Online courses in cartography are typically offered at the graduate level. Classes are geared toward students pursuing careers in geographical science.
- Introductory GIS Course: Usually taken at the beginning of an online cartography program, this class provides instruction on the principles and theories surrounding geographic information science. Distance students learn to conduct research focusing on geography.
- Cartography and Visualization Course: In this class, enrollees learn the basics of computerized map reading. Aspiring GIS professionals learn techniques critical to computer-based mapmaking. This course is usually taken toward the beginning of a master’s degree program.
- GIS Database Development Course: Online students learn to construct databases containing information and statistics relevant to geographic information science in this course, which is typically offered at the intermediate stage of a graduate program in cartography. Future mapmakers gain firm knowledge of the software used to create GIS databases.
- Internet Mapping Course: Students learn the fundamentals of Internet mapping systems using software applications, creating Web-generated maps for different types of use. This course is usually taken toward the end of a master’s degree program.
- Remote Sensing Course: In this course, students explore how remote sensing technologies can be used to study and map land and ocean features. They study applications such as the mapping of natural resources and the identification of oceanographic features that can be included on maps.
- Project Management Course: This course provides aspiring cartographers with the management skills needed to plan and implement successful GIS projects. Areas of emphasis include communication, risk mitigation, quality assurance and resource allocation determination.
Academic institutions offer cartography degree programs entirely online, as well as in hybrid formats that require learners to complete some coursework on campus. Usually presented at the master’s degree level, online cartography courses might be part of programs such as Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST), Master of Geographic Information Sciences (MGIS) or Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Students may need to complete an internship, write a thesis and/or carry out a major project. Specialized geography, mapmaking and/or GIS software may be required for some online courses.
Aspiring cartographers can take online courses that cover the techniques and technologies used for mapmaking through graduate-level GIS courses.