Don't forget about geography


  • Micah L. Brachman


geography, maps, cartography, GIS


Maps are a fundamental form of human communication, and for millennia geographers have created maps that measure and describe features and phenomena on the Earth’s surface. Yet since the ‘quantitative revolution’ of the 1960s, the ancient scientific discipline of geography has become increasingly devalued within the academe and misunderstood by the general public. A review of the academic affiliations and job titles of the esteemed authors from the JOSIS 10th anniversary edition is indicative of how constant rebranding and renaming of geography has resulted in fragmentation of the discipline. While terms such as ‘Spatial Data Science’ have a cross-disciplinary appeal, other terms such as ‘geoinformation’, ‘geoinformatics’, ‘geographic data science’, and ‘geographical information science’ primarily conflate geography and computer science. Geographers have been valued for our ability to addressed complex problems and create maps that cross scientific boundaries since antiquity. To reclaim a position of centrality within the academe and the minds of public we must be unequivocal that the central value proposition for geography is the fundamental form of human communication that geographers can truly claim as their own: the map.