Geographer

The social and economic wellbeing of nations and individuals depend on complex and interrelated interactions between people and natural and built environments. Nature provides goods and services that respond directly or indirectly to our needs and wants. Understanding complex interactions between people and their physical environments ensures that human health and wellbeing is ensured, and economies flourish sustainably while securing ecological integrity of our natural systems. Geography involves the study of these interactions in varied geographical spaces.

Geographers study and analyse the interrelationships and interactions between human activities and the natural and built environment. They study varied environmental phenomenon and human spatial relations. They collect and create datasets to map and interpret these relations and advise on the best opportunities for a sustainable environment and thriving society. Some may analyse the regional distribution of resources and economic activities or provide support for geopolitical affairs.

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, geographers engage with a range of professionals in different fields. They can spend a lot of time in an office environment, occasionally travelling for fieldwork to gather data for research.

Skills

An in-depth understanding of spatial relations and scale is required by geographers, and the ability to map geographic information using GIS and other spatial software. They will also benefit from:

  • Critical thinking ability to analyse complex interrelationships
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Good understanding of geographical theories
  • Strong spatial competence 

Tasks

Study physical landform features, climate and socio-economic factors 

Construct, modify and interpret representations of geographic data

Advise government and other stakeholders on the assessment of geographic conditions and anomalies

Write reports and publish research findings

Studies

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Geography at all universities

B.A., B.A. (Hons), M.A. in Geography at NWU, RU, SU, UMP, UWC and Wits

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

Research institutions.

Urban and town planning firms. 

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