Geographic Approach

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The Geographic Approach

"Geography, the science of our world, coupled with GIS is helping us [better] understand the earth and apply geographic knowledge to a host of human activities. The outcome is the emergence of The Geographic Approach—a new way of thinking and problem solving that integrates geographic information into how we understand and manage our planet. This approach allows us to create geographic knowledge by measuring the earth, organizing this data, and analyzing and modeling various processes and their relationships. The Geographic Approach also allows us to apply this knowledge to the way we design, plan, and change our world." - Jack Dangermond[1]

Step 1: Ask

What is the problem you are trying to solve or analyze, and where is it located?

Step 2: Aquire

Determine the data needed to complete your analysis and ascertain where that data can be found or generated.

Step 3: Examine

Examination includes visual inspection, investigating how the data is organized (its schema), how well the data corresponds to other datasets and the rules of the physical world (its topology), and the story of where the data come from (its metadata).

Step 4: Analyze

The data is processed and analyzed based on the method of examination or analysis you choose, which is dependent on the results you hope to achieve.

Step 5: Act

Results and presentation are part of the decision making process. Results can be shared through reports, maps, tables, and charts and delivered in printed form or digitally over a network or on the Web.


  1. Dangermond, Jack. "GIS - The Geographic Approach." ArcNews. Fall 2007. [1]