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Tag Wiki 'Geography'.

Geography (from : γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the and The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and —not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: and physical geography. Human geography is concerned with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography is concerned with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the , , , and .

The four historical traditions in geographical research are of natural and the human phenomena, of places and regions, studies of human-land relationships, and the . Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".

Geography is a systematic study of the Universe and its features. Traditionally, geography has been associated with and place names. Although many geographers are trained in and , this is not their main preoccupation. Geographers study the and the temporal database distribution of phenomena, processes, and features as well as the of humans and their environment. Because space and place affect a variety of topics, such as , , , and , geography is highly interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary nature of the geographical approach depends on an attentiveness to the relationship between physical and human phenomena and its spatial patterns.

Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main subsidiary fields: and physical geography. The former largely focuses on the built environment and how humans create, view, manage, and influence space. The latter examines the natural environment, and how , climate, , , and produce and interact. The difference between these approaches led to a third field, environmental geography, which combines physical and human geography and concerns the interactions between the environment and humans.


Physical geography (or physiography) focuses on geography as an . It aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of , , atmosphere, , and global and patterns (). Physical geography is the study of earth's , , , , streams, landforms, and .

File:Línea de Wallace.jpg| File:Cyclone Catarina from the ISS on March 26 2004.JPG| & File:90 mile beach.jpg|Coastal geography File:Gavin Plant.JPG|Environmental management File:Meridian convergence and spehrical excess.png| File:Delicate Arch LaSalle.jpg| File:Receding glacier-en.svg| File:Meander.svg| & File:Khajuraho-landscape.jpg|Landscape ecology File:World11.jpg| File:Soil profile.jpg|Pedology File:Pangea animation 03.gif| File:Milankovitch Variations sv.png|Quaternary science

Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society. It encompasses the , , , , and aspects.

File:Qichwa conchucos 01.jpg|Cultural geography File:Pepsi in India.jpg|Development geography File:Christaller model 1.jpg|Economic geography File:Star of life.svg| File:British Empire 1897.jpg|Historical & File:UN General Assembly.jpg|Political geog. & File:Pyramide Comores.PNG|Pop. geog. or File:ReligionSymbol.svg|Religion geography File:US-hoosier-family.jpg| File:Gare du Nord USFRT (Paris Metro).png|Transportation geography File:Tourists-2.jpg|Tourism geography File:New-York-Jan2005.jpg|

Various approaches to the study of human geography have also arisen through time and include:

Integrated geography
Integrated geography is concerned with the description of the spatial interactions between humans and the natural world. It requires an understanding of the traditional aspects of physical and human geography, like the ways that human societies conceptualize the environment. Integrated geography has emerged as a bridge between human and physical geography, as a result of the increasing specialisation of the two sub-fields. Since the changing of the human relationship with the environment as a result of and technological change, a new approach was needed to understand the changing and dynamic relationship. Examples of areas of research in environmental geography include: emergency management, environmental management, , and political ecology.

is concerned with the application of computers to the traditional spatial techniques used in and . Geomatics emerged from the quantitative revolution in geography in the mid-1950s. Today, geomatics methods include , geographic information systems (GIS), , and global positioning systems (GPS). Geomatics has led to a revitalization of some geography departments, especially in where the subject had a declining status during the 1950s.

Regional geography
A branch which is concerned with the description of the unique characteristics of the earth's surface, resulting in each area from the combination of its complete natural or elements, as of physical and human environment. The main aim is to understand, or define the uniqueness, or character of a particular region that consists of natural as well as human elements. Attention is paid also to , which covers the proper techniques of space into regions.

