The purpose of this book is to present in one volume a large number of techniques and theories used in geography. For the most part it is fairly elementary in scope. Indeed it starts each topic assuming that the reader knows nothing or very little about it. In this way it is hoped that many people will be able to obtain a background that will enable them both to appreciate the so-called 'quantitative' papers now appearing in many geographical periodicals, and also to practise techniques and develop theories in their own work.
When using this book the reader is asked to abandon temporarily all his preconceived ideas about the scope and content of geography. He will then be more receptive to the mathematics and statistics introduced in chapters 2 and 3 as an essential basis for material discussed in the rest of the book. A large number of step by step worked examples are given, and numerous maps and diagrams have been included to help those who learn more quickly with the help of visual illustrations.
The order in which the topics are arranged was given much thought. It was based as far as possible on the idea that some topics have to be covered and learned before others can be started. There are however many ways in which the 15 chapters could have been arranged. Clearly therefore it will sometimes be desirable for the reader to go back and reconsider earlier chapters or sections after having read later ones. To some extent the chapters may be considered self-contained entities and read independently, and the book may prove useful as a kind of handbook to be referred to from time to time.
In connexion with the scope and contents of the book, the following points should be noted. Firstly, there is very little about the nature of geography, though some references are given on this matter in chapter 1. Secondly, obviously even in a book this size it has not been possible to cover all techniques and theories in geography. Some have been given considerable attention while others have been neglected. Thirdly, both the choice of techniques and theories, and the choice of examples, have been dictated by the limitations of knowledge and specialisms of the authors. Geomorphology and political geography are over represented at the expense of other branches. Fourthly, both physical and human geography are considered. Often similar methods of approach can be used. Cross-fertilization between these major branches of geography can greatly enrich the whole subject, and help to..