How might we better observe, analyze, and visualize a changing world?

Our curiosity about Earth dates back thousands of years ago from celestial observations of our place in space, representations of our human-environment on cave walls, and mapping out our position on stone tablets. These early actions of observation, mapping, and representation contributed to such scientific discoveries as plate tectonics and disease transmission.

Modern technological advancements draw upon a suite of geospatial tools including Earth-observing satellite, ground-based observers and sensors, Geographic Information System (GIS), and broadband communications to visualize, model, and analyze geographic data. These tools, drawing on location-based data, provide knowledge to solve problems at all geographic scales: 

  • International: tracking swine flu spread globally
  • National: aerial images before-and-after tsunami in Japan, March 2011
  • State/province wide: UPS use of GPS to track delivery and route of goods
  • Locally: Digital signs and Smartphone apps to alert when next bus/train is arriving at stop

To see a larger image of a map of the world (700-500 BC) carved on stone, click here



To see a larger satellite image of Earth, click here


Geographic Advantages:

Understanding of:
1. Relationships between people and the environment
2. Importance of spatial variability (place dependence of processes)
3. processes operating at multiple and interlocking geographic scales
4. Integration of spatial and temporal analyses




A geographic scientist is concerned with documenting, analyzing, and explaining

1) the location, organization, and character of physical and human phenomena on the Earths’ surface
2) the interplay of arrangements and processes, near and far, human and environmental, that shape the evolving character of places, regions, and ecosystems.

(Source: UTCP 2010)

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