Related fields
  • Interplanetary sciences: While the discipline of geography is normally concerned with the , the term can also be informally used to describe the study of other worlds, such as the of the and even beyond. The study of systems larger than the Earth itself usually forms part of or . The study of other planets is usually called planetary science. Alternative terms such as areology (the study of Mars) have been proposed but are not widely used.
  • : In the 1950s, the regional science movement led by arose to provide a more quantitative and analytical base to geographical questions, in contrast to the descriptive tendencies of traditional geography programs. Regional science comprises the body of knowledge in which the spatial dimension plays a fundamental role, such as , resource management, , and regional planning, and , , population distribution, landscape ecology, and environmental quality.
  • , regional planning, and : Use the science of geography to assist in determining how to develop (or not develop) the land to meet particular criteria, such as safety, beauty, economic opportunities, the preservation of the built or natural heritage, and so on. The planning of towns, cities, and rural areas may be seen as applied geography.

As spatial interrelationships are key to this synoptic science, are a key tool. Classical has been joined by a more modern approach to geographical analysis, computer-based geographic information systems (GIS).

In their study, geographers use four interrelated approaches:

  • Systematic – Groups geographical knowledge into categories that can be explored globally.
  • Regional – Examines systematic relationships between categories for a specific region or location on the planet.
  • Descriptive – Simply specifies the locations of features and populations.
  • Analytical – Asks why we find features and populations in a specific geographic area.

Cartography studies the representation of the Earth's surface with abstract symbols (map making). Although other subdisciplines of geography rely on maps for presenting their analyses, the actual making of maps is abstract enough to be regarded separately. Cartography has grown from a collection of drafting techniques into an actual science.

Cartographers must learn cognitive psychology and to understand which symbols convey information about the Earth most effectively, and to induce the readers of their maps to act on the information. They must learn and fairly advanced to understand how the shape of the Earth affects the distortion of map symbols projected onto a flat surface for viewing. It can be said, without much controversy, that cartography is the seed from which the larger field of geography grew. Most geographers will cite a childhood fascination with maps as an early sign they would end up in the field.

Geographic information systems
Geographic information systems (GIS) deal with the storage of information about the Earth for automatic retrieval by a computer, in an accurate manner appropriate to the information's purpose. In addition to all of the other subdisciplines of geography, GIS specialists must understand and systems. GIS has revolutionized the field of cartography: nearly all mapmaking is now done with the assistance of some form of GIS software. GIS also refers to the science of using GIS software and GIS techniques to represent, analyse, and predict the spatial relationships. In this context, GIS stands for geographic information science.

Remote sensing
Remote sensing is the of obtaining information about Earth features from measurements made at a distance. Remotely sensed data comes in many forms, such as satellite imagery, aerial photography, and data obtained from hand-held sensors. Geographers increasingly use remotely sensed data to obtain information about the Earth's , ocean, and atmosphere, because it: (a) supplies objective information at a variety of spatial scales (local to global), (b) provides a synoptic view of the area of interest, (c) allows access to distant and inaccessible sites, (d) provides spectral information outside the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and (e) facilitates studies of how features/areas change over time. Remotely sensed data may be analysed either independently of, or in conjunction with other digital data layers (e.g., in a geographic information system).

Quantitative methods
deal with analysis, specifically the application of statistical methodology to the exploration of geographic phenomena. Geostatistics is used extensively in a variety of fields, including , , exploration, weather analysis, , , and . The mathematical basis for geostatistics derives from , linear discriminant analysis and non-parametric statistical tests, and a variety of other subjects. Applications of geostatistics rely heavily on geographic information systems, particularly for the (estimate) of unmeasured points. Geographers are making notable contributions to the method of quantitative techniques.

Qualitative methods
Geographic qualitative methods, or ethnographical research techniques, are used by human geographers. In cultural geography there is a tradition of employing qualitative research techniques, also used in and . Participant observation and in-depth interviews provide human geographers with qualitative data.

The oldest known date back to from the 9th century BC. The best known world map, however, is the Imago Mundi of 600 BC. The map as reconstructed by shows on the , surrounded by a circular landmass showing , , and several cities, in turn surrounded by a "bitter river" (), with seven islands arranged around it so as to form a seven-pointed star. The accompanying text mentions seven outer regions beyond the encircling ocean. The descriptions of five of them have survived. In contrast to the Imago Mundi, an earlier Babylonian dating back to the 9th century BC depicted Babylon as being further north from the center of the world, though it is not certain what that center was supposed to represent.

