Geography: Science or Social Science?!
Geography a word derived from the Greek word geographia which means earth description has been long considered as one of the fundamental subjects in education system right from the beginning of the system. A subject that is unique in bridging the social and physical aspects of the globe.
Stories about princes being taught geography when they were young, be it Alexander from Greece or Ashoka from India are well known. It is one of the most important subjects that an educated person and more importantly a future king needed to know. Geography knowledge was seen as a vital to survival and success.
Coming back to the Present – 2013! We see GIS and Location based applications being used ubiquitously.
In India, GIS is being actively employed by the electricity department to keep track of their installations and to help in maintenance. The cops in the country are now getting GPS fitted vehicles to keep track of their resources and help maintain Law and Order. These are just well known applications of “Geography”.
A country of a billion plus people has only a thousand or more Geography / Geo-information graduates coming out of universities every year. There is a tremendous requirement for human resources with very good understanding of Geographic Sciences in the private industry across the globe. All the countries in the world are slowly getting to realize the importance of having geography in the education mainstream. The Indian Planning Commission presented a report in this regard – “The National Task Force on Geospatial Education” which talks about how to help increase Geography awareness in the country.
I’ll leave the how to improve Geography awareness question to the experts, the question that I have in mind –
“Are we correct in categorizing Geography as a social science and not as a Science?”
I strongly believe that it is time that we accept Geography as a science subject. The knowledge of our surroundings is just as important as the knowledge of Physics and Mathematics. Whenever I talk to my friends who are Engineers or Natural Science students, it is hard for them to accept the importance of Geography. I always use the example that Surveying was perhaps the mother of necessity for the development of Mathematics and Science. Humans needed a much more evolved form of numbers and science to be able to keep track of their territories and it is highly possible that this was one of the primary reasons for the development of mathematics. An argument that took it time to be accepted.
A subject that studies physical phenomenons and interaction between different elements cannot be limited to be called “Social Science”. Geography is not just a Social Science, it is Science with a social element to it.
geography science or social science – What do you think? Let us know!
Mapping the MOOD of a Nation- ‘Socio-Spatial Analytics’
I have always had interest in ‘socio-spatial analytics’, I had wanted to carry out a research I called business intelligence analytics from tweets.
I also was trying out another research to determine individual’s ‘Socio-spatial scope’ based on individual’s socio-spatial interest foraged from individual’s social network activities.
An interesting one here has come from some British scientists at the Loughborough University who developed an application that could map the mood in the nation leveraging people’s tweets and social network conversations.
The system can scan up to 2000 tweets per second and rate the expressions for any of the 8 human emotions. The system can extract direct expression of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame and confusion from each tweet.
Considering the growth in the number of tweets per day which runs to 340 million tweets per day, national mood estimation from tweets is most probable.
Making sense of the emotions in people’s expression through tweets and geo-locating where these tweets originate would lead to a sensible evaluation of the prevailing mood within a geographic area.
The scientists believe that the system could help in monitoring and controlling civil unrest and also in detecting early threats to public safety.
The system is currently in use in the UK and could be scaled-up for a global use.
Very similar to the Pulse of the Nation program; inferring US mood through the day from tweet.
See the Video below..