“Cartography is not dead, but its survival requires thoughtful redefinition. Right now, many of us are not quite sure what cartography involves anymore, and plenty of people who are being paid to make maps aren’t sure if they should call themselves cartographers. There’s a lack of direction, I think, and we’re wondering what will happen to our field next. But rather than waiting for the future to happen to us, I believe cartographers need to clearly assert their role in that future. Instead of being defined by outside forces, we need to tell people that “this is what cartographers do, and here is the valuable part we can play in the new order.” To my mind, the role we articulate must focus on aesthetics and design.”
The advent of the combination of inexpensive drone technology coupled with advanced mapping software will no doubt change the role of the cartographer for good. Menci Software, an Italian software developer and provider of GIS software products has a variety of inexpensive solutions in the digital cartography space. An interesting case study using the senseFly Swinglet Cam.
Last year, Engadget highlighted a $600 kit for unmanned cartography.
The kit included “a pre-assembled Skywalker airframe, 1250 kV brushless motor, motor speed controller, 4x servos, all the requisite cables and the ArduPilot Mega 2.0 autopilot system — which handles GPS, flight data logs and pressure monitoring. In terms of performance, the drone cruises at a speed of 25MPH with a flight time of around an hour on a 5000mAh battery. The E382 makes use of a point and shoot camera to handle the cartography duties.”