In the past decade, concerns about ''geographic illiteracy" have been the catalyst for a new focus on geography in the United States. Recent calls to "do someth
ing" about geographic illiteracy in this country can be traced to concerns about U.S. competitiveness in the global economy, combined with surveys that documented an astonishing degree of ignorance in the United States about the rest of the world. There is a growing public recognition that our national well-being is related to global markets and international political developments, to the continued prominence of environmental issues in social discourse, and to the emergence of computer and telecommunications technologies that emphasize graphic images such as maps and other spatial diagrams—all of which are associated in the public's mind with geography. One result of this increased attention is a rediscovery of the importance of geography education in the United States. Geography is identified as a core subject for American schools, on a par with science and mathematics, in a series of recent policy statements and legislative proposals for national education reform. These include the report of the Charlottesville, Virginia, Summit convened by the 50 state governors and President Bush in October 1989; education reform plans of both the Bush and the Clinton administrations; and Goals 2000: The Educate America Act, passed by Congress in March 1994. Geography has also been rediscovered by students. In the period 1986/1987 to 1993/1994, the number of undergraduate majors in geography grew by an estimated 47 percent nationwide and by 60 percent in Ph.D.-granting departments. Between 1985 and 1991, graduate program enrollments in geography grew by33.4 percent, compared with a 15.3 percent increase in the social sciences and a 5.4 percent decrease in the environmental sciences. This process of rediscovery has been mirrored in the research community as well. Research at the frontiers of fields as diverse as planning, economics, finance, social theory, epidemiology, anthropology, ecology, environmental history, conservation biology, and international relations has highlighted the importance of geographic perspectives. In particular, the importance of spatial perspectives—through such notions as place and scale—is being recognized in many fields, extending the influence of geography well beyond its relatively small group of professional practitioners. The increased use of perspectives, knowledge, and techniques associated with a relatively small academic discipline raises several questions for the scientific community. Most directly, what is geography, and how does it connect with broad concerns of society and science? If geography is to play a more prominent role in education and decision making, do its scientific foundations need to be strengthened in order to support its expanded responsibilities? With these questions in mind, the National Research Council established the Rediscovering Geography Committee to perform a comprehensive assessment of geography in the United States. The objectives of this assessment are: 1. to identify critical issues and constraints for the discipline of geography, 2. to clarify priorities for teaching and research,
3. to link developments in geography as a science with national needs for geography education, 4. to increase the appreciation of geography within the scientific community, and 5. to communicate with the international scientific community about future directions of the discipline in the United States. In addressing these issues, this report focuses on broad national and global themes in science and society, geography's potential as a perspective and a body of knowledge to help address these themes, and constraints on geography's capability as an academic discipline to respond. As examples, it draws mainly on experience from within geography as a discipline, although valuable geographic work is done outside the discipline as well, because the committee was comprised very largely of professional geographers. Where possible, however, the examples are selected to illustrate the interconnectedness between disciplines that characterizes so much geographic investigation and facilitates the flow of ideas, concepts, and techniques across disciplinary boundaries.
The Perspectives, Subject Matter, and Techniques of Geography
To most Americans, geography is about place names. Concerns about geographic ignorance usually focus on people's inability to locate cities, countries, and rivers on a world map, and geographic instruction is often equated with conveying information about remote parts of the world. From this perspective it may be a surprise to some that the discipline of geography has a great deal to say about many of the critical issues facing society in the late twentieth century. Geographers are engaged in valuable research and teaching on matters ranging from environmental change to social conflict (see Chapter 2). The value of these activities derives from the discipline's focus on the evolving character and organization of the Earth's surface; on the ways in which interactions of physical and human phenomena in space combine to create regions with distinctive natural and (or) social characteristics, or places; and on the influences those places have on a wide range of natural and human events and processes. Such concerns are not simply exercises in expanding the encyclopedic knowledge of faraway places; they go to the heart of some of the most urgent questions before decision makers today. A central tenet of geography is that "location matters" for understanding a wide variety of processes and phenomena. Indeed, geography's focus on location provides a cross-cutting way of looking at processes and phenomena that other disciplines tend to treat in isolation. Geographers focus on "real world" relationships and dependencies among the phenomena and processes that give character to a place. Geographers also seek to understand relationships among places: for example, the flows of peoples, goods, and ideas that reinforce differentiation or enhance similarities. In other words, geographers study both the ''vertical" integration of characteristics that define place and the "horizontal" connections between places. Geographers also focus on the importance of scale (in both space and time) in these relationships. The study of these relationships has enabled geographers to pay
attention to complexities of places and processes that are frequently treated in the abstract, if at all, by other disciplines. Geography's perspectives are supported by a body of distinctive techniques for observation, such as field exploration, remote sensing, and spatial sampling, and for the analysis and display of geographic data, such as cartography, visualization, spatial statistics, and geographic information systems (GISs; see Chapter 4). These techniques are shared with other disciplines, but geography has contributed fundamentally to their development and improved application. The traditional tool in geography for the display of spatially referenced information is the map. To many, the term "map" connotes a fixed, two-dimensional paper product containing point, line, and areal data. During the past generation, however, advances in data collection, storage, analysis, and display have made this traditional view obsolete. The modern map is a dynamic and multidimensional product that exists in digital form, opening up new areas of research and application for geographic investigation. This research has led to the development of GISs, which, along with techniques for geographic visualization and methods of spatial analysis, facilitate an increasingly complex and contextual understanding of the world. Current research in GISs is expanding the technique to incorporate more advanced geographic concepts and analysis methods.
Geography's Contributions to Scientific Understanding and Decision Making
Geography offers significant insights into some of the major questions facing both the pure and applied sciences. In addition, as society itself is recognizing, many of the major questions facing society at the local, national, and international scales have very important geographic dimensions. Geography's traditional interest in integrating phenomena and processes in particular places, for example, has a new relevance in science today, in connection with the search for what some have called a "science of complexity." In its explorations as a science of flows, geography has been a leader in understanding spatial interactions, a subject of broad interest to both science and society. Moreover, geography's long-standing concern with interdependencies among scales is relevant to discussions across the body of science of relationships between microscale (small or local) and macroscale (large or global) phenomena and processes (see Chapter 5). Geographic perspectives and techniques have found important applications in decision making in both the private and the public sectors, especially as global economic and environmental issues and modern information technologies have grown in importance. Geographers have made significant contributions to decision making at local, regional, and global scales for a wide variety of issues—for example, management of hazards, understanding global environmental and economic changes and their interactions with local changes, and developing effective business strategies (see Chapter 6).
Strengthening Geography's Foundations
The ability of geographers to respond to the growing demand for its skills and perspectives is limited by several realities (see Chapter 7). Despite three decades of growth in the number of professional geographers, the geography community remains small relative to most other natural and social science disciplines. Few colleges and universities have large geography departments, and many institutions of higher learning have no geography programs at all, including some of the nation's leading universities. This situation is extraordinary by world standards because geography is a core subject in most universities in Europe and East Asia. Additionally, women and minorities are underrepresented in senior academic and professional positions relative to their numbers in the general population, and, at present, few minorities are entering the field. This small human and programmatic base will make it difficult for the discipline to respond effectively to increased demands for attention—demands that are likely to increase still further in the years ahead, especially in education. Realizing geography's potential requires more than addressing the problems presented by the discipline's small size and limited diversity, however. In several critical subject areas, geography's intellectual foundations need to be strengthened to ensure that its contributions to science and society are solidly grounded. The discipline needs to strengthen its understanding of complex systems;1 interactions between scales; interactions between society and nature; and geographic learning, including the effectiveness of interactive learning tools on geographic education. At least as important, the appreciation and use of geography by nongeographers need to be fostered, so that the capacity to make use of the discipline's perspectives, knowledge, and techniques grows along with the capacity of the discipline to supply them. This includes enhancing the geographic competency of the general population and fostering better geographic training in colleges and universities. Filling these gaps will require external support of types and at levels beyond those that have been characteristic in the past, in a setting where conventional sources of support will be constrained by external circumstances. Looking toward the next century, it seems clear that realizing geography's potentials will require innovative new partnerships between provider and user, supported and supporter, one science and another, and basic research and applications of knowledge. If geography as a discipline can be a pathfinder in developing and fulfilling such partnerships, it can play a significant role in realizing its potential, without depending entirely on external action. But in doing so the discipline faces its own internal challenges. In order to respond to external demands and to gain additional external support, the discipline needs to place increased emphasis on such traditional strengths as integration in place, field observation, and foreign field research, as well as geography education as a challenge for research and practice. It also needs to promote more professional interactions with other scientific disciplines and with users of geographic knowledge in government and business at all levels. And it needs to enhance not only its diversity as a discipline but also its appreciation for diversity. The Rediscovering Geography Committee has concluded that a number of internal and external actions are needed to strengthen the discipline and thereby increase its contributions to science and society in the United States in the coming decades. Chapter 8 lists the full set of conclusions. The committee's 11 recommendations are divided into three
categories oriented toward the external audiences of this report, including one recommendation about the process of implementing the previous 10: To improve geographic understanding: 1. Increased research attention should be given to certain core methodological and conceptual issues in geography that are especially relevant to society's concerns. 2. More emphasis should be placed on priority-driven, cross-cutting projects. 3. Increased emphasis should be given to research that improves the understanding of geographic literacy, learning, and problem solving and the roles of geographic information in education and decision making, including interactive learning strategies and spatial decision support systems. To improve geographic literacy: 4. Geography education standards and other guidelines for improved geography education in the schools should be examined to identify subjects where geography's current knowledge base needs strengthening. 5. A significant national program should be established to improve the geographic competence of the U.S. general population as well as of leaders in business, government, and nongovernmental interest groups at all levels. 6. Linkages should be strengthened between academic geography and users of its research. To strengthen geographic institutions: 7. A high priority should be placed on increasing professional interactions between geographers and colleagues in other sciences. 8. A specific effort should be made to identify and address disparities between the growing demands on geography as a subject and the current capabilities of geography to respond as a scientific discipline. 9. A specific effort should be made to identify and examine needs and opportunities for professional geography to focus its research and teaching on certain specific problems or niches, given limitations on the human and financial resources of the discipline. 10. University and college administrators should alter reward structures for academic geographers to encourage, recognize, and reinforce certain categories of professional activity that are sometimes underrated. To encourage implementation of these recommendations: 11. Geographic and related organizations—especially the Association of American Geographers, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, and the National Research Council—should work together to develop and execute a plan to implement the recommendations in this report. In the past decade, concerns about "geographic illiteracy" have been the catalyst for a new focus on geography in this country. Our future as a nation depends substantially on our knowledge base, and many observers agree that current problems with productivity and
