To improve geographic understanding:

  1. Increased research attention should be given to certain core methodological and conceptual issues in geography that are especially relevant to society's concerns.
  2. More emphasis should be placed on priority-driven, cross-cutting projects.
  3. Increased emphasis should be given to research that improves the understanding of geographic literacy, learning, and problem solving and the roles of geographic information in education and decision making, including interactive learning strategies and spatial decision support systems.

To improve geographic literacy:

  1. Geography education standards and other guidelines for improved geography education in the schools should be examined to identify subjects where geography's current knowledge base needs strengthening.
  2. A significant national program should be established to improve the geographic competence of the U.S. general population as well as of leaders in business, government, and nongovernmental interest groups at all levels.
  3. Linkages should be strengthened between academic geography and users of its research.

To strengthen geographic institutions:

  1. A high priority should be placed on increasing professional interactions between geographers and colleagues in other sciences.
  2. A specific effort should be made to identify and address disparities between the growing demands on geography as a subject and the current capabilities of geography to respond as a scientific discipline.
  3. A specific effort should be made to identify and examine needs and opportunities for professional geography to focus its research and teaching on certain specific problems or niches, given limitations on the human and financial resources of the discipline.
  4. University and college administrators should alter reward structures for academic geographers to encourage, recognize, and reinforce certain categories of professional activity that are sometimes underrated.

To encourage implementation of these recommendations:

  1. Geographic and related organizations—especially the Association of American Geographers, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, and the National Research Council—should work together to develop and execute a plan to implement the recommendations in this report.


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