The ideas of (c. 610–545 BC): considered by later Greek writers to be the true founder of geography, come to us through fragments quoted by his successors. Anaximander is credited with the invention of the , the simple, yet efficient Greek instrument that allowed the early measurement of . Thales is also credited with the prediction of eclipses. The foundations of geography can be traced to the ancient cultures, such as the ancient, medieval, and early modern Chinese. The , who were the first to explore geography as both and , achieved this through Cartography, , and Literature, or through Mathematics. There is some debate about who was the first person to assert that the in shape, with the credit going either to or . was able to demonstrate that the profile of the Earth was circular by explaining . However, he still believed that the Earth was a flat disk, as did many of his contemporaries. One of the first estimates of the radius of the Earth was made by .

The first rigorous system of latitude and longitude lines is credited to . He employed a system that was derived from Babylonian mathematics. The meridians were sub-divided into 360°, with each degree further subdivided into 60 (minutes). To measure the longitude at different locations on Earth, he suggested using eclipses to determine the relative difference in time. The extensive mapping by the as they explored new lands would later provide a high level of information for to construct detailed . He extended the work of , using a grid system on his maps and adopting a length of 56.5 miles for a degree.

From the 3rd century onwards, Chinese methods of geographical study and writing of geographical literature became much more comprehensive than what was found in Europe at the time (until the 13th century). Chinese geographers such as , , , , , , and wrote important treatises, yet by the 17th century advanced ideas and methods of Western-style geography were adopted in China.

During the , the fall of the Roman empire led to a shift in the evolution of geography from to the . Muslim geographers such as Muhammad al-Idrisi produced detailed world maps (such as ), while other geographers such as , Abu Rayhan Biruni, , and provided detailed accounts of their journeys and the geography of the regions they visited. Turkish geographer, Mahmud al-Kashgari drew a world map on a linguistic basis, and later so did (Piri Reis map). Further, Islamic scholars translated and the earlier works of the and the and established the House of Wisdom in for this purpose. Abū Zayd al-Balkhī, originally from , founded the "Balkhī school" of terrestrial mapping in . Suhrāb, a late tenth century Muslim geographer accompanied a book of geographical coordinates, with instructions for making a rectangular world map with equirectangular projection or cylindrical equidistant projection.

Abu Rayhan Biruni (976–1048) first described a polar equi-azimuthal equidistant projection of the . He was regarded as the most skilled when it came to mapping cities and measuring the distances between them, which he did for many cities in the and the Indian subcontinent. He often combined astronomical readings and mathematical equations, in order to develop methods of pin-pointing locations by recording degrees of and . He also developed similar techniques when it came to measuring the heights of , depths of the , and expanse of the . He also discussed and the planetary habitability of the . He also calculated the of Kath, , using the maximum altitude of the Sun, and solved a complex equation in order to accurately compute the Earth's circumference, which was close to modern values of the Earth's circumference. His estimate of 6,339.9 km for the was only 16.8 km less than the modern value of 6,356.7 km. In contrast to his predecessors, who measured the Earth's circumference by sighting the Sun simultaneously from two different locations, developed a new method of using calculations, based on the angle between a and top, which yielded more accurate measurements of the Earth's circumference, and made it possible for it to be measured by a single person from a single location.

The European Age of Discovery during the 16th and the 17th centuries, where many new lands were discovered and accounts by European explorers such as Christopher Columbus, , and revived a desire for both accurate geographic detail, and more solid theoretical foundations in Europe. The problem facing both explorers and geographers was finding the latitude and longitude of a geographic location. The problem of latitude was solved long ago but that of longitude remained; agreeing on what zero meridian should be was only part of the problem. It was left to to solve it by inventing the chronometer H-4 in 1760, and later in 1884 for the International Meridian Conference to adopt by convention the Greenwich meridian as zero meridian.

