Essays on Geography and GIS, Vol. 4May 2012
3Through the Macroscope: Geography's View o the World
We have in our hands a newscientic instrument as powerulas any that have come beoreit, including the microscope andtelescope. Collectively, GIS, GPS,satellite remote sensing, andpopular geographics constitute a
that allows scientists,practitioners, and the public aliketo view the earth as never beore.Today, this geographically enabled macroscope (which was rstproposed by Joël de Rosnay in 1975) allows humans to visualizeearth processes extending over vast regions or even the wholeglobe while still maintaining the nest measurable detail. We whouse it can capture and analyze ar more complete representationso places and eatures than ever beore. We can "see" eartheatures, such as gravity and magnetism, that are invisible to thenaked eye and yet as real and commanding as the mountains andvalleys we've seen all along. Most important, we can marshal thisdiverse inormation into working models o earth processes largeand small.The microscope allowed humans to see smaller particles andorganisms and led to scientic revolutions in biology, medicine,and nuclear physics. The telescope allowed humans to see artheraway with greater detail and led to revolutions in astronomy andgeodesy.
Through the Macroscope: Geography's View o the World
By Jerome E. Dobson, Professor of Geography, University of Kansas