Geo-literacy is the term that National Geographic has adopted to describe the understanding of how our world works that all members of modern society require. Geo-literacy is the ability to reason about Earth systems and interconnections to make far-reaching decisions. Whether we are making decisions about where to live or what precautions to take for natural hazards, we all make decisions that require geo-literacy throughout our lives. This video illustrates what geo-literacy means to individuals and to our global community. Share it with your friends, family, and colleagues, to help spread the word.

  1. What is geo-literacy?

    • Answer

      Geo-literacy consists of three components: interactions, interconnections, and implications. It is the ability to use geographic understanding and reasoning to make far-reaching decisions in the 21st century.

  2. Geography is clearly more than just dots on a map. So, what is geography?

    • Answer

      Geography is interdisciplinary—it incorporates bits and pieces from the fields of science, arts, health, humanities, law, business, engineering, and technology. The “geographic perspective” (a way to understand a topic or area using spatial relationships) focuses these bits and pieces into a dynamic kaleidoscope of ideas and data. Geography is something you do, not just something you know.

      Those who study geography identify relationships between these varied subjects, graft those relationships onto a geographic space, and explain why certain systems are where they are. A common shorthand for geography is "the why of where."

education
Noun

process of acquiring knowledge and critical-thinking skills.

geographic reasoning
Noun

process of making informed, logical decisions based on an accurate understanding of the human and natural world around you.

geo-literacy
Noun

the understanding of human and natural systems, geographic reasoning, and systematic decision-making.