Air Cartographers are crucial to helping our forces fly safe and successful missions. They create and edit key documents used by UK Armed Forces, foreign air forces and some civilian airlines.
- Create maps that show airways over countries
- Update charts to help pilots take off and land safely
- Edit cartography books
Similar civilian roles include Commercial cartographer, Civil service cartographer, Air traffic controller or Environmental computer modeller.
RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.
Scroll down to explore the opportunities as an Air Cartographer in the RAF.
In the RAF
‘I work in the mission planning section, where we supply all the RAF squadrons with data such as maps and digital information. It’s a really varied role — one day I could be supplying information for the transport of a VIP, the next day it could be a mission.’
‘We’ve recently been upgrading to a new map system, adding a lot more detail. That involved removing, updating and replacing all the digital map disks, and changing the application settings. It’s really cutting-edge stuff, very technical. Our maps contain all sorts of detailed information on the terrain, from elevation and landscape data, to where power lines are located.’
David, Air Cartographer
Full Time Regular
Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.
The next step is a 12-week specialist training course at the School of Air Cartography at RAF Northolt. This course is designed to give you a basic understanding of your role and prepare you for your first section. The training will also provide you with the opportunity to gain a DAO Level 4 Certificate in Aeronautical Cartography (QCF).
There are opportunities to attain qualifications in Geospatial Analysis and, as your career progresses, we’ll continue to train you in new technical skills as well as skills in management and leadership.
Your First Tour
You’ll work in one of our departments on takeoff and landing charts, charts of the airways, fast jet and helicopter charts, or analysing an information database.
You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement. After completing one year’s total service, you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman, providing you pass a Trade Ability Test and Basic Trade Training. Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection.
Many of the software packages that we use are industry standard and skills are easily transferable. The Diploma you can earn is as valuable in the civilian world as it is in the RAF – which means that whenever you leave the Service, you’ll be well placed to find a job in commercial or civil service cartography.
THIS ROLE REQUIRES YOU TO TAKE THE AIRMAN SELECTION TEST
Full Time Regular
RAF Regular Registration
You will now be directed to the REGULAR registration form.