“Hasn’t everything been mapped already?” is often one of the first questions I am asked after I tell people that I am a cartographer. Well almost, if you’re only considering physical geography. However, if you consider all stories with a geographic context that have yet to be told, then no, there is much more work to be done. I have been working as a professional cartographer in the Washington DC area for more than 20 years and am creating new maps with unique stories every day. Whether it’s geopolitical disputes between nations or the location of a significant event for a few individuals, there are always new maps to be made.
I didn't dream of being a cartographer when I was a kid. Maybe it was all that traveling I did during family vacations. I remember several cross-country trips from my home in southern Arizona to visit my grandmother in Michigan. We took a slightly different route each time to make the trip seem more like an adventure than just a means of getting from point A to point B.
I watched landscape transform from the arid desert I called home to the humid farmland of the Midwest as we approached my grandmother's house. Seeing so many different places along the way always made me curious about what else might be out there that I haven't seen. I remember flipping through copies of National Geographic Magazine dreaming of visiting all the exotic places that were captured by amazing photographers.
I'm fortunate to have an occupation that I am passionate about that allows me the means to pursue my passion for exploration, travel, and photography.