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Reading this, I am most shocked that there are still that many mapmakers -- the age of exploration is long past and I guessed that the few updates that are necessary (renaming the cities and updating country borders, add a new street here and there) was pretty much done by a couple of guys on a computer, somewhere.

Retail political and topographic maps are a relatively small part of the work load of most cartographic studios.

Forestry and petroleum exploration require constant updating and presentation techniques.

Precipitation and drainage maps are extremely useful in agriculture.

Aviation section charts are updated quarterly.

Most vineyards, large farms, and ranches have probably had custom mapping done at some point.

It's actually a pretty fascinating field when you appreciate the breadth of data that is regularly correlated to maps.

I think you have to take into account that making maps are about choice and map designers spend a great deal on figuring out what should be on those maps and how, not just what data do we have access to.

Just because there are web-developers does not mean you don't need a designer :)

Even if you exclude the presentation side of map making most utility companies have a small department whose job is simply to maintain the landbase data, getting updates from multiple sources (developers, local authorities, etc.) converting and sanitizing that data, and making sure it's all there as a reference for the engineers so they can plan how to wire up a new estate and connect it to the existing network. There are various national (and international) spatial data initiatives to come up with standardized data models for all of this to make these processes easier, but I think that may increase the appetite for data. I know of applications pulling together hundreds of such sources, and I think they are going to become more common.

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