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UNIT 1: SPATIAL ORGANISATION AND SOCIETY

GEOGRAPHY IS A SCIENCE

Geography is the science of exploration that helps us learn about our physical
surroundings and understand the phenomena that occur there.
Geographers are experts who seek to explain transformations in the world using
different techniques and methods. They also work together to solve practical
problems.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

This branch studies the the Earths physicl environment including its
ecosystems, with which humans interacts.
Specialists in this branch:
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Manage and organise natural areas.


Prepare environmental impact studies.
Predict and, if posible, prevent natural hazards.
Provide environmental education.

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
This branch seeks to explain how, as humans, we adapt our activities to our
surroundings and analyses the form of spatial organisation.
Specialists in this branch:
-

Prepare transport plans.


Analyse the best places to locate factories and shopping
centres.
Explain the causes behind the existence of deprived areas in
cities.

REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY
This branch allows us to analyse the relationship between specific
geographic areas and society, and study any potential problems.
Specialists in his branch:
-

Work in spatial planning and decide which geographic areas


should be protected and which can be used for certain
activities.
Decide where to build elements of infrastructure.

CARTOGRAPHY, LANDSCAPES AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES

CARTOGRAPHY
Maps are one of h basic componentsof any geographic study. They help us learn
about our surroundings and the things that happen within them, and to analyse the
distribution of variables. Geographers are involved in making and interpreting maps.
LEARNING ABOUT OUR PHYSICAL SURROUNDINGS
1. Panoramic views:
Geographers need to have visual knowledge of the geographic area they
want to analse by studing its landscapes by using potos aken from the air.
2. Satellite images:
Satellite images of the Earths surface have helped us improve cartography.
3. Thematic maps:
Symbols and/or colours are used to represent the distribution of different
phenomena within a geographic area (populaion density, weather, etc..)
4. Topographic and road maps:
A toographic map is a graphic representation of cultural and natural features
on the ground . Road maps enable us to orientate ourselves in space.
GEOGRAPHY AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES
The relationship between Geography and new tecologies is not new. The first
Geographic Information System (GIS)was created in teh 1960s.
1. What are GIS?
Geographic Information Systems are computer systems that incorporate and
relate different elements: users, data, software, etc.
2. What are they used for?
They allow us o create, analyse, store and presenta ll kinds of geographical
data. In other words, they are like a database of geographical information.
3. What do they used for?
The use big data represente don a digital mp o analyse spatial patterns and
create predictive models.
4. Who uses them?
They are used by govermnets, intelligence services, large public sector and prvate
firms, research centres, universities and geographers.
They are even used by groups of people to create maps for the general public
(OpenStreetMap,WikiMapia, etc.) providing open and free Access to spatial data for
any place in the world.