Spatial Data Analysis is a Core Geography Skill. Is it misunderstood at AAG?

November 17, 2015 at 1:01 pm  •  Posted in Education, Geography by  •  0 Comments

The other day a reader asked for information on careers in geography and I referred her to this page on the Association of American Geographer’s website:

The page was still open in my browser this morning so I poked around a bit and found this.


Job options for expertise in Spatial Statistics include GIS Tech, Statistics Assistant and Architect? Really? I realize this page is somewhat dated but come on. How about Statistician? Or Data Scientist? I don’t know where the AAG gets the notion that spatial statistics people should consider a career in Architecture. I’m not saying it’s completely unrelated but it certainly doesn’t logically follow.

I checked the citation and didn’t find any hint of Spatial Statistics being related to pursuing a career as an Architect. I did, however, find an interesting chart illustrating strong demand for spatial statistics and GIS. If it was a top priority in 2008 imagine how it’s perceived today after the emergence of Big Data Analytics.



Tables 8 and 9 are from p. 368-369 in Skills in Professional Geography: An Assessment of Workforce Needs and Expectations.

Funny, I don’t see any mention of Social Theory. Although I suppose some would say it’s what the General Skill, “Critical Thinking” is meant to represent, anyone from outside Academia would probably not know there is extra significance to the word “Critical” here. In any case, these charts reaffirm my contention that Geography should marginalize Social Theory and more fully embrace Spatial Analysis.

In the meantime, could the AAG update these job titles so young aspiring geographers aren’t misled?

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