NCERT Class 12 Geography Data - Its Sources and Compilation

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Data - Its Source and Compilation

You must have seen and used various forms of data. For example, at the end of almost every news bulletin on Television, the temperatures recorded on that day in major cities are displayed. Similarly, the books on the Geography of India  show data relating to the growth and distribution of population, and theproduction, distribution and trade of various crops, minerals and industrial products in tabular form. Have you ever thought what they mean? From where these data are obtained? How are they tabulated and processed to extract meaningful information from them ? In this chapter, we will deliberate on these aspects of the data and try to answer these many questions.

What is Data? 

The data are defined as numbers that represent measurements from the real world. Datum is a single measurement. We often read the news like 20 centimetres of continuous rain in Barmer or 35 centimetres of rain at a stretch in Banswara in 24 hours or information such as New Delhi – Mumbai distance via Kota – Vadodara is 1385 kilometres and via Itarsi - Manmad is 1542 kilometres bytrain. This numerical information is called data. It may be easily realised that there are large volume of data available around the world today. However, at times, it becomes difficult to derive logical conclusions from these data if they are in raw form. Hence, it is important to ensure that the measured information is  algorithmically derived and/or logically deduced and/or statistically calculatedfrom multiple data. Information is defined as either a meaningful answer to a queryor a meaningful stimulus that can cascade into further queries. 

Need of Data Maps are important tools in studying geography. Besides, the distribution and growth of phenomena are also explained through the data in tabular form. We know that an interelationship exists between many phenomena over the surface of the earth. These interactions are influenced by many variables which can be explained best in quantitative terms. Statistical analysis of those variables has become a necessity today. For example, to study cropping pattern of an area, it  is necessary to have statistical information about the cropped area, crop yieldand production, irrigated area, amount of rainfall and inputs like use of fertiliser, insecticides, pesticides, etc. Similarly, data related to the total population, density, number of migrants, occupation of people, their salaries, industries, means of transportation and communication is needed to study the growth of a city. Thus, data plays an important role in geographical analysis.

Presentation of the Data

You might have heard the story of a person who was travelling with his wife and a five-year old child. On his way, he had to cross a river. Firstly, he fathomed the  depth of the river at four points as 0.6, 0.8, 0.9 and 1.5 metres. He calculated theaverage depth as 0.95 metres. His child’s height was 1 metre. So, he led them to cross the river and his child drowned in the river. On the other bank, he sat pondering: “Lekha Jokha Thahe, to Bachha Dooba Kahe ?” (Why did the child drown when average depth was within the reach of each one ?). This is called statistical fallacy, which may deviate you from the real situation. So, it is very important to collect the data to know the facts and figures, but equally important is the presentation of data.

Today, the use of statistical methods in the analysis, presentation and in drawing conclusions plays a significant role in almost all disciplines, including geography, which use the data. It may, therefore, be inferred that the concentration of a phenomena, e.g. population, forest or network of transportation or communication not only vary over space and time but may also be conveniently explained using the data. In other words, you may say that there is a shift from qualitative description to quantitative analysis in explainingthe relationship among variables. Hence, analytical tools and techniques have become more important these days to make the study more logical and derive precise conclusion. Precise quantitative techniques are used right from the beginning of collecting and compiling data to its tabulation, organisation, ordering and analysis till the derivation of conclusions.

Sources of Data

The data are collected through the following ways. These are : 1. Primary Sources,and 2. Secondary Sources. The data which are collected for the first time by an individual or the groupof individuals, institution/organisations are called Primary sources of the data. On the other hand, data collected from any published or unpublished sources are called Secondary sources. Fig. 1.1 shows the different methods of data collection.


1. Choose the right answer from the four alternatives given below:

(i) A number or character which represents measurement is called

     (a) Digit  

     (b) Data

     (c) Number

     (d) Character

(ii) A single datum is a single measurement from the

      (a) Table

      (b) Frequency  

      (c) Real world  

      (d) Information

(iii) In a tally mark grouping by four and crossing fifth is called

      (a) Four and Cross Method

      (b) Tally Marking Method

      (c) Frequency plotting Method (d) Inclusive Method

(iv) An Ogive is a method in which

      (a) Simple frequency is measured

      (b) Cumulative frequency is measured

      (c) Simple frequency is plotted

      (d) Cumulative frequency is plotted

(v) If both ends of a group are taken in frequency grouping, it is called

      (a) Exclusive Method

      (b) Inclusive Method

      (c) Marking Method

      (d) Statistical Method

2. Answer the following questions in about 30 words:

   (i) Differentiate between data and information.

   (ii) What do you mean by data processing?

   (iii) What is the advantage of foot note in a table?

   (iv) What do you mean by primary sources of data?

   (v) Enumerate five sources of secondary data.

3. Answer the following questions in about 125 words:

    (i) Discuss the national and international agencies where from secondary data may be collected.

    (ii) What is the importance of an index number?

Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 12 Geography Data - Its Sources and Compilation


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