Articles like this one in last weekend’s LA Times, titled “Geography is covering new ground for travelers,” are helpful references when you’re talking with peers, colleagues, and administrators about Geography. It couches its message in the advantages and perspectives that the “new” geography provides for travelers and traveling, which is just about everyone all the time, depending on scale.
“”Geography is about meaning, not knowing place names and memorizing lists — that was school geography,” said Daniel Edelson, vice president for education programs at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.” Danny promotes this idea frequently and effectively; see his thoughts on geoliteracy.
“Indeed, the workforce for the geospatial industry is one of the fastest-growing in the country, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s High Growth Job Training Initiative. A 30% increase in the last five years in the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and exams in the field of geography suggests that students know it, even if Mom and Dad haven’t heard that a degree in geography could be more useful than law or economics.”
First hand experience with public perception of geography is very interesting. A common question that comes up in casual conversations is about our job. When I say that I’m a geographer or that I study about geography education, the reaction is usually “that’s interesting” or “I really liked geography in school”. There are the odd times that people ask what it is a geographer does. I invite them to describe such job responsibilities, which comes down to doing something with maps or surveying the landscape.
Since geospatial industry is a growing industry, examples of geography in this field would be helpful. What concrete examples have you used that people have responded well to (i.e., aha moment where people can link geography to tools they use everyday or how geospatial is used in society)?