Thursday, June 9, 2005

Why Geography

I've had this fascination with maps since an early age. I recall getting an old National Geographic World Atlas sometime in the mid-1980s. It was well read by the time it finally disappeared.

I also had a globe.

I collected maps all throughout childhood. At one point, I used to write to various states who would then send me a travel guide, and then a map. The travel guide usually went into the recycling bin. I kept the maps. To this day, I usually buy 2 to 3 atlases a year to replace the ones that go out of date. I'm about due for a new world atlas. With a new job coming very soon, I think I will upgrade to a really nice expensive one. And a globe too. I could use a new globe.

Eventually, I went off to high school (and decided I wanted to be meteorologist) and then college (where I discovered that multivariate calculus was the devil and decided not to be a meteorologist.) Instead, after talking to the department chair of the Geography Department and then taking some of his classes, I was hooked. I discovered that there was an entire tech industry surrounding the creation of maps (GIS, Cartography). I also discovered that people with skills in GIS whether it is AutoCAD, ESRI ArcView or GeoMedia are usually highly coveted by local , state and federal governments, construction companies, utilities, travel agencies, and more.

So what can I do with a geography degree? Lots. I can move into the more technical areas such as GIS and cartography. I can move into urban planning, transportation planning (which is the job I am currently hoping for). Or, at the government level and with a masters degree, I can move into research analyst positions including demographics, economics, and political analysis.

So, in short, a long personal interest and dollar signs helped me decide "why geography."

No comments: