Geographers study the nature and use of areas of the Earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including landforms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

  • Create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography, such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation, topography, and map scales.
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Write and present reports of research findings.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources such as censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Teach geography.
  • Study the economic, political, and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.
  • Collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations, climates, and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.
  • Locate and obtain existing geographic information databases.
  • Conduct field work at outdoor sites.
  • Provide geographical information systems support to the private and public sectors.
  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • Provide consulting services in fields such as resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.
Work Context
  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded "Every day".
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 91% responded "Every day".
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 74% responded "Every day".
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 57% responded "Some freedom".
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 70% responded "Some freedom".
  • Telephone — 57% responded "Once a week or more but not every day".
  • Contact With Others — 40% responded "Constant contact with others".
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Work Activities
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
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Detailed Work Activities
  • Prepare maps.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
  • Collect archival data.
  • Conduct anthropological or archaeological research.
  • Instruct college students in social sciences or humanities disciplines.
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Knowledge

Geography
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
English Language
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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Skills

Reading Comprehension
  • Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing
  • Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking
  • Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening
  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
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Abilities

Oral Comprehension
  • The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
  • The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
  • The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
  • The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
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Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Analytical or scientific software
  • Minitab Hot Technology
  • SAS Hot Technology
  • IBM SPSS Statistics Hot Technology
  • The MathWorks MATLAB Hot Technology
  • MODPATH
  • Pattern searching software
  • RockWare MODFLOW
  • Systat Software SigmaPlot
  • Groundwater Vistas
  • HydroSOLVE AQTESOLV
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
Word processing software
  • Microsoft Word Hot Technology
Map creation software
  • Geographic information system GIS software Hot Technology
  • ESRI ArcGIS software Hot Technology
  • Trimble Pathfinder Office
  • Martin D Adamiker's TruFlite
  • MapInfo MapMarker
  • Caliper Maptitude
  • Clark Labs IDRISI Andes
  • ESRI ArcIMS
  • ESRI ArcInfo
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Geographic resources analysis support system GRASS
  • Golden Software Surfer
  • ITT Visual Information Solutions ENVI
  • Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE
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Education

Bachelor's Degree or
Master's Degree
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Job Outlook

New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
Salary
$85,430
$53,630
$117,100