Hi folks,

great to have found such a big and well-visited forum with so many active members!

I'm a student of Geoinformatics in Germany and have been thinking about possible occupations after my studies.

I have found that cartography is probably the most interesting subject where I would like to be working in the future.

However, I'm much more interested in the cartography of human-based factors and geoobjects (objects created by man), rather than the whole eco-environmental, geological and land-survey stuff.
That means I'm not really into geoprocessing of satellite imagery (spectral analysis etc.) for some federal environmentalist purpose or so, or creating those federal mass product maps for general public under some federal institution that generally produces just a new version of the same standardized map every year, with detailed prescription on how it is to be produced, leaving practically no special choices for the mapmaker...

No, I'm into producing SPECIAL maps, not just the ones you find in every standard atlas, but the ones that display very high levels of my own individual styling choice, from the choice of color, texture, choice of map elements, symbols, arrangements of the elements, line styles, visual aestetics and so on.

One of my recent ideas is creating historic antique maps of the geopolitical and economic situation during the era of the British Empire. You will find dozens of really beautiful antique maps if you just google "antique maps", only that those ones are just scans of hand-drawn maps from the olden days.
Now, I'm not against the style of the maps from the olden days, to the contrary, I so much love them, but how about displaying historical data available TODAY from those times in an antique map style? You know, the kind of maps those people would have loved to draw if they had had all that data back then, but couldn't? That would surely be an enjoyable experience, as opposed to those spartanic and dry history-book maps we have today.
Well, unfortunately the HIS-GIS team in the U.K. isn't looking for such a thing at the moment according to my recent inquiry and the answer I got. And I have found it hard to find some team that is really dedicated to that stuff. And without some really significant data-providing basis (history institutions etc.), such an undertaking is pretty useless :-(
But this idea of mine was just to demonstrate an example of how the artistic element of mapmaking could be really getting a focus in such a profession.

So what I'm asking here is basically:

Who of you is professionally employed in the mapmaking business with a lot of free artistic choices in the course of the production in his maps, and also, with focus mainly on civil cartography (displaying of mainly anthropogenous factors rather than just mapping the natural environment)? Or is this more-or-less a freelance-occupation to go in addition to some "real" employment? Where exactly can I expect being employed and enjoying such a high level of creativity in mapmaking? Or is it better not to hope for such professional freedom for a living?

Thanks in advance,