Geography – knowing where things are

Geography is about much more than knowing where things are. My colleagues tell me that all the time. But Geography is, still, partly about knowing where things are. It’s hard to have a sensible conversation about whether changes to the flow of the Humboldt Current will affect fish stocks in the German Bight if you can’t locate either the Humboldt Current or the German Bight on a map. You can get by as a Geographer being a little uncertain about the use of the definite article in German Bight, but you can’t really get by if you don’t know where anything is. It also helps if you know where things used to be. A map of this year’s maximum summer extent of Arctic sea ice is less meaningful if you are not familiar with the extent of sea ice in the past. And as for predicting where things will be in the future? Yes, that’s Geography too, and you’ll need to be putting things in the right places on a map. If you can’t put it on a map, it probably isn’t Geography.

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