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Learn cartography with online courses and programs

Mapmaking is the practice of creating visual representations of geographical and natural borders, land formations, and other features of the physical landscape. Explore cartography techniques and discoveries throughout history with classes on edX.

What is cartography?

Cartography is the art and science of creating accurate and visually engaging maps for a variety of purposes. Ancient civilizations created maps as a means of recording the world around them, and their maps can help modern societies understand environmental changes over time.

Maps and mapmaking have evolved as technology has become more advanced. Drone and satellite imagery have contributed to more accurate and detailed maps. Virtual and augmented reality can place people inside the maps themselves, allowing them to explore historic and current lands from nearly anywhere in the world.

While cartography has its roots in the second century, it is an important field of study that can benefit so many different professions today. Maps can reveal important information from the past, help people get where they need to go, and even uncover places never seen before. Explore the exciting world of cartography with courses on edX.

Cartography | Introduction Image Description

Cartography course curriculum

Learning about cartography can give you a greater appreciation for global history and geography, and help you see the world from a different perspective. Understanding the basics of mapmaking, such as map types and their uses, coordinate systems, and designing and scaling, can provide helpful context as you move through your education.

Once you have a foundational understanding of cartography principles, you can move on to learning about different techniques used within the field. Courses might include lessons on geographic data sources, cartographic projection, and web mapping, which may involve opportunities to apply technical tools to mapmaking activities.

Even existing cartographers can keep up with the ever-evolving field with online coursework. You can stay on top of industry trends and advanced topics like geospatial analysis, remote sensing, map automation, and specialized mapping techniques.

Learning about cartography can supplement your knowledge of history and geography. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible, hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore cartography jobs

You can use cartography skills to do more than just make maps. Mapmaking courses are a great way to enhance your existing knowledge and propel your career path. Here are some of the roles that can benefit from understanding cartography:

  • Remote sensing specialist: Creates maps and analyzes changes in landscapes, vegetation, urban development, and more.Footnote 1

  • Navigation systems developer: Designs accurate and up-to-date maps that enable real-time navigation and route planning.Footnote 2

  • Urban planner: Creates city maps that incorporate zoning regulations, infrastructure plans, and demographic data.Footnote 3

  • Archaeologist: Creates maps of archaeological sites, historical landscapes, and excavation areas that help them analyze spatial relationships and plan digs.Footnote 4

  • Real estate developer: Creates maps for real estate development projects, showing land parcels, infrastructure layouts, and property boundaries.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in a boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in engineering, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.

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