Understanding Our World (ArcNews Online)

At the 2007 ESRI International User Conference, I described GIS and the Geographic Approach because I believe this phrase describes a concept that underlies so much of what we do in the GIS field—"approaching problem solving geographically." That talk was later summarized in the Fall 2007 issue of ArcNews. In this article, I would like to further explain this theme. The geographic approach refers to using geographic science as a framework for understanding our world and applying this knowledge to solve problems and guide human behavior. Everyone who uses GIS is taking the geographic approach. The goal in defining and discussing the geographic approach is to explain why geography matters—how applying geographic science to address our common problem can lead to different outcomes.

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