competitiveness can be traced in large part to deficiencies in this knowledge base among our fellow citizens. One of the most glaring of these deficiencies is in our knowledge of geography, which is the reason for this report. Recent calls to do something about geographic illiteracy in the United States can be traced to concerns in the 1980s about U.S. competitiveness in the global economy, combined with surveys that documented an astonishing degree of ignorance in the United States about the rest of the world. For example, in a 1986 survey of adults in nine countries, young U.S. adults knew the least about geography of any age group in any country. About one-half could not point out South Africa on a map or identify even one South American country, and only 55 percent could locate New York (Gallup Organization, Inc., 1988). Similarly, a 1987 survey of 5,000 high school seniors in seven cities found that one-quarter of Dallas students could not name the country bordering the United States on the south (Gallup Organization, Inc., 1988). Since the mid-1980s, calls for attention to geographic illiteracy have been frequent, not only from academia and the federal government but from business and state government as well. Consider the following examples: We as a nation are constantly surprised by world political and economic events. They occur in places we never heard of for reasons we do not understand. And we often do not realize the importance of these events in our daily lives. . . . We must accept the fact that we are as dependent on other nations as they are on us, and we must begin to understand our global neighbors. . . . The problem is that we often do not teach geography in this country, and when we do, it is frequently taught poorly.1 (Southern Governors' Association, Cornerstone of Competition, November 1986) I was disturbed by a new survey that shows most Americans don't know where to find the major trouble spots of the world. . . . Before we can figure out how to stop people from stealing our jobs or sending us their illegal drugs, we at least had better find out where they are. (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 1988) The United States is not well-prepared for international trade. . . . How are we to open overseas markets when other cultures are only dimly understood? The imperatives are clear: It is time to learn languages. It is time to learn geography. It is time to change our thinking about the world around us. For we cannot compete in a world that is a mystery beyond our borders. (National Governors' Association, America in Transition: The International Frontier, 1989) Geographic information is critical to promote economic development, improve our stewardship of natural resources, and protect the environment. (Presidential Executive Order, Coordinating Geographic Data Acquisition and Access: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure, April 11, 1994) Behind these calls for increased attention to geographic illiteracy in a very broad sense is a growing public recognition that our national well-being is related to global markets and international political developments, the continued prominence of environmental issues in social discourse, and the emergence of computer and telecommunications technologies that emphasize graphic images such as maps and other spatial diagrams. One result of this increased attention is a rediscovery of the importance of geography education in the United States. Geography is identified as a core subject for American schools, on a par with science and mathematics, in a series of recent policy statements and legislative
proposals for national education reform. These include the report of the Charlottesville summit convened by the 50 state governors and President Bush in October 1989; education reform plans of both the Bush and the Clinton administrations; and Goals 2000: The Educate America Act,2 passed by Congress in March 1994. Geography has also been rediscovered by students. In the period 1986/1987 to 1993/1994, the number of undergraduate majors in geography grew by an estimated 47 percent nationwide and by 60 percent in Ph.D.-granting departments. Between 1985 and 1991, geography graduate program enrollments grew by 33.4 percent, compared with a 15.3 percent increase for the social sciences and a 5.4 percent decrease for the environmental sciences (see Figure 1.1 and Appendix A). This process of rediscovery has been mirrored in the research community as well. Research at the frontiers of fields as diverse as planning, economics, finance, social theory, epidemiology, anthropology, ecology, environmental history, conservation biology, and international relations has been highlighting the importance of geographic perspectives (e.g., Giddens, 1984; Cliff and others, 1986; Forman and Godron, 1986; Krugman, 1991; Soule, 1991; Ruggie, 1993). The importance of a geographic perspective—through recognizing the critical importance of such notions as place and scale—is being acknowledged in many fields, extending the influence of geography well beyond its relatively small group of professional practitioners. This increased emphasis on the perspectives, knowledge, and tools associated with a relatively small academic discipline raises several questions for the scientific community. Most directly, what is geography, and how does it connect with the broad concerns of society and science? Also, if geography is to play a more prominent role in education and decision making, do its scientific foundations need to be strengthened in order to support its expanded responsibilities? With these questions in mind, in 1993 the National Research Council (NRC) established the Rediscovering Geography Committee to perform a comprehensive
Context of the Report
This assessment was conducted during a time of widespread change in conditions both external and internal to the discipline. As a result, change became a central theme of the committee's deliberations. The deliberations resulted in this report, which differs significantly from previous NRC assessments of the discipline.3 Earlier assessments focused internally on disciplinary paradigms and vocabulary. This report instead is focused outward on broad national and global issues; geography's potential as a body of knowledge, perspectives, and techniques to help address them; and constraints on geography's capability as an academic discipline to respond. It is written to articulate to the scientific and policy making communities geography's relevance to such issues, to assist the discipline itself in strengthening its connections with them, and to spotlight the roles of scientific knowledge and skills in geography's response to external expectations. In order to put the report in perspective, the changes considered by the committee are worth reviewing.
Changes in Society
During the past decade, American society has been profoundly affected by global geopolitical, political-economic, and environmental changes. In this dramatic period, political and economic reforms in the former Soviet Union and Central Europe ended the Cold War, which dominated international relations for nearly half a century. The Pacific Rim and Western Europe have become potent competitors for international and U.S. domestic markets, creating new concerns about the U.S. trade balance and U.S. jobs. Market reform and democratization in many areas—Eastern Europe, India, China, Mexico, South Africa, and elsewhere—have changed international political-economic relationships. Scientific evidence of a thinning of the Earth's ozone layer has led to a new sensitivity to trends in global environmental change, and further evidence of accelerated changes in our physical environment—for example, land and water pollution, deforestation, and desertification—has triggered a general concern about "sustainable development." In fact, uneasiness about environmental changes, local and distant, is having an unprecedented impact on policy agendas and market conditions worldwide. In addition, technological change has produced a revolution in information delivery and communication, as powerfully demonstrated during the Gulf War of 1991. Few periods in world history have seen such widespread fundamental change. Although these changes have focused welcome attention on geography as a subject, geography as an academic discipline is limited by size and other constraints from contributing its knowledge, perspectives, and techniques to improving the nation's ability to cope with and prosper under these changing conditions.
Changes in Relationships Between Society and Science
American society has grown increasingly skeptical about the wisdom and value of science, as traditionally defined. One reason may be that advances in science have not been matched by advances in the human condition (e.g., Handler, 1979). Another may be that society expects science to reduce uncertainties, when in so many cases it has instead increased uncertainties. At any rate, science is now being held accountable for its payoffs, during a period when public funds to support research and education are increasingly scarce (NRC, 1993a). The era when public support for science could be expected to increase more rapidly than the nation's rate of economic growth is over, at least for now (Gibbons, 1994), and science is being measured against its usefulness in improving the human condition (OSTP, 1994). Although geography is not accustomed as an academic discipline to thinking in these terms, it has a history of relatively close links between basic research and societal issues. This experience can be useful to the scientific community, as well as to geography itself, under the new conditions for support of science.
