I have developed several mapping skills though my studies. For instance, I have refined by map reading skills on locating certain places accurately from mapping information. Specifically, I can better identify and reckon a location using mapping information such as the scale, contour lines, and color codes. For instance, I can draw transit lines using features on a map to help me identify a location when using a map for navigation. These lines are drawn using two of more features on a map to pinpoint a location along a navigation path. Similarly, I have learned to use the same information and a compass to calculate the bearing of my direction along a navigation path. This requires that I use the magnetic north on the map to orient my direction before performing the calculations.
I have learned several quantitative methods that enable me to accurately understand the meaning of information. These methods use objective measurements of geographical features and analyses them statistically to enhance their numerical characteristics, like size, distance, separation, and other measurable features. I have learned about descriptive, comparative, and correlational research methods. For instance, descriptive research has helped me to characterize geographical features by describing these features using numbers. These numbers and their accompanying numerical analysis yield information that can be used to make decisions and develop interventions of social and economic importance, such as the best location of a built structure near natural features, like natural water bodies. Similarly, I have learned qualitative methods of research, such as observations and surveys using data collection tools like questionnaires and interviews. These methods provide perceptions of people living in a geographical phenomenon that helps me understand the effect of geographical features on social and economic issues. For instance, the perceptions about the effect of climate change on rain-fed agriculture have social and economic importance to an agrarian community.
I have gathered several cartography skills through my geography course. These include using photographic images to create maps, converting maps to elevation profiles, and using elevation profiles to create a simple map. With these skills, I can create simple maps from elevation profiles and photographic images. I know how to scale down actual distances to distances represented on a map using appropriate scales. This includes using medium scales ranging from 1:1,000,000 to 1:25,000 and small scales, which are smaller than 1:1,000,000.
Geographic information system (GIS) is a data capturing system of positions and locations on the earth’s surface. I have learned to utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) geographical visualization, spatial analysis, and spatial modeling. The information that I can analyze using GIS is related to spaces on the earth’s surface. In this regard, I can use the geospatial data derived from GIS information to represent quantitative and qualitative information regarding a location or area of features of a landscape using raster and vector formats. Similarly, I can use GIS data to draw more accurate maps that have geo referencing points to help navigation.
The academic program has largely achieved the goal of acquisition of geographical analytical skills. It has exposed me to the different tools of research, cartography, and GIS required for geospatial analysis. However, although I have used these skills in a classroom setting to resolve simple tasks, my real-life experience is limited. While I have had the opportunity to employ this knowledge to geographical features new to my university campus, I am yet to encounter locations with features not available in my vicinity. In other words, despite being able to analyze hypothetical data, I will need to expand my experience with the different physical nature of locations I have not witnessed yet, such as mountainous locations, areas with multiple faulting, and other unique geographical features.
Part 2: Geographic Theory
Objective a: The concept of place
The concept of place is captured in the theory of socio-ecosystems which views spaces as the arenas of the dynamic relationship between society and nature. People become attached to a place because it has significant importance to their collective social and economic wellbeing. The concept of territoriality is associated with that of space because it explains how a specific location elicits a collective identity of people sharing physical environment, landscape and culture and deriving similar benefits from the nature therein.
Objective d: The concepts of urbanization and suburbanization
Urbanization has been a common feature of the modernization and globalization of settled spaces. Urbanization has spurred the need to maximize the economies of scale in the provision of public amenities and socio-economic facilities. Therefore, cities take forms and structures that concentrate human services in a defined location. However, recently, the immense rural-urban migration and population explosion have caused a population overflow in cities, also called urban sprawl. However, this has inspired innovations in urban planning. New cities are better planned, leveraging vertical construction rather than horizontal, and reserving spaces for future expansion. This has led to a new phenomenon called suburbanization, which is seeing populations leaving the city centers for the suburban areas around them.