Online Cartography Courses and Degrees

Online cartography courses are often available through master's degree or certificate programs in geographic information science. Learn about these programs, the required coursework and careers in the field. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Online certificates and master's degree programs in geographic information science or similar fields can help students learn about cartography. There are a number of programs that are available with fully online formats, though some programs may require brief periods on campus.

Programs Various graduate certificates and master's degree programs
Online Fully available online, with internships or in-person course attendance sometimes required
Courses Cartography, geophysical environments, positioning systems, advanced remote sensing, environmental resource allocation, database management, map interpretation, spatial thinking, aerial photography

What Online Cartography Programs Are Available to Me?

If you are interested in cartography, consider an online graduate certificate or master's degree program in geographic information science (GISc). GISc is the use of global positioning systems, remote sensing satellites, aerial photography and other geographic information systems (GIS) technologies to gather and analyze data used in map making.

A 1-year or 2-year online graduate certificate program can familiarize you with the cartographic theory and GIS technology you will need to create topographical maps, erosion assessments or other geospatial models. You may also be able to transfer certificate courses into a GISc master's degree program. A Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science is one available option, as is a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology.

What About Master's and Doctoral Programs?

Online master's degree programs may be offered as a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science, a Master of Geographic Information Systems or a Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology. A less common option is a Master of Science in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence. These 2-year master's programs focus on analyzing geospatial data or creating applications for GIS technologies, such as databases. You may also map and record data to support a capstone thesis or independent study project.

What Will I Learn in Online Courses?

In an online GISc certificate program, introductory cartography courses will teach you how to record information about the earth's physical environment, including its atmosphere and landforms. In a GISc master's degree program, you'll take on more advanced topics, such as how GIS equipment can be customized to make survey projects more efficient. Typical course topics may include the following:

  • Advanced remote sensing
  • Aerial photography
  • Database management
  • Map interpretation
  • Spatial thinking
  • Recording data about water, soil and vegetation
  • Hardware/software of GIS technologies
  • Interactive maps
  • Development of GIS applications

Can I Complete All Coursework Online?

Some of these programs require a few face-to-face meetings with your instructors, through on-campus labs or off-campus field trips. GISc certificate programs may also require an internship of ten weeks or more. If you already work in the field, internship requirements can be completed at your place of business. If you're looking for a new career, the program may find a nearby internship opportunity for you.

Some master's degree programs require that you attend week-long training excursions, where you will gather geospatial data and apply it to GIS technologies. If this is the case, you must ensure you can be at the designated location to complete coursework.

How Will Online Programs Differ from Those On Campus?

Many online degrees and certificate programs offer the same curriculum as on-campus programs and are often taught by the same faculty. The main difference is that online courses allow you to complete assignments or access course materials at your own pace.

What Can I Do with this Degree?

If you have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as geography, a graduate certificate in GISc can provide you with the technical skills you will need for a job as a cartographer or surveyor. These mapping professionals most commonly work for architectural firms and government agencies, such as urban planning or land management departments, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). You may also want to consider a certificate program if you already work in the field and need to update your skills.

Once you graduate from a GISc master's degree program, you can seek careers in public planning and design or geospatial project management. Graduates often find work in any field that relies on geospatial data to solve problems, such as business, environmental science or public health.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

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  • Strayer University

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    • Master

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  • Johns Hopkins University

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    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • Regent University

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  • Argosy University

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    Popular programs at Argosy University:

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  • Brenau University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Central Christian College of Kansas

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