Cartography MSc


Cartography MSc


Master of Science (MSc) in Cartography


Degree program



Accreditation number





4 semesters (2 years)

ECTS credits


Minimum number of students


Maximum number of students


Short description

The goal of this program is to train Cartographers with a professional cartographic approach based on high level theoretical and practical knowledge.

This program is recommended to applicants who wants to able to manage and coordinate cartographic and geoinformatic research projects as well as to have the knowledge and skills to solve traditional cartographic or information technology-based problems.

This program provides students with a broad scale of knowledge in Cartography and Geoinformatics in combination with geography, other earth sciences, information technology, database management, web-based mapping services, etc. Students acquire the theory as well as the methodologies in the development and implementation of the latest visualization technics.

Strength of program

Cartography has become a modern and practical science again with the development of computerization. However, only few higher education institutions offer this training at master level.

The high standard of the training is guaranteed by the highly qualified academic staff. Several of the teachers are involved in the leadership of national and international professional organizations of the related area and in editorial boards of journals in the field. Teaching is supported by modern infrastructure and well-equipped labs. Upper-year students and PhD students help the first-year students in a mentor system to overcome their first challenges at the university.

Compulsory courses

Introduction to Cartography
  • Introduction: maps and cartography.

  • Spatial orientation and cognitive maps.

  • The cultural history of maps as visualization interfaces.

  • Cartographic data and information: geodesy, remote sensing, GPS, data bases.

  • Spatial reference systems: geographic coordinates and geodetic datum.

  • Cartographic projections. Scale, coverage and format.

  • Generalization as graphic interpretation of information.

  • Cartographic communication: symbols and typography.

  • Relief representation methods.

  • Topographic and reference maps.

  • Thematic maps: representation of geospatial data.

  • Principles of designing maps: layout and visual hierarchy

  • Orientation, wayfinding and navigation with maps.

  • Digital cartography and GIS. Webcartography and


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Photogrammetry and Remote sensing
  • Physical background of remote sensing (active and passive remote sensing, electromagnetic spectrum)

  • Platforms for photogrammetry and remote sensing (satellites, aircrafts, unmanned platforms and sensors)

  • Active and passive satellites and sensors for cartography

  • Processing of remote sensing data I. (pre-processing, corrections, inner orientation for images)

  • Processing of remote sensing data II. (outer orientation for images, orthorectification)

  • Methods for aerial triangulation and their mathematical background

  • Processing and classification of passive remote sensing data

  • Processing and classification of active remote sensing data

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Geodesy and Topography
  • The subject of geodesy. Positioning, units of measure.

  • Locating points. Gravitational space, surfaces, elevation. Surfaces replacing the Earth. Projections, distortions. Sheet systems.

  • Measurements, geodetic problems on plane. Measurement errors, accuracy, propagation of error.

  • Point system of surveying. Networks. Marking points on the terrain.

  • Geodetic instruments. Basics of optics.

  • Theodolites.

  • Horizontal measurement of angle. Methods of measuring. Orientation tools. Regular errors of theodolite.

  • Positioning of points. Methods, calculations, building networks.

  • Measuring distances. Optical tools of telemetry. Trigonometry. Measurement errors.

  • Measuring elevations. Methods of determining elevation differences. Trigonometric,


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  • Visualization importance in human cognition. Information visualization, data visualization, scientific visualization, geovisualization.

  • Processes of human vision, visual space. Spatial vision, language, memory and learning.

  • Spatial cognition, orientation, wayfinding and navigation. Reference frames for spatial orientation. The development of the category of space and representation.

  • External and internal spaces, cognitive and mental maps. Spatialization, abstract and virtual spaces.

  • Representational tools and cognitive evolution. The development of geovisualization methods.

  • Data model and representational model.

  • Graphic semiotics: data relations and visual variables.

  • Multimodal representation. Multimedia, virtual reality.

  • Time:


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Complex Work Placement (min. 3 weeks)

Work in a company or in the university in summertime (min. 3 weeks).

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Operating systems
  • Introduction, analog/digital systems

  • Virtualization, description of the job/task

  • Structure of the OS Basic of the VMS/CMS/DOS

  • The MS Windows (from v3.1 to v8.1)

  • The Unix based operating systems

  • The Linux based operating systems

  • The Apple operating systems (leopards, tigers…)

  • Mobile platforms (android, winCE, IOS etc.) Basic system commands

  • Cross platform solutions 1.

  • Cross platform solutions 2.

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Thematic Cartography (Lecture)


  • Cartographic generalization.

  • Overview of data representation techniques. Types of base maps.

  • History and development of thematic cartography.

  • Data sources, data types and their critical evaluation.

  • Characteristics of the field-specific thematic maps. Map types in Geosciences.

