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Combine science, aesthetics, technique and the latest data software and equipment for the study and practice of making maps.

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Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Cartography is the study and practice of making maps by combining science, aesthetics and technique. As a cartographer, you are a visual communicator who builds and illustrates maps that are attractive yet functional, so they can be quickly and easily used and understood. You enjoy hands-on learning, detail-oriented work and use the latest data software and equipment. Your work may go on to stand as a valuable cartographic information source for many years.

You study:

  • Open source mapping
  • Animated and interactive cartography
  • Map production
  • Research techniques.

You may participate in map competitions – NSCC students have been recognized by National Geographic and Canadian Geographic for their work.

This program is located at NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). COGS is the Lawrencetown site of Annapolis Valley Campus

Other info

  • Important Abilities and Skills – Good colour and stereoscopic vision are physical requirements of a successful cartographer. Weaknesses in either may restrict your opportunities in this concentration and in future employment.
  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official Criminal Record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • Continue your studies at university. This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

September 2020

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
COGS Lawrencetown Full time In-class Seats available

Admission requirements

  • Undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate in a related field of study such as archaeology, geography, forestry, geology, resource management, urban planning, science engineering, computer science, marketing, fine arts graphic design, commerce, economics or business administration.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio Development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition is valid for the 2020-21 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that tuition values on these pages are for 2019/20 and are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • You are qualified to work in any organization that requires map-making, including government departments such as Parks Canada, Statistics Canada, Agriculture Canada, Department of Natural Resources and provincial tourism departments. You are also in demand by private survey and mapping companies.
  • Our graduates work in Nova Scotia and around the world in a variety of mapping applications. A significant number of graduates have gone on to find successful careers as independent consultants.
  • Additional skills and abilities, including your math, reading and workplace skills, are essential for your success in Trades and Technology programs. Trades and Technology Preparation Checklist (PDF 23KB).

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

COMP 1040 - Programming

COMP 1130 - Programming for Cartography

COMP 1131 - Data Management

CRTY 1001 - Spatial Fundamentals

CRTY 1002 - Fundamentals of GIS

CRTY 1003 - Map Design Fundamentals

CRTY 1012 - GIS Workflows for Cartography

CRTY 1013 - Map Design and Geovisualization

CRTY 1023 - Map Design Techniques

CRTY 1030 - Applied Thematic Project

CRTY 1033 - Web Mapping

CRTY 1035 - Advanced Geovisualization

CRTY 1043 - Map Publishing

CRTY 2000 - Cartography Lab

ENTR 2020 - Entrepreneurial Skills for Cartography

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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