What Skills Do Geographers Have?

Geographers must be well-versed in many mapping technology systems.
Geographers must be well-versed in many mapping technology systems. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Even though most of the world has been mapped to some extent, geographers are going to be in great demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, because they are needed to consult with governments and businesses about the best places to put things like roads and buildings. They are also needed as consultants for environmental impact projects like landfills. Geographers must be good at math, know how to operate high tech equipment and how to communicate effectively.

Math Skills

Geographers must possess advanced math skills, because their job involves geometry in calculating distances, obstacles and the mass of various geographic features. Geometry often requires algebra. They must also understand physics and must be able to calculate complex data sets. If they need to advise someone about building a road or dam, they must help choose the best place based on mathematical calculations about the various site options.

Technical Skills

Geographers must use many highly advanced technological gadgets such as graphic information systems, global positioning systems and remote sensing, which quickly perform tasks that once took geographers months to do, such as measuring distances and calculating heights. There are dozens of specialties in geography and many fields have their own specific technology. Geographers must be able to learn, understand, and use advanced technology.

Communication Skills

Geographers often have to work with governments and businesses to answer questions and solve problems. Some geographers must deal with the indigenous populations of the countries where they are working. They might be asked to decide where to build a pipeline or to figure out a good spot for ecotourism. So they must be able to communicate what they know with people who are unaccustomed to geographical concepts and terms.

Special Skills

In the different fields of geography, different skills are required. Some must understand and know the best way to approach urban planning. Some must have anthropological knowledge and skills to study the impact of human migration. Some must have knowledge of and skills with economic principles and tools to understand connections between the geography of resource-rich areas and economic conditions. Many need knowledge and skills related to the environment since environmental concerns, including disposal of waste, water preservation, deforestation and global warming, are becoming increasingly important.

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