Changes in Relationships Between Society and Geography
Perhaps the most dramatic indication of changes in geography's external environment has been the emergence of a strong grass-roots demand for geography education for the first time in U.S. history. Without reviewing the history of Goals 2000: The Educate America Act in any detail, it is clear that geography is being asked to meet educational needs at kindergarten
through grade 12 (K-12) levels that extend beyond geography as an academic discipline per se. In many respects, geography is being seen as an umbrella under which students are taught broadly about interconnections in the contemporary world. Although this spotlight is most welcome from the standpoint of a discipline that for decades felt that it received too little attention, it comes at a time when most universities and institutions that support research face severe financial stringencies, limiting their ability to provide the resources needed to meet the increased expectations from geography that are equivalent to those of much larger bodies of science.
Changes Within Geography Itself
Finally, since the previous NRC assessments, geography in the United States has become larger and more prominent. For example, since 1960 the membership of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) has grown from 2,000 to more than 7,000, and the number of geographers elected to the National Academy of Sciences has increased from zero to eight. Geography has changed in its central thrusts as a discipline, moving toward emphases articulated by Robert Kates as president of the AAG in 1993/1994: improving geographic literacy, relating geographic scholarship to social needs, and strengthening connections with others (Kates, 1994a). The discipline has become more issue oriented in its research agendas, and it has directed more of its attention to moral dimensions of research questions.4 Such major geographic organizations as the AAG and the National Geographic Society (NGS) have moved toward closer associations, and all of geography's national associations (AAG, NGS, the National Council for Geographic Education, and the American Geographical Society) have come together to promote initiatives in geographic education through the Geography Education National Implementation Project.5 Many of these changes within geography are themselves responses to changes in society, and some of them have affected the ways professional geographers view the search for knowledge. Although this report is about geography as a science, such a focus is itself different from what it was a generation ago (see Sidebar 1.1). At the same time, geography (like other disciplines) has been shaped by its access to resources for research and teaching. For instance, the focus in the late 1960s and early 1970s on U.S. social and environmental problems, combined with a steep reduction in financial support for foreign-area research, reduced the proportion of younger American geographers pursuing field research in other countries. In addition, the rapidly growing importance of technologies for information gathering, analysis, and display has increased the costs of staying at the frontier in many fields of geographic research. Taken together, these changes are both so profound and so recent that,
Scope of the Report
A further issue for the committee was its interpretation of relevance, in terms of external expectations on the academic discipline of geography. Rather than limiting the scope of its work to geographic illiteracy, narrowly defined (e.g., the role of geography in disseminating basic facts about foreign areas), the committee examined geography's current and potential connections with a broader range of societal and scientific challenges and opportunities as the twentieth century draws to a close.
As one example of such a broader agenda, the National Science Foundation recently identified eight strategic fields of research, education, and information transfer, associated with U.S. national objectives identified by the President's National Science and Technology Council (NSF, 1994). Of these, five are fields in which geography should be a central contributor: global change research; environmental research; high-performance computing and communications (e.g., geographic information systems and visualization); civil (public) infrastructure systems; and science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education consonant with the Educate America Act. Geography is also relevant in more subtle ways to the other three fields—biotechnology, advanced materials and processes, and advanced manufacturing technology—through its focus on environmental and social issues, resource use, locational decisions, and technology transfer. At the same time, as it seeks to improve our understanding of these issues and the more basic questions that underlie them, science is confronting certain fundamental issues across a wide range of disciplines that seem conceptually similar. As a part of science, geography is deeply involved in some of these issues, such as relationships between macroscale and phenomena and processes,6 understanding complex systems, function. This report examines geography's current and potential relevance to these kinds of issues for science as well as to salient issues for society.
approaches to understanding complexity, and understanding relationships between form and
Content of the Report
To address these questions, Chapter 2 of this report offers several brief examples of geography's relevance to critical issues for U.S. and international society, laying a foundation for later chapters. Chapter 3 summarizes the perspectives of geography as it addresses these and other issues, and Chapter 4 describes geography's techniques. Chapters 5 and 6 then turn in somewhat more detail to geography's potential to contribute first to scientific understanding related to critical issues and then to decision making related to such issues. Chapter 7 confronts certain needs for research and learning initiatives in order to strengthen the discipline's foundations if it is to respond effectively to the changes that confront it, including the unprecedented demands to support educational reform in the United States. Finally, Chapter 8 presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations related to research, education, and outreach. Appendix A reports available data on education and employment trends in geography. As noted previously, this report is written partly to address the interests and concerns of nongeographers about geography's subject matter rather than geography as a discipline (see Sidebar 1.2). It does not review the current state of geography to inform the discipline itself. It is not a description of the history of the discipline in the United States or of how its history has been different in other countries. It is not the statement of a disciplinary consensus on the issues that are addressed. It does not provide a comprehensive review of geography's literature. Indeed, the committee made a conscious effort to keep referencing to a minimum.8
Instead, this report is written for the broad audience that is curious about geography's new place in a national spotlight. It reflects the consensus of the committee on how geography can contribute to issues for science and society on the threshold of the twenty-first century.
