Usefulness of Mathematics in Geography

Geography has a perception of being little more than capital cities and memorizing maps. This could be further from what geography is about. Many people forget that mathematics is an important part of geography.


Photo by Clipper

Here is an example. Surveyors have to use geometry in their work. This involves determining distances, terrestrial positions, the angles between distances. Surveyors use altimeters to determine height. Surveyors also have to be familiar with datum coordinates. If you’re a home owner, thank a surveyor. Surveyors help in establishing boundaries for home ownership.

Latitude, longitude, altitude, distance, temperatures(in both Centigrade and Fahrenheit), angles, measuring slope gradient, this goes into geography. If you use GPS, consider the coordinates used. Also consider that there are algorithms that go into programming GPS. Linear Algebra is used.


Consider these videos. This one involves converting geographic coordinates to decimal format.

And of course, consider all that goes into Geographic Information Systems(GIS). One retrieves, stores, uses geographic data, spatial data. Data that involves geographic coordinates, distances, and consider geostatistics. This is a branch of statistics that is applied to geography and geology. Mathematics is used.

Consider this. Geography is a spatial science. To consider things spatially, measuring those spaces is required.



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