Both Science and Art
Geography is not just a “study” but rather as H.C Darby said, “Geography is both science and art.” All around us, geography is alive, it’s heart beating steadily to the sound of cars whirring down the highway, the voice in our GPS saying “Turn left ahead.” or small African tribes howling an enthusiastic chant at the full moon. Geographers have left their mark on the world in nearly everything we do- from the transportation systems we utilize, to the weather forecast you watch groggily in the morning. Faithfully, geographers continue to sculpt our worlds, monitoring human movements, improving systems and overall, learning from the past and the things that occurred there, while looking to the future.
Like a trusty sword that a knight grasps as he rides fearlessly into the tumultuous battlefield, geographers depend on reliable maps. A sword would be of no use in battle if it were made of plastic, and a map would be of no use to a geographer if it was extremely un-accurate and nonsensical. Thus, we present to you the ever-useful grid system. The grid system is a set of imaginary lines on the globe, which help geographers accurately determine where specific locations are. It is comprised of lines of latitude (lines that run horizontally across the globe) and lines of longitude (which run vertically on the globe). Every place on earth has an absolute location, or the precise point where the lines of latitude and longitude meet.
Absolute location is not the only way to find the location of a specific place. Every place on earth also has a relative location. A relative location is the location of a specific place told in relation to another object or place. Have you ever stopped and nervously asked for directions? “Ah…excuse me sir, but if it isn’t too much trouble, could you direct me to the nearest Wal-Mart?”
“Yeah…It’s right behind the Big-Lots. Beside the Chevron gas station!” might be the reply. This is a prime example of relative location- one of the many important parts of Geography. Geography is all of this, and so much more.
Geography is alive, it’s heart beating steadily to the sound of cars whirring down the highway, the voice in our GPS saying “Turn left ahead.” or small African tribes howling an enthusiastic chant at the full moon.
Geography is all around us.
What is geography to you?