在过去的十年中， 关于“地理文盲的关注”已经在美国地理上的一个新焦点的催化剂， “在这个 国家做一些关于”地理盲。最近通话记录可以追溯到在美国的竞争力的担忧全球经济中，记 录了惊人的程度在美国的无知，对世界各地的调查相结合。是一个越来越多的公众认识到， 我们国家的福祉是与全球市场和国际政治的发展， 继续突出在社会话语环境问题， 并出现了 计算机和电信技术，图形图像，如地图和其他空间的图表，所有这一切都是在公众的心目中 与地理。 强调这个日益重视的结果之一是在美国地理教育的重要性的重新发现。 地理标识作 为一个美国学校的核心科目，在科学和数学一样，在一系列最近的政策声明，并为民族教育 的改革立法建议。首脑会议的召开，这些包括弗吉尼亚州的夏洛茨维尔的报告，由 50 个州 的州长和美国总统布什于 1989 年 10 月，布什和克林顿政府的教育改革计划;和 2000 年目 标：美国教育法“，3 月国会通过 1994。 学生的地理也被重新发现。在 1986/1987 至 1993/1994 年期间，在地理本科专业数量增长 全国估计有 47％和 60％的博士学位授予部门。 1985 年至 1991 年期间，地理学研究生课 程的入学率增长了 by33.4％，相比，在社会科学同比增长 15.3％，下降了 5.4％，在环境 科学。 这种重新发现的过程中已经反映在研究界以及。规划，经济学， 金融， 社会理论，流行病学， 人类学，生态学，历史环境，保护生物学，以及国际关系等不同研究领域的前沿，具有突出 的地理视角的重要性。特别是，地点和规模正在确认在许多领域等概念，空间，通过观点的 重要性，扩大地理的影响远远超出其相对较小的专业从业人员。 一个相对较小的学科相关联的观点， 知识和技术的使用增加引起了科学界的几个问题。 最直 接的，什么是地理，并与社会科学的广泛关注，它是如何连接？如果地理是教育和决策中发 挥的作用更加突出，做其科学基础，以支持其扩大的责任，需要加强？ 带着这些问题，国家研究理事会建立了重新发现地理学委员会执行地理在美国的全面评估。 这一评估的目标是： 1。识别的关键问题和地理学科的约束， 2。澄清为教学和科研的重点， 3。链接地理学作为一门科学的发展与国家地理教育的需要， 4。增加地理科学界内部的的升值， 5。有关在美国纪律的未来发展方向与国际科学界的沟通。 在解决这些问题， 本报告侧重于广泛的国家和全球在科学和社会的， 地理的角度和身体的知 识， 以帮助解决这些主题的潜力， 和地理学作为一个学科回应能力的限制的主题。 作为例子， 它主要利用地理作为一门学科内的经验， 虽然是宝贵的地理工作以外的学科， 因为委员会在 很大程度上是由专业的地理学家。然而，在可能的情况下，例子选择说明，这么多的地理调 查的特点，促进跨学科界限的思想，观念，和技术的流动的学科之间的相互联系。 地理的角度来看，题材，技术 对于大多数美国人来说， 地理是关于地名。 对地理无知的关注通常集中在人们无法在世界地 图上找到的城市，国家，河流，地理教学往往是等同于输送世界偏远地区的信息。从这个角 度看， 它可能是一些地理学科说， 大约在二十世纪后期的社会面临的许多关键问题的一个很 大的惊喜。 地理学家所从事的有价值的研究和教学范围从环境变化到社会冲突事宜。 这些活动的价值派 生从学科的的不断变化的字符和地球表面的组织的焦点， 其中在太空中的物质和人力的现象 之间的相互作用结合，以创造独特的自然和（或）社会的特点，或地方区域的方式;的影响，
这些地方都有广泛的自然和人类的活动和进程。 这种担忧是没有简单的练习在很远的地方扩 大博闻强记;他们去一些今天之前，决策者最迫切的问题的心脏。 一个地理中心的宗旨是，“理解的过程和现象的多种位置事项”。事实上，地理上的位置，重 点提供了一个交叉的方式， 在寻找过程和现象， 其他学科往往孤立地对待。 地理学重点的“现 实世界”的关系和字符到一个地方的现象和过程之间的依赖关系。地理学家还寻求了解地方 之间的关系：例如，对人民，货物和思想，加强分化或加强相似之处的流动。换言之，地理 学研究“垂直水平”的地方之间的连接“的特点，确定地点和一体化”。地理学家还注重规模在 这些关系中的重要性（在空间和时间） ，这些研究关系，使地理学家要注意的地方和经常抽 象的处理过程的复杂性，如果在所有其他学科。 地理学的观点是支持独特的技术机构观察， 如现场勘查， 遥感和空间采样和分析和显示地理 数据，如作为制图，可视化，空间统计，和地理信息系统（GISS，见第四章） 。这些技术与 其他学科的共享，但地理环境，从根本上促进其发展和改进的应用程序。 在地理空间参考的资料显示，传统的工具，是地图。对许多人来说，“地图”一词意味着一个 固定的，二维的纸制品含有点，线，面数据。然而，在过去的一代，在数据采集，存储，分 析和显示的进步作出了这种传统观点已经过时。现代地图是一个动态的，多维的产品，开辟 新领域的研究和应用地理调查，以数字化形式存在。这项研究导致了 GIS 的发展，以及地 理可视化及空间分析方法技术， 促进世界的日益复杂和上下文的理解。 目前的研究是在 GIS 扩大技术，采用更先进的地理概念和分析方法。 地理科学的理解和决策的贡献 地理提供了显著的见解到一些纯科学和应用科学面临的主要问题。 此外， 由于社会本身就是 承认，许多在地方，国家和国际范围内的社会面临的重大问题具有非常重要的地理范围。 地理现象和过程相结合，特别是地方的传统利益，例如，在一些人称为搜索今天在科学的一 个新的意义，“复杂性科学。”