The American Geographical Society (AGS) advances and promotes geography in business, government, science, and education. Our goal is to enhance the nation’s geographic literacy so as to engender sound public policy, national security, and human well-being worldwide.
Since 1851, AGS has been a leading advocate for geography in the United States and around the world. We continue unabated in our efforts to advance geographical understanding. The need has never been greater than it is today.
AGS stands for better analysis and decision-making in business and government based on better understanding of how real world geography affects society, economics, infrastructure, and politics.
AGS stands for better science and education based on explicit recognition of the spatial and temporal contexts that shape the real world and influence how it works.
Geography is to space what history is to time. It is a spatial way of thinking, a science with distinctive methods and tools, a body of knowledge about places, and a set of information technologies old and new. For 2,500 years, geographic technology (cartography, geodesy, and navigation) led the advancement of earth sciences. Today geographic information systems (GIS) are revolutionizing just about every aspect of society that involves locations, movements, and flows. Far from displacing human intelligence, emerging information technologies demand more geographic expertise and understanding than ever was needed before.
Geography is essential to business. “Location, location, location” is the mantra of business, and location is central to geography as well. Real world geography drives economic activity, international trade, and many other determinants of profitability. Location theory, physical and cultural geography, and GIS explain geographic factors affecting business decisions regarding supply and demand; location of manufacturing, wholesale, and retail establishments; and the geographic conditions (cultural and physical) under which businesses operate in domestic and foreign regions. Geographic methods are key to understanding economic efficiencies in the spatial organization of resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and retail trade.
Geography is essential to government. Because an informed public is vital to democracy, the current state of geographical ignorance has significant consequences for informed participation in international and even domestic affairs. Never before in the history of the United States has geography played such a significant role in virtually all governmental agencies. This is especially true as the government allots significant resources to the effort to ensure national security.
Geography is essential to science. Integration is the most pressing need of science today, and geography is the most integrative of all sciences. Furthermore, we view geographic exploration as a form of basic research in geography as vital as basic research in any other discipline.
Geography is essential in education. If our children are to be prepared for the future, and geography is to play an increasing role in our day-to-day lives, then we must provide opportunities for them to learn to appreciate the value of geography and master the technological tools available to help them lead our businesses and government in the future. We must provide the best geographical education for our children to give them the opportunity to harness the power of geospatial measurement and analysis.