Geographers & Geographic Information Systems - Nature of Work
Geographers study the distribution and location of physical and cultural phenomena at the local, regional and global scale. Specialists in geography are concerned in understanding and studying the impact of economics or even planned delivery programmes on physical and human landscapes.
Emerging primarily from an interest in understanding the world, it’s structure and size, the study of geography is gradually pervading areas where an understanding of physical and cultural phenomena is used to interpret economic, political and cultural life.
The content and method of study of Geography places it between observational sciences such as geology and the critical humanities such as history, sociology and political sciences. It brings together the best of both disciplines. Courses leading to a science degree in geography concentrate more on physical geography in topics such as bio geography, climatology, geomorphology and hydrology. Geography in the arts stream focuses on economic, social, history and urban geography. Both BA/ B Sc courses in geography cover the basic groundwork in physical and human geography.
Geographic Information Systems
Geographical information system(GIS) uses computers for storing and processing information about the Earth’s surface and land use. GIS specialists focus on the scientific theory of geographic information and analysis and develop new geographic information systems and application. This option blends computing skills with geographical knowledge.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a rapidly growing technological field for resource planning and management. It has applications in the fields of Infrastructure Development such as in land use planning, utilities management, landscape assessment and planning, transportation and infrastructure planning, real estate analysis, telecommunications, power transmission and distribution and many other unlimited applications. While GIS and Remote sensing have already influenced us in many aspects of life the future application of this technology will address asset management process. GIS finds application in the power sector, transportation, roads and highways sector, agriculture etc. The future is bright for professionals trained in GIS.
Nature of Work
Geographers working in various sectors study the distribution of soils and its mineral content, vegetation, landforms, climate, and water resources. Their job involves surveying, mapping , cartography and even the use of some meteorological tools. Geographers follow up the field work by analysing aerial photographs and other data they have collected. They prepare maps, diagrams and graphs to record their survey data.
Geographers study both physical & human geography.
Physical geography is concerned with the study of physical phenomenon. Climate, landforms, vegetation, and the oceans have tremendous influence on human lifestyles. Physical geographers understand and analyse climatic patterns.
Physical geographers specialise in hydrology, the study of the presence and distribution of water on the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere or in Geomorphology which studies the formation and development of landforms by the process of deposition and erosion or bio geography which studies the distribution of plants and animals at the world, regional and local scales.
Human geography is the study of the interaction of people with the environment, the historical, economic aspects as well as cartography and urban and regional planning.
Medical geography is the study of health patterns . The study of salt field workers in Gujarat and their health requirements is an example of the work medical geographers may cover. The special areas of study encompass the impact of vegetation, minerals, water supply, climate and environment on life in the region.
Cartography is that branch of geography in which physical data is collected which is required for the preparation of maps.
Urban Geography covers urban development and deals with issues related to development. Urban geographers work on urban projects particularly assisting in the planning of residential locations, shopping areas, traffic related projects, as well as give advise regarding geographical location of industries to suit the facilities required by the unit.
Regional Geography encompasses in depth observations and recording of physical, cultural, economic and political data to enable an analysis of current regional situations.
Economic Geography involves recording economic and industrial activities of a region such as location of manufacturing industries, mining locations, farming activities, communication services, trade and marketing etc. This data is used by planners, businesses, transport developers etc.
Political geography is concerned with national and international frontiers and also the impact of natural resources and physical features to matters concerning local and regional affairs.
Geographic information systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) incorporates the use of computer graphics , computer programming, and communication technology for mapping, data accumulation and selective use of this data for analysing natural, cultural and economic information for making weather forecasts, emergency management and the use of physical resources.
GIS involves a systematic and scientific analysis and GIS programmers may work on new information systems and applications. Analysts collect data in the field and hand it over to GIS executives who scan and digitise them.
The first stage involves drawing a map in accordance with the data. The maps are then scanned and made “intelligent.” Typically, a map on paper looks flat and it is only when the data sheet is attached that it become intelligent. Maps that are in the Indian government archives like the Geographical Survey of India can be digitised by GIS. Data attached can be the length of a road, its width, the number of bus stops etc. Geographic Information Systems has emerged as a very important field in developed countries where e.g data regarding health can be used to identify the demographics of illnesses. GIS is used for planning public utilities, demography studies, environmental planning, natural resource monitoring and exploration, highway planning, collating and comparing census data, business telecommunication, radio transmission, roads, port management, railways, local administration, energy, agriculture, forestry, local administration etc.
Geographic Information Systems designers work as a team with professionals and scientists drawn from a number of fields there by increasing the job avenues to a vast array of related sectors.
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