在其作为一个流动的科学探索，地理已经在空间相互作用的理 解，科学和社会的广泛兴趣的问题领导者。此外，地理的长期关注的相互依赖性之间的尺度 是整个体内的微型（小型或地方）和宏观（或大或全球）的现象和过程（见第 5 章）之间 的关系的科学问题的讨论有关。 地理的视角和技术的重要应用， 在私营和公共部门的决策， 全球的经济和环境问题和现代信 息技术，特别是作为增长的重要性。地理学家在地方，区域，和全球尺度上作出了多种决策 作出了显著贡献的问题，例如，管理的危害，了解当地变化的全球环境和经济的变化和它们 之间的相互作用，并制定有效的业务战略（见第 6 章） 。 加强地理学的基础 地理学的技能和观点以应对不断增长的需求的能力是有限的几个现实（见第七章） 。尽管三 十年的专业地理学家的数量增长， 地理界仍然相对较小， 大多数其他自然科学和社会科学学 科。很少有高校有大量的地理各部门，各高等院校的许多机构都没有地理课程，包括一些国 家的著名大学。 这种情况是非凡的世界标准， 因为地理是在欧洲和东亚的大多数大学的核心 科目。此外，妇女和少数民族的代表性不足，他们的人数在总人口中的相对在高级学术和专 业岗位，而且，目前，很少有少数民族进入该领域。这个小的人力和方案的基础，将使纪律 难以有效应对注意要求， 有可能在未来几年内进一步增加， 特别是在教育， 不断增加的需求。 实现地理学的潜力，需要纪律的小规模和有限的多样性提出的问题，但是。在几个关键主题 领域的，地理的知识基础需要加强，以确保其科学和社会的贡献是坚实的基础。纪律需要加 强了解复杂的系统; 1 相互作用之间的尺度，社会和自然之间的相互作用;和地理的学习，包 括地理教育的互动学习工具的有效性。重要的是，至少 nongeographers 地理的赞赏和使用 需要促进，这样的能力，使学科的观点，知识和技术的使用随着该学科的供应能力增长。这 包括加强总人口的地理能力和加强高校的地理培训。
填补这些差距，就需要超越这些特点已在将由外部环境的制约，常规能源的支持的设置，在 过去的类型和水平的外部支持。展望下一世纪的，它似乎很清楚，实现地理学的潜力，将需 要创新的提供者和使用者之间建立新的伙伴关系，支持和支持者，和一门科学，基础研究和 应用知识。 如果地理作为一门学科， 可以在制定和履行这种伙伴关系的开创者， 它可以在实现其潜力发 挥显著作用，不完全取决于外部动作。但在这样做的纪律面临其自身内部的挑战。为了应对 外部需求，并获得额外的外部支持，纪律等传统优势，整合到位，实地观察，和国外实地调 研， 以及地理教育放在更加重视研究和实践的挑战。 它还需要， 促进与其他学科和地理知识， 在各级政府和企业用户更专业的相互作用。和 IT 需求，以提高其多样性不仅作为一门学科， 但也赞赏多样性。 重新发现地理学委员会得出结论认为， 一些内部和外部的行动需要加强纪律， 从而提高其在 未来几十年在美国科学和社会的贡献。第 8 章列出了全套的结论。该委员会的 11 项建议分 为三类对本报告的外部受众，其中包括实施前 10 的过程中建议面向： 为了改善地理的认识： 1。增加研究的重视，应给予一定的核心方法和概念在地理问题，特别是有关社会的关注。 2。更多的重点应放在优先级驱动，横向项目。 3。应更加重视研究，提高地理素养，学习和解决问题，并在教育和决策，包括互动的学习 策略和空间决策支持系统的地理信息的作用的认识。 为了提高地理素养： 4。地理教育标准和其他准则为改善学校的地理教育，应审查，以确定地理当前知识库需要 加强的科目。 5。应建立一个显著的国家方案，以改善美国总人口的地理的能力，以及企业，政府和各级 民间利益团体的领导人。 6。其研究的学术地理和用户之间的联系也应当加强。 要加强地理机构： 7。一个高度优先事项，应放在增加地理学家和其他学科的同事之间的专业互动。 8。应作出特殊努力，找出并解决地理学日益增长的需求作为一个学科和地理的现有能力之 间的差距，以应对作为一门学科。 9。应作出特殊努力，来识别和检查专业地理的需求和机会，专注于某些特定的问题或壁龛， 对本学科的人力和财力资源的限制，其研究和教学。 10。大学和高校管理者应改变学术地理学者的奖励结构，鼓励，识别，并加强有时是被低 估的某些类别的专业活动。 为了鼓励实施这些建议： 11。地理及相关组织，尤其是美国地理学家协会，国家科学基金会，国家地理学会和国家研 究理事会应共同努力，制定和执行计划，落实本报告中的建议。 在过去的十年中，“地理盲”的担忧已在这个国家的新焦点对地理的催化剂。我们作为一个民 族的未来很大程度上取决于我们的知识基础上， 许多观察家都同意， 目前的生产力和竞争力 的问题都可以在很大程度上追溯到在此之间我们的同胞知识库的缺陷。 这些不足之处最明显 的是在我们的地理知识，这是本报告的原因。 最近呼吁在美国的地理文盲做的东西，可以追溯到在有关美国在全球经济中的竞争力相结 合，记录了在美国的无知令人惊讶的程度，对世界各地的调查，的 20 世纪 80 年代的担忧。 例如，在 1986 年在九个国家的成年人进行的调查，年轻的美国成年人知道任何国家在任何 年龄组的地理最少。大约一半无法在地图上指出南非或标识连一个南美国家，只有 55％能 找到纽约（盖洛普组织，公司，1988 年） 。同样，1987 年在七个城市的 5000 的高年级学
