The possibilities for map making have expanded considerably alongside advancements in digital mapping. Today's technologies have made it possible for many more map designers to access sophisticated mapping software and huge volumes of spatial information that would have been too expensive or too cumbersome to store just a few short years ago.
Perhaps one of the underrated benefits of these advancements is that it is now possible for maps to be created for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from maps that help aid disaster relief workers to maps created in assisting agriculture, building construction, urban planning and environmental protection.
Despite the dramatic evolution in how maps are designed and the kinds of information it is now possible to show with them, many fundamentals of cartography remain the same as they were decades ago. Today's cartography brings together geographic science, technical and artistic skills. This remains a key combination of skills for modern cartography.
Because maps are tools for communication, cartographers must be able to assess spatial data, determine its relevance to the information they want the viewer to understand and determine the best way to showcase that information. Furthermore, creative skills are essential to displaying the appropriate information in a user-friendly manner and to make the information easily understood by map viewers.