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Cartography, the art and science of creating maps, has always been a crucial tool for understanding and navigating our world. With the rapid advancements in technology, the field of cartography has transformed, integrating digital tools and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). If you are passionate about maps and want to enhance your skills in this fascinating field, taking an online cartography course or obtaining a certification can be a wise choice. In this article, we will explore the ten best cartography courses and certifications available online to help you find the perfect fit for your learning goals.

1. Cartography: Maps, GIS, and Spatial Reasoning Specialization (Coursera)

Offered by the Pennsylvania State University on Coursera, this specialization covers the fundamentals of cartography, GIS, and spatial reasoning. The specialization consists of four courses: “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution,” “The Location Advantage,” “Mapping and the Geospatial Revolution,” and “Earth Imagery at Work.” You will learn how to create effective maps and use GIS tools to analyze spatial data. This specialization is ideal for beginners who want to gain a comprehensive understanding of cartography.

2. Cartography and Map Design (Esri Academy)

Esri Academy, one of the leading providers of GIS software, offers an online course on cartography and map design. This course focuses on developing essential cartographic skills, such as symbolization, color and contrast, map layout, and typography. Through hands-on exercises using Esri’s ArcGIS software, you will gain practical experience in creating visually appealing and informative maps. The course is suitable for both beginners and intermediate cartographers looking to improve their design skills.

3. Learning Cartography (LinkedIn Learning)

LinkedIn Learning provides a comprehensive course on cartography taught by renowned cartographer and professor Jill Clarke. In this course, you will explore the principles of cartographic design, spatial relationships, and map projections. Through various case studies and practical exercises, you will learn how to create maps that effectively communicate geospatial information. The course also covers digital mapping techniques using ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional, this course will help you refine your cartography skills.

4. Cartography Basics (Udemy)

Udemy offers a beginner-friendly course that focuses on the fundamentals of cartography. Taught by Kaliardos Maps, a professional cartographer, this course covers topics such as map scale, coordinate systems, topographic maps, and symbolization. You will also learn how to create thematic maps to represent data visually. The course includes hands-on exercises using free and open-source software, making it accessible for learners on a budget. By the end of the course, you will have a solid foundation in cartography principles.

5. Applied Cartography and Geovisualization (Coursera)

Developed by the University of Toronto, this online course on Coursera delves deeper into the technical aspects of cartography. You will learn advanced cartographic principles, geovisualization techniques, and how to effectively represent data on maps. The course also covers interactive web maps using tools like Leaflet.js and D3.js. If you have a background in GIS and want to expand your knowledge and skills in cartography, this course is an excellent choice.

6. Fundamentals of GIS (Esri Academy)

A solid understanding of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is essential for modern cartographers. Esri Academy offers this online course that provides a comprehensive introduction to GIS. You will learn about spatial data management, data analysis, and cartographic practices using Esri’s ArcGIS software. The course also covers the fundamentals of geospatial data analysis, remote sensing, and data visualization. This course is suitable for beginners who want to learn GIS and its relevance to cartography.

7. Maps and the Geospatial Revolution (Penn State World Campus)

This self-paced online course offered by Penn State World Campus provides an overview of the geospatial revolution and its impact on various industries. You will explore the history of cartography, the development of GIS technology, and the increasing importance of spatial thinking. The course also covers the ethical and privacy concerns associated with geospatial data. If you are interested in the broader applications of cartography and GIS, this course is an excellent choice.

8. GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization (Coursera)

This specialization offered by the University of Toronto on Coursera focuses on GIS, mapping, and spatial analysis for urban planning and policy. It consists of three courses: “GIS Data Acquisition and Map Design,” “GIS Data Formats, Design, and Quality,” and “Geospatial and Environmental Analysis.” You will learn how to collect, analyze, and visualize geospatial data for urban planning projects. The specialization is designed for professionals and students interested in urban planning and policy analysis.

9. Advanced Cartography (Udacity)

Udacity’s advanced cartography course aims to guide learners in creating highly detailed and visually compelling maps. Taught by experienced cartographer Olivier Burri, you will delve into advanced techniques such as hill shading, 3D mapping, and thematic mapping. The course focuses on using open-source tools and libraries, giving you the flexibility to explore different software options. If you are looking to elevate your cartography skills to an advanced level, this course is an excellent choice.

10. GIS Specialization (University of California, Davis)

This online specialization offered by the University of California, Davis on Coursera focuses on GIS applications in environmental and public health analysis. The specialization consists of four courses: “Fundamentals of GIS,” “GIS Data Formats, Design, and Ethical Issues,” “Geospatial and Environmental Analysis,” and “Imagery, Automation, and Applications.” The courses cover spatial data analysis, remote sensing, and the use of GIS in environmental and health-related research. This specialization is ideal for professionals seeking to apply GIS in environmental and public health contexts.


As the field of cartography continues to evolve, gaining knowledge and skills in this area becomes increasingly valuable. Whether you are a beginner looking to explore the basic principles of cartography or an experienced professional seeking to advance your skills, these online cartography courses and certifications provide a wealth of opportunities. Choose the course or certification that aligns with your goals and embark on a rewarding journey to become a proficient cartographer. By investing in your cartography education, you can open doors to exciting career prospects and contribute to the creation of accurate and visually engaging maps.