I’m an atmospheric scientist with three levels in meteorology. However my tenured residence on the University of Georgia is the Department of Geography. Like a lot of you studying this, I had a relatively slender understanding of geography once I left NASA to affix the school on the college. Over the years, I’ve definitely heard individuals describe geography as maps, capitals, rivers, and so forth. While this stuff are positively part of the self-discipline, there may be way more complexity and rigor than memorization of details or your recollections of the elementary Geography Bee.
Geography is exclusive in bridging the social sciences and the pure sciences. There are two essential branches of geography: human geography and bodily geography. Human geography is anxious with the spatial facets of human existence. Physical geographers examine patterns of climates, landforms, vegetation, soils, and water. Geographers use many instruments and strategies of their work, and geographic applied sciences are more and more necessary for understanding our complicated world. They embrace Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and on-line mapping akin to Google Earth.
I’ve seen crucial roles that the self-discipline of geography is enjoying within the battle towards the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus illness (COVID-19). Here are a few of them.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are methods to prepare, current, and analyze spatial and geographic knowledge. You in all probability don’t understand it, however Waze or Google Maps fall throughout the realm of GISscience. Both of those Apps seemingly profit you day by day. The Johns Hopkins University is sustaining a superb Coronavirus monitoring web site, which gathers info from a number of knowledge sources. The disclaimer on the web site notes, “The Johns Hopkins University hereby disclaims any and all representations and warranties with respect to the Website, including accuracy, fitness for use, and merchantability.” They are warning that the web site ought to not be used for medical steerage. Researchers at different establishments together with the University of Washington and the University of Georgia have additionally developed publicly-available “tracker tools.”
ESRI is a number one group throughout the geography area and a supplier of GIS sources. I discovered a compelling Coronavirus tutorial authored by Miss Bytheway on the ESRI web site with very instructive classes and actions. Kenneth Field additionally affords a superb weblog on the ESRI web site about mapping Coronavirus responsibly. My pal and colleague Dr. Dawn Wright is Chief Scientist at ESRI. She lately tweeted a implausible web site with a plethora of geographic details about Coronavirus in Singapore.
Many highschool college students, together with my daughter final 12 months, take AP Human Geography. I’m thrilled as a result of it’s exposing college students to facets of the self-discipline that shatter the “maps and capitols” misperceptions. The AP College Board web site states that in human geography students “Explore how humans have understood, used, and changed the surface of Earth.” Topics may embrace migration patterns, inhabitants, political ecology, environmental justice, urbanization, and extra.
A Royal Geographic Society web site pointed me to some attention-grabbing analysis that encompasses human geography facets of the self-discipline and Coronavirus. A 2011 examine entitled, “The scalar politics of infectious disease governance in an era of liberalised air travel” was printed in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. While that examine was extra targeted on Ebola, it has well timed connections to the Coronavirus drawback. Steve Hinchliffe is Professor or Human Geography on the University of Exeter and an professional on biosecurity, meals danger, human-nonhuman relations and nature conservation. He and colleagues printed a guide entitled Pathological Lives: Disease, Space, and Biopolitics. He writes in a 2016 weblog, “I call entanglement of microbes, hosts, environments and economies ‘pathological lives.’”
The time period (pathological lives) permits us to analyze how these lives have grow to be harmful to themselves in a world of accelerated throughput and organic depth.
There can be a major physique of scholarly analysis on the intersection of geography and infectious illness disciplines. For instance, a 2019 examine within the journal Infections, Genetics, and Evolution examined the geographic construction of bat SARS-related coronaviruses. One conclusion was that SARSr-CoVs have a definite geographical construction when it comes to evolution and transmission.
Of course, bodily geography additionally performs a job in Coronavirus. In a earlier Forbes article, I mentioned potential climatological implications of the illness and whether or not heat season transition within the Northern Hemisphere would halt the unfold of Coronavirus. The quick reply from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was “we don’t know,” particularly because the illness has thrived in heat, humid areas up to now. The longer reply was a dialogue of rising literature suggesting that influenza, coronaviruses, and associated ailments may thrive in new locations and for longer intervals of time as local weather continues to heat.
There are quite a few examples that I might have given, however my underlying aim was to make use of Coronavirus as a teachable second concerning the self-discipline of geography. Now go wash these arms completely with cleaning soap and watch out on the market.