Contemporary Trends in Indian Geography: Cartography, Thematic and Methodological contributions
Contemporary Trends in Indian Geography
In the post-independence period, geography has expanded because of efforts of and under the leadership of geographers like George Kurian, S P Chatterjee, CD Deshpande, VLS Prakasha Rao, RL Singh, Mohammad Shafi, Muzaffar Ali, R P Misra and Manzoor Alam.
Among the major preoccupations of Indian geographers, cartography, thematic mapping and methodological contributions have led to promotion of geography as a popular discipline.
Over the years the field of cartography has made great strides in the country. The Survey of India, the NATMO and the Indian National Cartographic Association have played an important role in this regard.
Indian cartographer: Planning Atlas of Andhra Pradesh by SM Alam; Resource Atlas of Tamil Nadu by A Ramesh; Planning Atlas of Uttar Pradesh by L R Singh and Census Atlas of India by B K Roy are hallmarks of geographic contributions to cartography by Indian geographers.
There are evidences to show that concept of map scale and consequent need for depicting geographical features on maps were fully realised since ancient and medieval times. However, the contemporary knowledge in field of cartography based on triangulation work, precision levelling and plane table surveys have enabled Survey of India to produce modern contour maps on uniform scales.
Further, introduction of quantitative methods, computer processing of data, automatic mapping and remote sensing techniques have resulted in rapid transformation in the field of cartography.
Thematic cartography has got a boost since independence in 1947, especially after setting up of National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation in 1956.
Thematic maps are playing important roles in the development planning in India and are being increasingly utilised by administrators, planners, technologists and specialists in different branches of social, physical, biological and Earth sciences.
Indian geography faced the problem of over-subsistence on foreign concepts and methods and consequent impoverishment of indigenous methodological system.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the scientific publications in Indian geography were based on descriptive methodology. Their objective was to provide factual information about areas to colonial administrators.
During late 1930s and early 1940s geographers such as RN Dubey, SP Chatterjee and MH Rahman shifted from possibilistic thinking to explanatory description and classification.
These regional studies followed a standard outline of topics, starting with surface features and climate, advancing to the organic life in relation to the physical features and then proceeding to the human inhabitants, looked at both as controlled by the environment and modifying the environment.
India’s independence in 1947 and the start of the process of decolonisation were accompanied by dramatic changes in the role of geography. Geographers such as Nath, Sundaram, Misra and Roy contributed to the development of strategies for eliminating economic differences between regions, ecological disasters, energy issues, problems of urban living, land use, industrial decentralisation, economics restructuring and many other issues related to development. This increased the demand for spatial information and data. This demand has been met by coming up of a vast number of government agencies and data centres which supply data for planning and development purposes.
The early 1970s witnessed progress in theoretical and quantitative geography. In Indian Geography, alongside the traditional geography which was possibilistic and descriptive in nature, a new approach emerged which was nomothetic and deductive. The introduction of quantitative techniques in contemporary period have revolutionised discipline of geography.
N.B- Notes will be updated time to time
PDF Name: Contemporary Trends in Indian Geography Notes by Netset Corner
Source: Arihant Geography Book
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