I have now been rejected on 5 jobs asking for mappers on the pure basis that I am a programmer. I don't get interviews and when I ask I get response of "You are a programmer and we wanted a mapper with programming experience".

I have my basics, I can use ArcMap, configure ArcSDE, understand coordinate systems. I have experience writing ESRI add-in code in ArcMap and direct code accessing the server without ArcMap. I understand how the spatial type is implemented and know how to create a matching UDT in accordance to OGC. I am familiar with the basic spatial operations.

I know that I am missing some things (possibly a lot of things), but nobody wants to tell me what they are. So please tell me. Please assume some generality, I want to know what most programmers lack when compared to mappers, just listed my case to prove motive.

Note: Open source GIS is coming next.


1 Answer 1


Possibly one of the most important is an eye for Cartography. Mapmaking is part science, which it sounds like you've got pretty much down, and part art. Sometimes the hard things can be intangibles such as what colour ramp is suitable for a particular dataset and how to minimise clutter. You don't mention experience of these things. I'm not saying they are as hard as programming to learn, but they may take time and experience.

At the end of the days, maps are created and viewed by people, not computers, and perhaps it's this experience of simplifying complex data into a map fit for human consumption that you are lacking, as well as working with real life data.