  • Maps of environmental, economic and social phenomena.

  • Thematic maps in education.

  • Thematic maps on special-purpose and in communication (e. g. maps in media, in propaganda).

  • Thematic atlases.

  • Color theories. Maps in black and white.

  • Visualization of information. Relationship of graphic symbols and data representation.

  • Projections of thematic maps.

  • Thematic cartography in Geoinformatics.

  • Thematic maps on Internet.

  • Editing and


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Thematic Cartography (Practical)

Students prepare different types of thematic maps from data sets provided by the instructor or they do independent team work, but driven by instructor, on a complex thematic topic. This task consists of searching for special data and learning the characteristics of a socio-economic or geographic field for a specified area. Students also have to prepare documentation on their work or to prepare a descriptive, technical text on the topic they work on. The aim of this course is to meet as many data format as possible and work with the main thematic map types.

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  • Outline of GIS: main data models

  • Relational database and the vector based GIS

  • Spaghetti topology and its standards (OGC)

  • Relational databases and topology preserving data structures

  • Network model: linear reference and dynamic segmentation

  • Routing

  • Software products and libraries for handling spatial data

  • Spatial application development

  • Raster based data structures

  • Simple image processing tasks

  • Digital filters • Classification, segmentation

  • 3D data models: TIN and DEM

  • Tools for application development

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Map Design and Editing

Lecture 1.
The map. The concept of map. Scale, projection, generalization, graphical legend. Classification of maps according to scale. Map types: base maps, general maps, thematic maps. Sources of map making.

Lecture 2.
Maps for the public. Types and concepts. General characteristics, scale and legend. Additions to maps: insets, name registers, search grids, alphabetical arrangement.

Lecture 3.
Map frame. Types of frames. Map model. Map extract. Form of the map sheet. Technical symbols on the map. Legend and explanation of symbols. The process and phases of map making.

Lecture 4.
Map content. Aspects of representation. Characteristics of objects and phenomena. Map elements. Layers of map content: relief, planimetric features, place names. Representation methods.


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Geovisualization-based solutions in cartography (Lecture)
  1. Milestones in the history of the thematic cartography and data visualization

  2. Cartograms 1: history, definitions, classification

  3. Cartograms 2: results of newest research projects

  4. Chernoff faces 1: history, definition, principle, classification

  5. Chernoff faces 2: results of newest research

  6. Chernoff faces 3: The use of the Chernoff principle in school cartography

  7. Geovisualization-based solutions in school cartography 1

  8. Geovisualization-based solutions in school cartography 2

  9. The use of sound in cartography 1: early experiments on thematic maps, use on multimedia maps.

  10. The use of sound in cartography 2: maps and atlases for blind and visually impaired people

  11. Cybercartography: past and current research projects

  12. Non map-based´


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Geovisualization-based solutions in cartography (Practical)
  1. Cartograms 1: Analysis of early examples made finishing the XIX and in the first half of the XX century

  2. Cartograms 2: Analysis of modern examples made finishing the XX and beginning the XXI century

  3. Cartograms 3: free software and applications for their making

  4. Chernoff faces 1: Analysis of non-map-based and map-based examples made from 1973 to nowadays

  5. Chernoff faces 2: Their use in different software

  6. Chernoff faces 3: Practical examples of using the Chernoff principle in school cartography

  7. The use of sound in cartography: Presentation and analysis of practical examples (maps and atlases for blind and visually impaired people)

  8. Cybercartography: Thematic solutions in past and current research projects

  9. The use of word and data clouds in


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3D modelling in GIS
  • Concepts and theoretic base of 3D modelling.

  • Data management systems of a 3D model and the structure of GIS databases for 3D modelling purposes.

  • The modelling procedure and the classification of 3D modelling methods.

  • The concept of tessellation.

  • Processing and storing grid data. Calculation of grid point values.

  • The real, the virtual and the conceptual 3D model.

  • Tools for visualization and querying.

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Spatial application development
  • Summary of object oriented paradigm

  • Introduction to .NET and C# programming

  • Reading and displaying simple data (text files and pictures)

  • Reading binary data

  • Binary elevation data (ddm) reading and displaying

  • Implementing histogram equalisation for raster data

  • Satellite image file format (bil) handling

  • Reading and parsing satellite image file parameters

  • Reading and displaying multispectral images

  • Creation of RGB images from any 3 bands

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Spatial System Design
  • Methodology of system design and system construction, schematic system architecture.

  • Building strategies, analysis and function planning.

  • Physical design: tables, charts, functions.

  • System implementation, documentation, deliverance and monitoring.

  • Finding appropriate data sources, data parameterization, critical analysis and synthesis of data sources.

  • Advanced use of ArcGIS: spatial queries (is within, overlap, intersect, contains, near to, etc), attribute queries, spatial queries, spatial data analysis: buffer zones, overlay.