生的调查发现，四分之一的达拉斯学生无法说出美国接壤的南部（盖洛普组织，公司，1988 年）的国家。 20 世纪 80 年代中期以来，一直呼吁重视地理盲频繁，不仅来自学术界和联邦政府，而是由 企业和国家政府以及的。请看下面的例子： 作为一个国家， 我们正不断由世界政治和经济事件感到惊讶。 他们出现在我们从来没有听说 过的原因，我们不明白的地方。 我们经常没有意识到这些事件在我们日常生活中的重要 性。 。 。我们必须接受的事实是，我们对其他国家的依赖，因为他们对我们，我们必须 。 首先了解我们的全球邻居。 。 。 。问题是，我们常常不教这个国家地理，当我们这样做， 这是经常教导 poorly.1（南州长协会，竞争的基石，1986 年 11 月） 我感到不安的一项新的调查显示，大多数美国人不知道在哪里可以找到世界上主要的麻烦 点……之前我们能弄清楚如何阻止窃取我们的工作， 或向我们发送的非法毒品的人， 我们至 少有更好的找出他们在哪里。 （克拉伦斯页，“芝加哥论坛报”，1988 年 7 月 31 日） 美国国际贸易做好准备。。。。 我们如何打开海外市场， 当其他文化只能模模糊糊的理解？ 的必要性是显而易见的：它是学习语言的时间。它是学习地理的时间。它是时间来改变我们 的思想对我们周围的世界。对于我们不能超出了我们的边界是一个神秘的世界竞争。 （全 国州长协会，美国过渡：国际前沿，1989 年） 地理信息是关键，促进经济发展，改善我们的自然资源的管理，和保护环境。 （总统行政 命令，协调地理数据采集和访问：国家空间数据基础设施，1994 年 4 月 11 日） 这些要求更加重视在一个非常广泛的意义上说的地理文盲的背后是公众的认可不断发展， 我 们国家的福祉是关系到全球市场和国际政治的发展， 继续在社会话语环境问题突出， 和计算 机的出现，和电信技术，强调作为地图及其他空间图等图形图像。 这个日益重视的结果之一是在美国地理教育的重要性的重新发现。 地理标识作为一个美国学 校的核心科目，在科学和数学一样，在一系列最近的政策声明，并为民族教育的改革立法建 议。 这些措施包括夏洛茨维尔峰会召开由 50 个州的州长和美国总统布什于 1989 年 10 月的 报告，布什和克林顿政府的教育改革计划和 2000 年目标：在 1994 年 3 月，国会通过美法 教育。 学生的地理也被重新发现。在 1986/1987 至 1993/1994 年期间，在地理本科专业数量增长 全国估计有 47％和 60％的博士学位授予部门。 1985 年至 1991 年期间，地理学研究生计划招生增长 33.4％，同比增长 15.3％为社会科学 和环境科学为下降 5.4％（参见图 1.1 和附录 A） 。 这种重新发现的过程中已经反映在研究界以及。规划，经济，金融，社会理论，流行病学， 人类学，生态学，历史环境，保护生物学，以及国际关系等不同研究领域的前沿已经突出地 理角度（例如，吉登斯，1984 年的重要性;悬崖，其他人，1986; Forman 和 Godron，1986 年，克鲁格曼，1991 年，1991 年苏莱，鲁杰，1993 年） 。的重要性地域角度来看，通过认 识至关重要的地点和规模， 是在许多领域承认这样的观念， 扩大地理的影响远远超出其相对 较小的专业从业人员。 这更加强调的观点， 知识和相关的工具与相对较小的学科引起了科学界的几个问题。 最直接 的，什么是地理，并与社会科学的广泛关注，它是如何连接？此外，如果地理是在教育和决 策中发挥的作用更加突出，做它的科学基础，以支持其扩大的责任，需要加强？ 带着这些问题，国家研究理事会（NRC）成立于 1993 年重新发现地理学委员会进行全面的 背景报告 在一个广泛的变化在外部和内部的纪律条件进行了评估。 因此， 改变成为一个中央委员会的 审议主题。在这份报告中，显著不同的侧重于内部纪律范式和词汇的 discipline.3 以前的评 估从以前的 NRC 评估审议结果。 这而不是向外重点是广泛的国家和全球性问题的报告;和地
理学作为一个学科回应能力的限制;地理学的知识，观点和技术，以帮助解决他们的身体的 潜力。这是写来阐述科学和政策，使社区地理学的相关性等问题，协助学科本身，加强与他 们的联系和聚光灯地理学的回应外界的期望，科学知识和技能的角色。 为了把在视角的报告，由委员会审议的变化是值得检讨。 改变社会 在过去的十年中，美国社会已深刻地影响全球地缘政治，经济，政治和环境的变化。在这个 戏剧性的时期， 前苏联和中欧在政治和经济改革结束了冷战， 统治了近半个世纪的国际关系。 环太平洋地区和西欧已成为强有力的竞争对手的国际和美国国内市场， 对美国的贸易平衡和 美国的就业机会创造新的忧虑。在许多地区，东欧，印度，中国，墨西哥，南非，和其他的 市场改革和民主化 其中已经变化了的国际政治经济关系。 一个地球的臭氧层变薄所产生的科学证据带来了一个 新的灵敏度在全球环境变化的趋势，并进一步证明了加速改变我们的物理环境中为，例如， 土地和水的污染，森林砍伐，以及荒漠化已引发一个普遍关注“可持续发展”。事实上，有关 环境的变化，局部和远处的不安，是前所未有的冲击对全球政策议程和市场条件。此外，技 术变革产生了信息传递和交流的革命，在 1991 年海湾战争而有力的证明。在世界历史上很 少有时间看到如此广泛的根本性的变化。 虽然这些变化都集中在地理作为一个学科， 地理学 科是由大小和其他方面的限制，从提高全民族的能力，这些不断变化的条件下，以配合和繁 荣贡献自己的知识，观点和技术的限制欢迎关注。 在科学和社会之间的关系的变化 美国社会变得越来越持怀疑态度的智慧和科学价值， 传统的定义。 原因之一可能是科学的进 步还没有在人类生存条件的进步（例如，处理程序，1979 年）相匹配。