why do we need knowledge of gis in geography

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26. Irrigation water management:
Water availability for irrigation purposes for any area is vital for crop production in that region. It needs to be properly and efficiently managed for the proper utilization of water. To evaluate the irrigation performance, integrated use of satellite remote sensing and GIS assisted by ground information has been found to be efficient technique in spatial and time domain for identification of major crops and their conditions, and determination of their areal extent and yield. Irrigation requirements of crop were determined by considering the factors such as evapotranspiration, Net Irrigation Requirement, Field irrigation Requirement, Gross Irrigation Requirement, and month total volume of water required, by organizing them in GIS environment. (A. M. Chandra, вS. K. Ghosh, Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System) There is a need for experts both in geography and computer science. Yet imo it is possible to perform spatial analysis and answer tough geographical questions without having a solid background in computer science (further CS). When I say CS, I don\’t mean some quick scripting of a GIS workflow with Python (kind of questions you could find here).

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I mean something like developing analysis algorithms and data structures for handling geodata (Dijkstra\’s algorithm used in GIS routing is a good example). As a geographer, you are a SME in your area of expertise – it could be physical geography or urban planning, for instance. Knowing your subject is crucial for solving spatial problems and neither GIS professionals nor \”CS person\” could answer those questions without learning how the world works. Likewise, a geographer needs expertise from IT people who could develop required techniques and methodologies as well as GIS professionals who could operate the software properly and build reliable analysis workflows. So, it is all about cooperation and interchange of knowledge. I\’ve seen people who are true experts in geography (such as geology), masters in GIS (know Esri/open-source/databases/Remote Sensing/GPS/x), and can write super-fast algorithm for finding out at what distance zillions of points are located from each other in the evening. However, most of us seem to focus either on geography and/or GIS or computer science, not both.

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This is because it is hard to maintain the competence in both fields and assignments you\’ll get at work are typically fairly focused. I strongly believe that as a geographer, you can take advantage of learning GIS to be able to use GIS as a tool when doing your research and your work. This is like learning Excel for an accountant – you can do a lot with the calculator, but it gets tough without some software. For GIS people, learning some concepts of computer science is very important. This is why most of the GIS/geomatics programs include (or really should) IT-related courses such as basics of algorithm analysis, programming, and software development. However, as a GIS person, you can get a lot of your work done by using some of the IT skills you learned without obtaining deep knowledge in how computers work. Job wise, it seems as aside from geographers, companies are looking mainly for GIS Analysts and GIS Developers. Analysts are required to have general competence in geography (as it is important to understand the world the features of which you are analyzing) and developers are required to understand the least necessary parts of geography (just so you know that the world is kind of round) and computer science (which you cannot avoid when developing a software or an application).

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Last words. If you can learn programming and CS things, do that. It is never unwise to have those skills as being able to develop something new and improve existing software will be in demand for a good time. Try learning about computer science on yourself first, though. There are plenty of online courses out there. If you are into it, if you like it, if you feel that you have enough persistence and analytical skills, then get a second degree or certificate in CS. You will just become more attractive for employers and will feel more comfortable when solving geographical problems with GIS (for instance, you will be able to choose a more appropriate technique as you understand efficiency of algorithms). If you realize after spending some time learning the CS that it is not really you thing, it is also fine. Develop your skills in GIS and learn only those parts of CS that are useful for your work.

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