Last week at Columbia University, hundreds of scholars, policy makers, environmental researchers, and geographers sat down to discuss how geography can be used to solve major world problems at this year’s Geography2050 Conference. The theme for the conference, “Envisioning a Sustainable Planet”, focused on the use of GIS tools, data, and novel approaches to aid in the protection, preservation, and conservation of our planet for future generations.
GIS has long been a critical tool in the ecologists arsenal, with common uses ranging from land use analysis, pollution monitoring, among many others. At Fulcrum, we have customers who use our mobile app in the field everyday for ecological research; conducting sea turtle nest mapping, monitoring light pollution, and conducting wildlife inventories. However, actually seeing firsthand how researchers were using GIS in the field was absolutely fascinating to me.
Some of the more exciting uses of GIS tools and data I saw at the conference were:
In addition, a variety of compelling maps were shown demonstrating the scope and scale of our impact on the environment:
This year at Geography 2050, I learned an incredible amount about environmental science, ecological concerns, and our role in preserving this planet for future generations. But after the conference, on my flight home, there was one major point I reflected on: The value of geographic education goes far beyond just maps: it gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us as well as the analytical tools needed to solve large scale, complex problems. I was honored to have attended Geography2050 this year, and look forward to contributing to the conference, as well as the tradecraft, in the future.