I am Geography
I Am Geography because it connects me to almost everything! Geography gives me the freedom to work on a limitless range of technologies and phenomena that help solve problems and help society. Geography is a field that has enabled me to make contributions to many fields over many years.
I began my university career at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as an “undeclared” Liberal Arts major. But when I discovered Geography in Dr. Tom Bell’s (former editor of Focus on Geography) class as a freshman, somehow I must have realized that I would Never really have to make up my mind! I could be a demographer (sociology), a site location specialist (economics), a mapping software developer (computer science), a contributor to risk mitigation in international development (seismology, climatology), an analyst of tribal distributions (anthropology), and more.
Over the years Geography has enabled me to work productively through several technology revolutions. My current work harnesses Internet/Cloud-based technologies to automatically generate insights from the vast flows of imagery and other data pouring in from satellite and other sensor data. Early in my career, before the Internet, I analyzed the geographic and demographic characteristics of successful retail locations on mainframe computers using US Census data on magnetic tape, and created some of the earliest computer maps for commercial applications. In between I worked on two successful tech startups to bring OGC standards and open source geospatial software into the mainstream. Geography is the common competency that has spanned all my career twists and turns.
I love that through Geography I can contribute to efforts to understand the effects of climate change on populations and infrastructure. Or to learning how development can be re-directed to enable wildlife populations and wilderness area to thrive. Or to siting or promoting social services for maximum impact. Or to understanding which tribes are friends and which are foes for our diplomats and military personnel.
I Am Geography, because as a Geographer, anyone can have a seat at the table when work is to be done on the important issues we face across the globe.
Become a member of the AGS, and let us feature you as part of our “I AM GEOGRAPHY” campaign which will light the path for all of you closet geographers to get involved in making our world a better place through Geography.