AskDefine | Define geography

Dictionary Definition

geography n : study of the earth's surface; includes people's responses to topography and climate and soil and vegetation [syn: geographics]

User Contributed Dictionary



From geographia via and , from geos + graphia


  • /dʒɪˈɒgrəfi/, /dZI"Qgr@fi/


  1. The study of the physical structure and inhabitants of the Earth.


study of physical structure and inhabitants of the Earth

See also

Extensive Definition

Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία - geografia) is the study of the earth and its features, inhabitants, and phenomena. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276-194 B.C.). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of natural and human phenomena (geography as a study of distribution), area studies (places and regions), study of man-land relationship, and research in earth sciences. Nonetheless, modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the world and all of its human and natural complexities-- not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. As "the bridge between the human and physical sciences," geography is divided into two main branches - human geography and physical geography.


Traditionally, geographers have been viewed the same way as cartographers and people who study place names and numbers. Although many geographers are trained in toponymy and cartology, this is not their main preoccupation. Geographers study the spatial and temporal distribution of phenomena, processes and feature as well as the interaction of humans and their environment. As space and place affect a variety of topics such as economics, health, climate, plants and animals, geography is highly interdisciplinary.
Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main sub fields: human geography and physical geography. The former focuses largely on the built environment and how space is created, viewed and managed by humans as well as the influence humans have on the space they occupy. The latter examines the natural environment and how the climate, vegetation & life, soil, water, and landforms are produced and interact. As a result of the two subfields using different approaches a third field has emerged, which is environmental geography. Environmental geography combines physical and human geography and looks at the interactions between the environment and humans.
The first rigorous system of latitude and longitude lines is credited to Hipparchus. He employed a sexagesimal system that was derived from Babylonian mathematics. The parallels and meridians were sub-divided into 360°, with each degree further subdivided 60′ (minutes). To measure the longitude at different location on Earth, he suggested using eclipses to determine the relative difference in time. The extensive mapping by the Romans as they explored new lands would later provide a high level of information for Ptolemy to construct detailed atlases. He extended the work of Hipparchus, using a grid system on his maps and adopting a length of 56.5 miles for a degree.
During the Middle Ages, the fall of the Roman empire led to a shift in the evolution of geography from Europe to the Islamic world. Scholars such as Idrisi (produced detailed maps), Ibn Batutta, and Ibn Khaldun provided detailed accounts of their Hajj. Further, Islamic scholars translated and interpreted the earlier works of the Romans and Greeks and established the House of Wisdom in Baghdad for this purpose. From the 3rd century onwards, Chinese methods of geographical study and writing of geographical literature became much more complex than what was found in Europe at the time (until the 13th century). 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 Immanuel Kant, Alexander von Humbolt, Carl Ritter 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 such as computers, have led to the development of geomatics 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 geology and botany, as well as economics, sociology and demographics have also grown greatly especially as a result of Earth System Science that seeks to understand the world in a holistic view.

Some influential geographers


See also

Main lists: List of basic geography topics and List of geography topics

External links

sisterlinks Geography
geography in Extremaduran: Heugrafia
geography in Afrikaans: Geografie
geography in Tosk Albanian: Geografie
geography in Abkhazian: Географи
geography in Arabic: جغرافيا
geography in Aragonese: Cheografía
geography in Franco-Provençal: G·eografia
geography in Assamese: ভূগোল
geography in Asturian: Xeografía
geography in Guarani: Tetãnguéra
geography in Avaric: География
geography in Aymara: Uraqita
geography in Azerbaijani: Coğrafiya
geography in Bambara: Dùgùkòlòkùnnàkalan
geography in Bengali: ভূগোল
geography in Banyumasan: Geografi
geography in Bashkir: География
geography in Belarusian: Геаграфія
geography in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Геаграфія
geography in Central Bicolano: Heograpiya
geography in Bavarian: Geografie
geography in Bosnian: Geografija
geography in Breton: Douaroniezh
geography in Bulgarian: География
geography in Catalan: Geografia
geography in Chuvash: Географи
geography in Cebuano: Heyograpiya
geography in Czech: Geografie
geography in Corsican: Geografia
geography in Welsh: Daearyddiaeth
geography in Danish: Geografi
geography in German: Geographie
geography in Dhivehi: ޖުޣުރާފީ
geography in Estonian: Geograafia
geography in Modern Greek (1453-): Γεωγραφία
geography in Spanish: Geografía
geography in Esperanto: Geografio
geography in Basque: Geografia
geography in Persian: جغرافیا
geography in Faroese: Landafrøði
geography in French: Géographie
geography in Western Frisian: Geografy
geography in Friulian: Gjeografie
geography in Irish: Tíreolaíocht
geography in Gan Chinese: 地理
geography in Galician: Xeografía
geography in Gujarati: ભૂગોળ
geography in Korean: 지리학
geography in Hindi: भूगोल
geography in Upper Sorbian: Geografija
geography in Croatian: Zemljopis
geography in Ido: Geografio
geography in Iloko: Heografia
geography in Indonesian: Geografi
geography in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Geographia
geography in Interlingue: Geografie
geography in Inuktitut: ᓄᓇᐅᔪᖅ/nunaujuq
geography in Ossetian: Географи
geography in Icelandic: Landafræði
geography in Italian: Geografia
geography in Hebrew: גאוגרפיה
geography in Javanese: Geografi
geography in Pampanga: Geografia
geography in Georgian: გეოგრაფია
geography in Kashubian: Geògrafijô
geography in Cornish: Dorydhyeth
geography in Kirghiz: География
geography in Swahili (macrolanguage): Jiografia
geography in Komi: География
geography in Haitian: Jewografi
geography in Kurdish: Erdnîgarî
geography in Ladino: Jeografiya
geography in Lao: ພູມສາດ
geography in Latin: Geographia
geography in Latvian: Ģeogrāfija
geography in Luxembourgish: Geographie
geography in Lithuanian: Geografija
geography in Ligurian: Geografia
geography in Limburgan: Geografie
geography in Lingala: Mambí ma mabelé
geography in Lombard: Geugrafìa
geography in Hungarian: Földrajztudomány
geography in Macedonian: Географија
geography in Malagasy: Jeografia
geography in Malayalam: ഭൂമിശാസ്ത്രം
geography in Maltese: Ġeografija
geography in Marathi: भूगोल
geography in Mazanderani: Jəögrafi / جئوگرافی
geography in Malay (macrolanguage): Geografi
geography in Mongolian: Газар зүй
geography in Burmese: ပထဝီဝင္‌
geography in Dutch: Aardrijkskunde
geography in Nepali: भूगोल
geography in Japanese: 地理学
geography in Norwegian: Geografi
geography in Norwegian Nynorsk: Geografi
geography in Narom: Géographie
geography in Novial: Geografia
geography in Occitan (post 1500): Geografia
geography in Ndonga: Geografi
geography in Uzbek: Geografiya
geography in Pushto: ځمکپوهنه
geography in Central Khmer: ភូមិវិទ្យា
geography in Low German: Geographie
geography in Polish: Geografia
geography in Portuguese: Geografia
geography in Romanian: Geografie
geography in Vlax Romani: Phuvipen
geography in Romansh: Geografia
geography in Quechua: Allpa saywachi
geography in Russian: География
geography in Samoan: Geography
geography in Sardinian: Geografia
geography in Scots: Geography
geography in Albanian: Gjeografia
geography in Sicilian: Giografìa
geography in Sinhala: භූගෝල විද්‍යාව
geography in Simple English: Geography
geography in Slovak: Geografia
geography in Slovenian: Geografija
geography in Somali: Juquraafi
geography in Serbian: Географија
geography in Serbo-Croatian: Zemljopis
geography in Sundanese: Géografi
geography in Finnish: Maantiede
geography in Swedish: Geografi
geography in Tagalog: Heograpiya
geography in Tamil: புவியியல்
geography in Telugu: భూగోళ శాస్త్రము
geography in Thai: ภูมิศาสตร์
geography in Vietnamese: Địa lý học
geography in Tajik: Ҷуғрофия
geography in Tok Pisin: Jiograpi
geography in Turkish: Coğrafya
geography in Turkmen: Geografiýa
geography in Ukrainian: Географія
geography in Urdu: جغرافيہ
geography in Venetian: Giografia
geography in Volapük: Taledav
geography in Võro: Maatiidüs
geography in Walloon: Djeyografeye
geography in Waray (Philippines): Heyograpiya
geography in Wolof: Melosuuf
geography in Yiddish: געאגראפיע
geography in Contenese: 地理
geography in Zeeuws: Heografie
geography in Samogitian: Geuograpėjė
geography in Chinese: 地理学

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Earth, Gaea, Ge, Tellus, Terra, biosphere, cartography, chorography, cosmical geology, dynamic geology, geodesy, geodetic satellite, geodetics, geodynamics, geognosy, geographics, geological chemistry, geological engineering, geology, geomorphogeny, geomorphology, geophysics, geoscopy, geosphere, geotectonic geology, globe, historical geology, hydrogeology, mineralogy, mining geology, mother earth, navigation, orbiting geophysical observatory, paleontological geology, pedology, physical geography, physical geology, physiographic geology, physiography, soil mechanics, soil science, stratigraphic geology, stratigraphy, surveying, terra, terrestrial globe, the blue planet, this pendent world, topography, vale, vale of tears, whole wide world, world
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