People sometimes ask me if cartography is dead. Students wonder if they should pick something else to stake a career in. Professionals wonder if their business will dry up soon. No one really knows what’s coming, or if “cartographer” is soon to be listed alongside “cooper” and “cartwright” in the tally of occupations of yesteryear.
In a field disrupted by massive technological changes, uneasiness about the future is commonplace. Twenty years ago a map was a piece of paper, now it’s a bunch of pixels on your smartphone. Graphic artists have given way to software engineers. No one quite knows what they’re doing anymore, or if they have the right skill set to cope with the next big development. Or if it will even be economically feasible for human labor to be much involved in mapmaking at all.
Cartography is not dead, but its survival requires thoughtful redefinition. Right now, many... keep reading