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Soc. Geogr., 4, 111, 2009www.soc-geogr.net/4/1/2009/ Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed underthe Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.SocialGeographyVisual geographies an editorialA. Schlottmann1 and J. Miggelbrink21 Institut2 Leibniz1fur Humangeographie, Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt a.M., GermanyInstitut fur Landerkunde Leipzig, GermanyWhy visual geographies?The use of image-processing procedures and techniquesand their products photographs, aerial photographs, satellite images, maps and the application of GIS and GPS,so-called geomatics (Thornes, 2004:787), are taken forgranted in academic geographical practice today. This practice involves the development and adaptation of cartographicand visual material as well as the application and communication of geographical knowledge in a non-textual way.Technical developments in both hardware and software meanthat visual representations can be created, reproduced andedited with comparative ease (Thornes, 2004). However,there is a certain imbalance between this progressive habitualization to the use of visual materials and the paucityof related critical reflection. In contrast to the fundamental visual disciplines (Sachs-Hombach, 2005:14)1 such asphilosophy, psychology, cognition studies, communicationsscience and art history, which explicitly study the typology,use and functions of images, geography has so far producedpractically no systematic attempts

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