Computers and Geography: From Automated Geography to Digital Earth

  • Daniel Sui
  • Richard Morrill


The computer has drastically transformed both the world of geography as an academic discipline and the geography of the world in which we live. This chapter traces the evolution of computers from being a tool for geographers to collect, analyze, map, and visualize data since the mid- to late-1950s to increasingly becoming an integral part of the world geographers study by the end of the 20th century. Computers have enriched the discipline of geography with the development of automated geography, GIScience, and the virtual geography department. The increasing etherealization of geography, as evidenced by the emerging digital individuals, virtual cities, and digital earth, has raised many fundamental scientific, socioeconomic, and ethical questions that need further investigation. To better understand the world, geographers must try to rely on state-of-the-art computers on the one hand, and at the same time, recognize the fundamental limits of computation and build dialogues with a variety of different scholarly traditions.


computers automated geography GIS digital earth geographies of the information society 


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  • Daniel Sui
  • Richard Morrill

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