另一种可能是社会 期望科学，以减少不确定性，当它在如此众多的情况下反而增加了不确定性。无论如何，科 学是目前正在举行其收益在一段期间内，当公共资金，以支持研究和教育日益稀缺（NRC， 1993） “当公众对科学的支持可以被预期，以增加比全国经济增长速度更迅速的时代至少 。 为现在 （吉本斯， 1994） 和科学， 是被反对它的用处测量在改善人类生活条件 （OSTP，1994 年） 。虽然地理是不习惯于在这些方面的思考作为一个学科，它有一个相对基础研究和社会 问题之间的密切联系的历史。这方面的经验可有助于科学界，以及地理学本身，支持科学的 新的条件下。 在社会和地理之间的关系的变化 也许在地理的外部环境的变化最剧烈的指示一直是一个强有力的基层地理教育的需求， 为美 国历史上的首次出现。 不检讨 2000 年目标的历史： 教育美法在任何一个细节， 它是明确的， 地理被要求在幼儿园到 12 年级（K - 12）作为学科本身的水平，超越地理延伸，以满足教 育需求。在许多方面，地理是被视为下一个学生讲授在当今世界广泛约互连伞。虽然这聚光 灯是最欢迎的一门学科的角度来看， 几十年来认为它收到的关注太少， 当大多数大学和研究 机构，支持研究工作面临严峻的金融 stringencies，限制了它们提供的资源的能力需要时间 满足从地理科学较大的机构，相当于增加的期望。 在地理本身的变化 最后，自上次 NRC 的评估，地理在美国已经成为更大，更突出。例如，自 1960 年以来， 美国地理学家协会的成员（AAG）成长从 2000 到 7000 多名，并当选为国家科学院的地理 学家的数量增加了从零到 8 个。地理作为一门学科，重点在 1993/1994 AAG 主席罗伯特 Kates 阐述：走向改善地理素养，社会需求有关地理奖学金，并加强与其他连接（Kates， 1994 年）在其中央的推力改变。该学科已经成为多面向问题，在其研究议程，并已指示其 注意力研究 questions.4 等重大 AAG 和国家地理学会（NGS）的地理组织的道德层面走向 更紧密的协会，并地理学的所有国家协会（AAG，农工商，全国委员会和美国地理学会地
理教育）走到了一起，促进地理教育的国家执行 Project.5 地理教育的举措 许多内地理这些变化本身就是对社会变化的反应， 其中一些影响的专业地理学观点探求知识 的方法。虽然这份报告是作为一门科学，地理，这样的重点是它是什么前一代（见边栏 1.1） 不同。 与此同时，地理（像其他学科）已形成其研究和教学资源的访问。例如，在 20 世纪 60 年 代末和 70 年代初美国社会和环境问题上与外资方面的研究在财政支持大幅度减少结合，重 点减少的追求领域的研究在其他国家的年轻的美国地理学家比例。此外，信息收集，分析和 显示技术的迅速增长的重要性已经增加了在边境停留在地理研究的许多领域的成本。 两者合计，这些变化是如此深刻，所以最近，报告范围为委员会的另一个问题是其相关的解 释，对地理学科的外部期望。而不是限制其工作范围的地理文盲，狭义上的（例如，地理的 作用，在传播有关外国地区的基本情况） ，委员会审查与更广泛的社会和科学的挑战和机遇 作为地理学的现有和潜在的连接二十世纪即将结束之际。 作为这样一个更广泛的议程的一个例子，国家科学基金会最近确定了 8 个研究，教育和信 息传输的战略领域，与美国总统的国家科学和技术委员会（NSF，1994 年）国家确定的目 标相关。其中，5 个领域，其中地理，应中央贡献者：全球变化研究，环境研究;高性能计 算和通信（例如，地理信息系统和可视化）;公民（市民）基础设施系统和科学，数学，工 程和技术教育与美国教育法辅音。 地理也更微妙的方式向其他三个领域的生物技术， 先进材 料和工艺有关，和先进的制造技术，通过其对环境和社会问题，资源利用，选址决定，技术 转让的关注。 同时，因为它旨在提高我们对这些问题的理解和更基本的问题背后，科学是跨学科，似乎概 念上类似于广泛面临一些根本性的问题。作为科学，地理是深深卷入了一些这些问题，如宏 观现象和过程之间的关系， 理解复杂系统， 发展综合的方法来理解复杂和理解的形式和功能 之间的关系。 本报告审查地理的现有和潜在的相关性，这些科学问题，以及对社会的突出问题。 报告的内容 为了解决这些问题，本报告第 2 章提供了地理学的相关性的几个简短的例子，美国和国际 社会的关键问题， 为后面的章节的基础。 第三章总结了地理的角度为解决这些问题和其他问 题，和第 4 章介绍地理的技术。第五章和第六章，然后打开有些更详细的地理学的潜力作 出贡献的第一关键问题的科学认识和决策等问题。第 7 章将面临一定的需求的研究和学习 的主动性，以加强该学科的基础，如果它是有效应对面临的变化，包括了前所未有的需求， 以支持美国教育改革。最后，第 8 章介绍了相关研究，教育和宣传委员会的结论和建议。 附录 A 在地理教育和就业趋势报告提供的数据。 如前所述，这是书面报告，部分解决 nongeographers 有关地理的标的物的利益和关注，而 不是作为一门学科，地理（见边栏 1.2） 。它不检讨当前状态的地理学科本身的通知。它不 是在美国或纪律， 其历史已在其他国家不同的历史描述。 这不是上解决的问题的纪律达成共 识的声明。地理学的文学，它不提供一个全面的检讨。事实上，委员会有意识地努力保持引 用到 minimum.8 相反，这是书面报告，为广大观众好奇地理新的地方在全国聚光灯。它反映了委员会的地理 可以如何促进科学和社会问题，二十一世纪的门槛上达成共识。