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Field work process
Field work for studying physical geography and human geography are quite different. Field work in physical geography involves direct observations, photography, field sketches, use of maps, satellite images etc. Human geographic studies require sample surveys, preparation of questionnaire, interviews and use of statistical techniques for data analysis and representation.
Any field work involves three stages.
1. Pre-field work
2. Actual field work and
3. Post field work
This involves proper planning, preparation and arrangements. It is undertaken by the teacher/school management/and local authorities. The tour details are to be informed to the CEO/DEO and field area police stations well in advance, along with the name and house address, contact details of the students and staff who undertake the field work.
Prior permission is to be obtained well in advance to enter restricted areas or reserved forests.
Arrangement should be made for sufficient food and safe drinking water. Students should be informed of the clothing requirements (Woolen caps, sweaters, shoes, mosquito repellents etc.).
Field work site mapping should be carried out by a small group of students with the assistance of their supervisor (teacher). The problem or the aim of the study and its objectives are to be explained in detail. The method of investigation and the equipments for survey in the field are to be discussed with the students.
Prepare a field map and discuss the method of conducting field work by different groups of the class. Each student may be supplied with a copy of maps for reference. They should be informed of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ during the field work. The following are some of the items to be carried for field work in physical geography:
• Stationery, including scripling pads, colour pencils, wax pencils, papers, pens etc.,
• Camera with zoom and video facility.
• Audio/video recorders to record voices of birds, local people etc.,
• Sufficient number of binoculars to view distant objects.
• Minor field survey equipments like measuring tape, magnetic compass, clinometers, GNSS hand set etc.,
• Weather instruments (for field work related to weather) like thermometer, rain gauge, barometer, wind vane etc.
• Maps, topographic sheets (non-restricted), satellite images of the study area.
When the students reach the local study area, the actual field work begins and information is collected through
• Observe the features and take notes. Students can record the information through photography and video-audiography.
• Prepare field sketches by using colour pencils.
• Instruments can be used for measurement of distances, weather elements, heights, depths etc.
• Find the direction using magnetic compass and orient the maps and images.
• By recollecting the map reading practices of topographic maps, satellite images and aerial photographs for recognition and mapping the features.
• Find the important locations and routes by using GNSS and web based mapping facilities.
• Collect unique and representative samples of rock, soil, surface water and groundwater for further analysis, class room discussion and exhibition. Do not collect plant, animal or microorganisms from the field, because this activity is banned by the government.
• Collecting secondary data from local authorities, officers in -charge of the area etc.,
Though field work has many advantages, it also has a few limitations such as:
• It is time consuming and expensive.
• It needs necessary equipments, maps, satellite images etc., for proper interpretation.
• Delay in receiving permission from Government Agencies to visit restricted areas make the trip uncertain.
• There are certain risks in travelling, changing weather, field illness etc., during field work.
The data collected from the field has to be arranged, photographs and sketches added wherever necessary, calculations carried out, results inferred, maps drawn and report of the same prepared.
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