  • Map conversions to different projection systems.

  • Joint management of vector and raster data.

  • Editing maps: editing tools and complex spatial editing operations (join, modify, merge by geometry, attributes by


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Open Source Web GIS Programming
  • MapServer

    • Fundamentals.

    • Structure and contents of the Mapfile

    • Classification, styling

    • Map projections

    • Various inputs: Shape files, other file formats, relational databases

    • Output possibilities: „map” mode, WMS, WFS

  • OpenLayers

    • OpenLayers fundamentals. Adding simple controls

    • Layer types: third party maps, images, vectors

    • Vector styling.

    • Combining MapServer with OpenLayers

    • Advanced controls.

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Individual Geoinformatic Project

Students, independently but driven by instructors, carry out a complex task on the basis of previous studies. The tasks must contain the interpretation of problem solving of a relevant topic in GIS environment or creating and interpretation of a complex spatial information system.

Segments of the task:

  • formulation of the topic and the basic questions

  • data collection, digitization

  • designing the database / programming

  • queries

  • analysis, evaluation of the results, conclusions

  • development of the system and publication of the results

  • documentation of the project

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Processing of remote sensing data
  • Orthorectification of aerial and satellite based images

  • Structure-from-motion algorithms in practice – Processing of UAV based images

  • Processing of multispectral images (filters, pre-processing, classification methods, postprocessing)

  • Segmentation methods

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Individual Cartographic Project

Students, independently manage a complex cartographic project, which is driven by instructors, The tasks must contain the interpretation of problem solving of a relevant topic in cartography, it can be a complex map creation project.

Segments of the task:

  • preparations

  • creating the legend

  • selection of the software

  • symbols, styles, colours

  • map overlay design

  • printing

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Optional courses - at least 6 ECTS have to be obtained during the studies

Image processing software development
  • Theoretical summary (color models, color depth, intensity transformations, simple functions)

  • Mathematical basis of some image processing functions (time and frequency domain, Fourier-transformation, convolution integral)

  • Theory of the digital filters, and practical filters • Some image data format, including satellite image formats (ArcInfo BIL, ENVI BIL, DDM)

  • Software development tools for image processing (Bitmap, BitmapData, LockBitmap, Marscal.Interop.Copy, etc.)

  • Bitmap to byte array conversion, and vice versa • Binary elevation file reading and displaying

  • Samples #1: Develop a raster viewer program, which reads and displays large satellite (BIL) and 3D (DDM) datasets

  • Samples #2: Develop a filter program, which contains many filter fun


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Desktop Publishing

This course is recommended to MSc students who confidently use graphic software and Adobe programs. Practical tasks are built on theoretical sections. The distribution of theoretical and practical material is about 50-50%.

  • Objectives; Structure of the thesis; Academic expectations for graduation thesis; The basic concepts of typography: fonts, layout, outlining, repetition, contrast, guide lines, white surfaces; “Font Catalog”

  • Outlining, Layout, Repetition, Contrast in practice. Structural analysis of publications, brochures.

  • Prelims (Title page, copyright, colophone). Font selection.

  • Main text 1: Titles. Sections. Highlights. Place holder text (Lorem Ipsum).

  • Main text 2: Bullets. Bibliography. Footnote / Endnote. References.

  • Colours. Ill


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Navigation systems
  • Introduction, historical review

  • Celestral positioning, basic of navigation, chronograph systems

  • Earth based radio navigation systems (GEE, LORAN, DECCA, OMEGA etc.)

  • Doppler and NNSS – from the beginnings

  • LEO systems (Oscar, Transit, Tsikada, Parus etc.)

  • MEO, HEO systems, inter planetary navigation systems



  • Augmentation systems (EGNOS, WAAS, MTSAS, GZSS, GAGAN etc.)

  • GNSS permanent stations and systems, NTRIP

  • High precision positioning and navigation

  • Mobile solutions

  • Measurements error solutions

  • Field measurement

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Scripting Languages in Webcartography


  • Language basics

  • Styling: CSS and JavaScript

  • Event handling

  • Case study

  • Google Maps JavasScript API

  • PHP

  • Language basics

  • Database connections

  • Dynamic content generation

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The English language terminology of cartography
  • The vocabulary of earth sciences

  • The vocabulary of auxiliary sciences (mathematics, history)

  • Professional periodicals in English

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Web cartography
  1. Introduction: Brief history of the Web and HTML language. More frequent file formats. Vector- and raster-based graphic formats.

  2. Web resources for making maps 1: base maps

  3. Web resources for making maps 2: thematic data and maps

  4. Basics of HTML language 1: Basic characteristics of HTML

  5. Internal structure of the HTML files and its components. Heading of a file, HTML tags in the heading. Main HTML codes. 5.- Basics of HTML language 2: Brief description of CSS and JavaScript. Use of styles and JavaScript modules in HTML files.

