Scientific geography is one of the great traditions of contemporary geography.
The scientific approach in geography, as elsewhere, involves the precise definition
of variables and theoretical relationships that can be shown to be logically
consistent. The theories are judged on the clarity of specification of their
hypotheses and on their ability to be verified through statistical empirical
The study of scientific geography provides as much enjoyment and intellectual stimulation as does any subject in the university curriculum. Furthermore, scientific geography is also concerned with the demonstrated usefulness of the topic toward explanation, prediction, and prescription.
Although the empirical tradition in geography is centuries old, scientific geography could not mature until society came to appreciate the potential of the discipline and until computational methodology became commonplace. Today, there is widespread acceptance of computers, and people have become interested in space exploration, satellite technology, and general technological approaches to problems on our planet. With these prerequisites fulfilled, the infrastructure needed for the development of scientific geography is in place.
Scientific geography has demonstrated its capabilities in providing tools for analyzing and understanding geographic processes in both human and physical realms. It has also proven to be of interest to our sister disciplines and is becoming increasingly recognized for its value to professionals in business and government. The Scientific Geography Series will present the contributions of scientific geography in a unique manner. Each topic will be explained in a small book, or module. The introductory books are designed to reduce the barriers of learning; successive books at a more advanced level will follow the introductory modules to prepare the reader for contemporary developments in the field.
The Scientific Geography Series begins with several important topics in human geography, followed by studies in other branches of scientific geography. The modules are intended to be used as classroom texts and as reference books for researchers and professionals. Wherever possible, the series will emphasize practical utility and include real-world examples.
We are proud of the contributions of geography and are proud in particular of the heritage of scientific geography. All branches of geography should have the opportunity to learn from one another; in the past, however, access to the contributions and the literature of scientific geography has been very limited. I believe that those who have contributed significant research to topics in the field are best able to bring its contributions into focus. Thus, I would like to express my appreciation to the authors for their dedication in lending both their time and expertise, knowing that the benefits will by and large accrue not to themselves but to the discipline as a whole.
Grant Ian Thrall