, engineers and researchers are increasingly becoming aware of the courses available in the field," says R Jaganathan, professor and head, department of Geography, University of Madras.

The components of cartography are applied in various verticals in traffic mapping, location analytics, 3D mapping and town planning. Many Information Technology (IT) companies such as Google and Microsoft are also hiring cartography specialists for developing products that deal with map making.

"Geoinformatics is being studied as a part of technology in various engineering colleges including IITs and NITs. But, the theoretical base of cartography is still at the foundation of these fields. For students to have a successful career, understanding cartography grammar and visualisation science are crucial," says Mary Tahir, professor and head, department of Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia.

Though there are no specialised courses for cartography at the bachelor's level, students interested in the field can start by pursuing a BSc in Geography and can follow their passion by pursuing a PG diploma in Cartography, MTech in Geo Informatics or MSc in Geography, says Tahir.

Many universities including Jamia Millia Islamia, University of Madras, Symbiosis Institute of Geoinformatics, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad, Osmania University, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, offer diploma, master's, PG Diploma in Cartography, geographical cartography, digital cartography, geoinformatics and related fields.

Jaganathan says that cartography student absorbed as a fresher by a small IT organisation can expect a monthly salary of Rs 20,000. Depending on the experience and nature of the job, it can also go up to Rs 1 lakh per month.

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