New Year’s Resolution: Get More Out of Geography

Little did I know when I was sleeping—I mean sitting—in the back of my high school World Geography class how important geography would become to our lifestyles and our livelihoods.

At the time, I really didn’t see the relevance of studying countries, such as China, Russia and Africa, that all appeared worlds away from my little corner of the U.S. of A. Although, I did see the importance of knowing where the cutest girl in the school lived—and I didn’t need a geography class for that.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where the world is anyone’s oyster and the Internet has helped create today’s global marketplace.

Geography pervades our society, our work and our lifestyles. From Yahoo Maps, to Google Earth, to GPS locators and apps for mobile devices. They’re all designed to make location-related decisions better and faster.

National Geographic calls it “geo-literacy,” the combination of skills and understanding necessary to make far-reaching decisions. The three components of geo-literacy are understanding human and natural systems, geographic reasoning, and systematic decision-making.

• Understanding human and natural systems: A geo-literate individual is able to reason about the creation, movement, and transformation of materials in human and natural systems.
• Geographic reasoning: A geo-literate individual is able to reason about the characteristics of a location and its connections to other locations.
• Systematic decision-making: A geo-literate individual is able to articulate decision-making criteria, project outcomes of alternatives, and evaluate those outcomes in terms of the established criteria.

To be truly geo-literate is to be able to combine these three abilities to make decisions in real-world contexts. IP Intelligence is an example of a leading technology that provides businesses with the necessary—and accurate—real-time geographic location information in order to make those decisions.

So in honor of geography teachers around the world, let’s make a collective New Year’s resolution to get more out of geography so we can all grow and prosper in 2012

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