NCERT Class 12 Geography Field Surveys

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Field Survey

You have studied aspects of Physical Geography of the world as well as of India in Class XI. In the present class, besides the Practical Work in Geography you will also study various aspects of Human Geography. While studying these aspects, you may have observed that issues addressed pertain to global or national level. In other words, the given information helps us to understand the issues at macro level. You may also have observed that the forms, events and processes in your surroundings are similar to what you have studied at macro level.

Have you ever thought how would you study some of the aspects at local level? You know that the regional level information is used to analyse different physical and human parameters of a large area. Similarly, information has to be gathered at the local level by conducting primary surveys for generating information. The primary surveys are also called field surveys. They are an essential component of geographic enquiry. It is a basic procedure to understand  the earth as a home of humankind and are carried out through observation,sketching, measurement, interviews, etc. In the present chapter, we will discuss the procedure involved in carrying out the field surveys.

Why is Field Survey Required ?

Like many other sciences, geography is also a field science. Thus, a geographical enquiry always needed to be supplemented through well –planned field surveys. These surveys enhance our understanding about patterns of spatial distributions, their associations and relationships at the local level. Further, the field surveys facilitate the collection of local level information that is not available through secondary sources. Thus, the field surveys are carried out to gather required information so as the problem under investigation is studied in depth as per the predefined objectives. Such studies also enable the investigator to comprehend the situation and processes in totality and at the place of their occurrence. This is possible through ‘Observation’, which is a useful method of gathering information and then to derive inferences.


Field Survey Procedure

The field survey is initiated with well-defined procedure. It is performed in the following functionally inter – related stages :

1. Defining the Problem

The problem to be studied should be defined precisely. This can be achieved by way of statements indicating the nature of the problem. This should also be reflected in the title and sub-title of the topic of the survey.

2. Objectives

A further specification of the survey is done by listing the objectives. Objectives provide outline of the survey and in accordance to these, suitable tools of acquisition of data and methods of analysis will be chosen.

3. Scope

Like clearly defined objectives, scope of survey needs to be delimited in terms of geographical area to be covered, time framework of enquiry and if required themes of studies to be covered. This multi-dimensional delimitation of the study is essential in relation to fulfilment of the predefined objectives and limitations of analysis, inferences and their applicability.

4. Tools and Techniques

Field survey is basically conducted to collect information about the chosen problem for which varied types of tools are required. These include secondary information including maps and other data, field observation, data generated by interviewing people through questionnaires.

(i) Recorded and Published Data

These data provide base information about the problem. These are collected and published by different government agencies, organisations and other agencies. This information alongwith cadastral and topographical maps, provides basis to prepare the framework of survey. Listing of households, persons, landholdings in the survey area can be done using the official records or electoral rolls available with the village panchayat or the revenue officials. Similarly, essential physical features like relief, drainage, vegetation, land use and cultural features like settlements, transport and communication lines, irrigation infrastructure, etc. can be traced out from the topographical maps.

The field boundaries of land parcels can be marked out from cadastral maps available with land revenue officials. The field survey is conducted either for the entire ‘population’ or for the‘samples’. These basic informations and maps are required to select the units of observation. The large-scale maps of the survey area also help the investigator to  orient and locate him/her on the ground. This initial orientation helps the investigator to insert additional features in the map appropriately.


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

(i) Which one of the following helps most in planning for a field survey ?

     (a) Personal Interviews

     (b) Secondary Information

     (c) Measurements

     (d) Experimentation

(ii) Which one of the following is taken up at the conclusion of a field survey ?

     (a) Data entry and Tabulation

     (b) Report Writing

     (c) Computation of Indices

     (d) None of the above

(iii) What is most important at the initial stages of field survey ?

     (a) Outlining the Objectives

     (b) Collection of Secondary Information

     (c) Defining the spatial and thematic coverages

     (d) Sample Design

(iv) What level of information is acquired during a field survey ?

     (a) Macro level information

     (b) Maso level information

     (c) Micro level information

     (d) All of the above levels of information

2. Answer the following questions in about 30 words :

    (i) Why is a field survey required ?

    (ii) List the tools and techniques used during a field survey.

    (iii) What type of coverages need to defined before undertaking a field survey?

    (iv) Describe survey design in brief.

     (v)  Why is the well-structured questionnaire important for a field survey ?

3. Design a field survey on any one of the following problems :

    (a) Environmental Pollution

    (b) Soil Degradation

    (c) Floods

    (d) Energy Issues

    (e) Land Use Change Detection

Please refer to attached file for  NCERT Class 12 Geography Field Surveys


Click on the text For more study material for Geography please click here - Geography

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