Job options

Jobs directly related to Geography:

  • Cartographer
  • Commercial/residential surveyor
  • Environmental consultant
  • Geographical information systems officer
  • Planning and development surveyor
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Town planner

Cartographer

Hours 30-40 per week
Starting salary £18,000 + per year

In this job you would produce maps and other detailed geographical charts. This information can be used in many ways - from maps for everyday use, to specialised charts used in industry, surveying or the military. You would use the latest high-tech equipment and techniques to collect geographic information. You would then convert the data into visual images and graphs.

In this job you need a keen interest in geography and the environment. You need a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. You also need patience.

To work as a cartographer, you will usually need a degree in a relevant subject.

The work

Your work could include:

  • using desktop publishing and specialist computer software
  • producing and editing maps, for example, adding colour, symbols and scales
  • checking maps and charts are accurate and to scale
  • collecting and analysing data from remote sensors, satellites and other sources
  • working closely with surveyors and designers
  • using geographical information systems (GIS) to model and analyse landscape features
  • using digital photogrammetric equipment to plot the heights and positions of geographical features from aerial photographs
  • carrying out topographic (land) and hydrographic (marine) surveys.
  • With experience, you might also manage projects and staff. 

Town planner

Hours 35-40 per week
Starting salary £16,000 + per year

As a town planner (or spatial planner) you would help to shape the way towns and cities develop. This involves balancing the competing demands placed on land by housing, business, transport and leisure, and making sure plans meet the economic and social needs of the community. If you are interested in urban environments, and you can see different viewpoints and make fair decisions, this job might suit you well.

To be good at this job you would also need to be a good communicator and negotiator. You would need knowledge of local planning policies and procedures. You would need report writing skills.

To work as a town planner you need a qualification accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). You can qualify by studying for an RTPI-accredited degree in Town Planning. Alternatively, you can qualify by doing an RTPI-accredited postgraduate course, if you have a degree in a relevant subject such as surveying, architecture, statistics, geography or environmental science.

The work

Your work could cover different aspects of planning and development including:

planning for housing to create affordable, energy efficient homes
managing transport growth and encouraging public transport schemes
redesigning street layouts to improve public safety, and reduce traffic and crime
developing parks, woodland and waterways in a sustainable way
conserving old buildings, archaeological sites and areas of interest
ruling on planning applications
enforcing planning controls, for instance on building work that has started without permission
hearing concerns about planning proposals from local people and businesses.
You would also assess the potential impact that developments, such as new road building, might have on an area. To do this, you would use surveying techniques, geographical information systems (GIS) and computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans and make recommendations to local and regional councils.