  6. Types of HTML editors, practical presentation of free software, including Web-based editors.

  7. Definition and characteristics of an image map, HTML codes needed for its programming. Use of image maps in websites related to


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Coordinate systems on the earth ellipsoid and on the maps
  • Elements of the coordinate systems on several surfaces

  • Geometry of the ellipsoid and its parametrization

  • Transformation of different coordinates of the sphere

  • Transformation of different coordinates of the ellipsoid

  • Direct and inverse problem of the sphere and ellipsoid

  • Converting between different geodesic data coordinates

  • Direct mapping from the ellipsoid onto a plane and its using in the cartography

  • Mapping from the ellipsoid onto an aposphere and its using in the cartography

  • Azimuthal projections of the ellipsoid

  • Transverse and oblique cylinder projections of the ellipsoid

  • Global map coordinate systems (Gauss-Krüger, UTM, MGRS)

  • Conical projections of the ellipsoid and their using in the cartography

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Output-oriented Digital Cartography

Theoretical background of computer cartography

The effect of IT development to computer cartography

Hardware elements

  • computers

  • input devices

  • output devices

Software elements

  • operation systems

  • colours

  • texts

  • software types in computer cartography

  • file formats

Evolution of output devices in computer cartography

Offset printed maps

Colour separation



Digital printing



A general graphic software

Map drawing software

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Degree Thesis Consultation - 5 ECTS

Degree Thesis - 15 ECTS

Free Credits - 6 ECTS

Career opportunities

Government offices, administration in local governments, research institutions, mapping agencies, archives and private firms need a growing number of cartographers who have a solid background of geoinformatics. Business companies which have a strong involvement in various visualization problems (in print or in three-dimensions) are definitely interested in employing our young cartographers. Also decision-makers often need the GIS support for understanding the spatial relationship of features and social or natural phenomena.

Job examples

Cartographer at national mapping agencies, in land registration, at private companies,  publishers, geoinformatical firms.

EU/EEA students
non-EU/EEA students
Tuition fee/semester

3,000 EUR

3,000 EUR

Application fee

140 EUR (non-refundable)

140 EUR (non-refundable)

Registration fee

60 EUR (For registering for a new semester.)

60 EUR (For registering for a new semester.)

Other costs



non-EU/EEA students
Tuition fee/semester

3,000 EUR

Application fee

140 EUR (non-refundable)

Registration fee

60 EUR (For registering for a new semester.)

Other costs


Offered for the next academic year


Start program

09, Sep, 2019

Deadline for applications - September intake

30, Apr, 2019

Is there a February intake


Admission requirements

Entry requirements

The following BSc degrees are considered acceptable: cartography, geoinformatics (GIS), geomatics, geography, earth sciences. Partly acceptable BSc degrees: environmental science, computer science, surveying.

Language requirements

Minimum level of language proficiency (oral) (A1-C2): B2

Minimum level of language proficiency (written) (A1-C2): B2

Documents to submit with application
Online application form
Bachelor-level degree
Transcript of records
Copy of the main pages of the passport
Passport photo
Medical certificate
Copy of application fee transfer
Application procedure

The application starts on the online application system. Students need to register in the system, fill in the online application form, upload the required documents and follow the instructions during the application process.

The applications are examined by the Admission Board until May 5 and applicants are notified of the outcome of the selection in the online application system until May 15. Admission letters are sent out in the online application system until June 15. In case of February intake, admission letters are sent out in the online application system 

Procedure of the entrance examination

The applicants receive the test questions (20 to 25 questions in English) by e-mail. Most of the questions include a figure or a map. Here the task is to give a short evaluation of the figures or maps, analyze them or make calculations. These questions test the skills and practical knowledge of the applicant. Other questions focus on the professional orientation and theoretical knowledge of the applicant. The answers should not be more than a few sentences.

The test questions and the answer sheet are compiled by the Head of Department and the Departmental Coordinator.  The questions are designed in a way that the applicant can answer them only if the applicant has had previous studies in the field. Each correct answer to the question has the same score. The answers are evaluated by the Head of Department, the Departmental Coordinator and another colleague from the department.

The ranking is based on a total evaluation of the academic excellence (based on the submitted documents) and the results of the entrance exam.

Program leader

Prof. Dr. László ZENTAI
Head of Department

Program coordinator

Program Coordinator
Departmental Coordinator
TEL: + 36-1-372-2500/6789

Assistant coordinator
Veronika Flóra KISS
Assistant Coordinator
TEL: + 36-1-372-2500/6719

More information
Faculty website
Program website

Faculty of Informatics

Faculty of Informatics