Geography

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The study of the surface of the Earth. The word derives from the Greek words "hê gê" ("the Earth") and "graphein" ("to write").

Geography is much more than Cartography, the study of maps. It not only investigates what is where on the Earth, but also why it's there not somewhere else. It studies this whether the cause is natural or human. It also studies the consequences of those differences.

Methods

Spatial interrelationships are key to this synoptic science, and it uses maps as a key tool. 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.

Physical geography

This branch focuses on Geography as an Earth Science, making use of biology to understand global flora and fauna patterns, and mathematics and physics to understand the motion of the earth and relationship with other bodies in the solar system. It also covers mapmaking and navigation.

atmosphere -- archipelago -- city -- continent -- desert -- gulf -- island -- lake -- -- mountain range -- ocean -- peninsula -- plain -- river -- sea -- valley -- Ecology -- Climate -- soil -- geomorphology -- biogeography

Human geography

The human, or political/cultural, branch of geography - also called anthropogeography focuses on the social science, non-physical aspects of the way the world is arranged. It examines how humans adapt themselves to the land and to other people, and in macroscopic transformations they enact on the world. It can be divided into the following subfields: economic geography, political geography (including geopolitics), social geography (including urban geography), environmentalism, cartography, and military geography.

Countries of the world -- country -- cities -- nation -- state -- union

Historical geography

This branch seeks to determine how physical and cultural features of the planet evolved and came into being.

Urban and Regional Planning

This branch uses 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 preservation, or etc.

History of Geography

The Greeks are the first known culture to actively explore geography as a science and philosophy, with major contributors including Thales of Miletus, Herodotus, Eratosthenes, Aristotle, Strabo, and Ptolemy. Mapping by the Romans as they explored new lands added new techniques.

During the Middle Ages, Arabs such as Idrisi, Ibn Battutah, and Ibn Khaldun built on and maintained the Greek and Roman learnings. Following the journeys of Marco Polo, interest in geography spread throughout Europe. During the Renaissance and into the 16th and 17th centuries the great voyages of exploration revived a desire for solid theoretical foundations and accurate detail. The Geographia generalis by Bernhardus Varenius and Gerardus Mercator's world map are prime examples.

By the 18th century, geography had become recognized as a discrete discipline and became part of regular university curriculum. Over the past two centuries the quantity of knowledge and the number of tools has exploded.


What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Geography, please see Geography basic topics.