The 18th and the 19th centuries were the times when geography became recognized as a discrete academic discipline, and became part of a typical curriculum in (especially and ). The development of many geographic societies also occurred during the 19th century, with the foundations of the Société de Géographie in 1821, the Royal Geographical Society in 1830, Russian Geographical Society in 1845, American Geographical Society in 1851, and the National Geographic Society in 1888. The influence of , Alexander von Humboldt, , and Paul Vidal de la Blache can be seen as a major turning point in geography from a philosophy to an academic subject.

Over the past two centuries, the advancements in technology with computers have led to the development of and new practices such as participant observation and geostatistics being incorporated into geography's portfolio of tools. In the West during the 20th century, the discipline of geography went through four major phases: environmental determinism, regional geography, the quantitative revolution, and critical geography. The strong interdisciplinary links between geography and the sciences of and , as well as , and have also grown greatly, especially as a result of earth system science that seeks to understand the world in a holistic view.


Notable geographers
  • ( 276–c. 195/194 BC) – calculated the size of the Earth.
  • (64/63 BC – c. AD 24) – wrote , one of the first books outlining the study of geography.
  • (c. 100–c. 170) – compiled Greek and Roman knowledge into the book .
  • Muhammad al-Idrisi (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد الإدريسي; Latin: Dreses) (1100–1165) – author of Nuzhatul Mushtaq.
  • Gerardus Mercator (1512–1594) – who produced the mercator projection
  • Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) – published Cosmos and founder of the sub-field biogeography.
  • (1779–1859) – occupied the first chair of geography at Berlin University.
  • Arnold Henry Guyot (1807–1884) – noted the structure of glaciers and advanced understanding in , especially in fast ice flow.
  • (1813–1870) – calculated the height of .
  • Paul Vidal de La Blache (1845–1918) – founder of the French school of geopolitics, wrote the principles of human geography.
  • William Morris Davis (1850–1934) – father of American geography and developer of the cycle of erosion.
  • John Francon Williams (1854–1911) - author of The Geography of the Oceans.
  • Sir Halford Mackinder (1861–1947) – co-founder of the LSE, Geographical Association.
  • Ellen Churchill Semple (1863–1932) – first female president of the Association of American Geographers.
  • (1886–1966) – creator of the concentric zone model.
  • Carl O. Sauer (1889–1975) – cultural geographer.
  • Walter Christaller (1893–1969) – human geographer and inventor of Central place theory.
  • (born 1930) – Chinese-American scholar credited with starting Humanistic Geography as a discipline.
  • (1934–2016) – German-American geographer, cultural ecologist and environmental archaeologist.
  • (born 1935) – Marxist geographer and author of theories on spatial and urban geography, winner of the Vautrin Lud Prize.
  • (1940–2015) – worked on regional development, planning and governance and coined the terms and Postmetropolis; winner of the Vautrin Lud Prize.
  • Doreen Massey (1944–2016) – scholar in the space and places of and its pluralities; winner of the Vautrin Lud Prize.
  • Michael Frank Goodchild (born 1944) – GIS scholar and winner of the RGS founder's medal in 2003.
  • (born 1949) – originator of non-representational theory.

Institutions and societies
  • American Geographical Society (US)
  • Anton Melik Geographical Institute (Slovenia)
  • American Association of Geographers (AAG)
  • Institute of Geographical Information Systems (Pakistan)
  • Karachi Geographical Society (Pakistan)
  • National Geographic Society (US)
  • Royal Canadian Geographical Society (Canada)
  • Royal Geographical Society (UK)
  • Russian Geographical Society (Russia)
  • Royal Danish Geographical Society (Denmark)

  • Antipode
  • African Geographical Review
  • Annals of the American Association of Geographers
  • Geographical Review
  • The Geographical Journal
  • The Professional Geographer


External links

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