862. A Day in the Life–What's It Really Like to Be a Cartographer?
Hans van der Maarel
Hans van der Maarel is a professional cartographer from The Netherlands. He runs his own business, Red Geographics and is a partner in another company, One Stop Map. Red Geographics focuses on map production for a wide range of international clients as well as reselling and supporting software products for the cartographic market. This also involves developing production workflows for clients and offering consultancy and training courses. One Stop Map is a website selling stock digital maps but also takes on custom map production projects, again for a wide range of clients. In his spare time he enjoys cycling and photography (sometimes together).
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I was 14 and I didn’t really have any ideas about what I wanted to become regarding my career, but I was going to have to make that decision about which subjects to pick for the next three years. So my school offered a job fair, which included a job aptitude test and also a conversation with a job guidance counselor during which they talked about what are your interests? What do you like to do? What are you good at, etc.? And I happened to mention just randomly, ‘Oh yeah, I like maps.’ And then the guy I was talking to said, you know what, I think you can study that. And so he looked something up and he gave me contact details of a college, which offered a four-year course in cartographer leading up to a bachelor’s in science degree. So I went to one of their open houses. I remember walking into this big classroom and there’s a number of large tables all full of maps. My initial thought was, I’m home.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work out straight away. Just keep going at it. Don’t feel like you’re not good enough. Anybody can learn this practice.
2. There are a couple of colleges and universities that offer courses online. Penn State, in the U.S., has been offering a massive online, open course. So that might be a very good step to start with. ESRI is a commercial organization out of Redlands, California, and they’re pretty much the market leader in this field of work.
3. After graduating with my degree in cartography I was hired by a former colleague as the first employee of his cartography business, where I literally learned everything about running a business from the ground up.
4. After 5 years I opened my own business and was fortunate that a client from my past business committed to buying my services for at least a year—which financed the whole enterprise.
5. My work is a nice balance between using my talents as a cartographer and as a businessman who markets top-of-the-line software products and training courses for the cartographic market.
Connecting With Hans van der Maarel
Subscribe to the Podcast Free: