Kevin Hyers graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in geography in 2014. He joined Williams and Heintz Map Corporation in 2015 and was promoted from the press crew to a role in the pre-press department where he now serves as a cartographer. With a background in GIS and experience with cartographic products, Hyers knows the importance of clarity and purposeful design when it comes to data visualization.
Have you always been interested in cartography? Why did you choose this profession?
I was always interested in maps growing up. I originally thought I would pursue a degree in engineering, but found myself far more engaged as well as passionate and enthusiastic about my studies in geology, and decided to switch to geography when I learned more about GIS.
What does your role as a cartographer at Williams and Heintz entail?
As a cartographer and prep artist I am responsible for ensuring the customer’s map is printed as they have envisioned it—from building a base map and, for example, correcting aeronautical data for Michigan or ensuring the roads come out of the press in the correct shade of red. Many products require coordination with both customers as well as press teams to ensure a high-quality result.
What advice do you have for others just starting out in the GEOINT Community?
Get involved and engage with the opportunities that are there for you such as USGIF’s Young Professionals Group (YPG). Be ambitious and look for things you know will be challenging. There is a lot of value in learning by experience and the more difficult and novel the experience, the more you can learn.
Where do you see cartography going in the next five to 10 years?
I see a lot more automation in the future. With the incorporation of more and more data in map-making, the wealth of information far surpasses what is immediately useful to the user. As generalization tools continue to improve, I see the job of cartography moving toward making less tedious corrections and more toward design. More data will be useful at more scales and resolutions.
What do you like to do outside of work and YPG?
I like to go hiking in the national parks in the area. The Shenandoah National Park has excellent trails and the George Washington National forest is a wealth of exploration. Recently, I’ve been diving into lectures on philosophy and personality.
Photo Credit: Kevin Hyers