Geographers: We don’t know where everything is

When most people think about geography they think of naming places around the world (and maps).  While knowing where things are is a useful skill, it’s the least of what geography is about.  There are many definitions of geography and many disciplines.

In essence, it’s about the spatial organization of people and our relationships with the environment.  Geographers also look at the connections and linkages between specific places, regions and people.  Considering how global and interconnected our world is becoming, geographers are playing a key role in helping people learn more about these connections and how our actions affect others and our environment.

Even geographers need maps.

Even geographers need maps. On a hike through the Palos Verdes Peninsula geography student Bret Hartt consults a map.

There are  two main areas of geography: physical and human.  Each has several sub-disciplines.  Physical geographers study areas such as hydrology, climatology, geomorphology and geology.  Human geographers study areas such as urbanization, politics, religion, international development, population, feminism and society.

Then there is Geographic Information Science (GIS), which is creating maps, but not just any old maps.  GIS allows geographers to create maps with several layers of information and there are many types.  Unfortunately I have not been able to take any GIS classes yet but judging by how many emails I get about GIS internships, there are quite a lot of jobs out there for those with GIS skills.

A environmental student's GIS map.

A environmental student’s GIS map.

So now that you have been properly informed about what geography really is and what geographers really do, we can move on to the fun stuff.  In my next post.  Until then consider reading this interesting article about how there is in fact nature in L.A. despite what most people believe.


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