Unlike the geological and Earth Sciences, geography isn't solely about the planet. It also looks at the people, animals, events, and other happenings on the land both in the present and throughout time. In fact, geography can even be said to include the study of the entire universe and all its features in much the same way that astronomy can. But, here on Earth, the goal is typically to understand the relationship between the land and everything on it, creating a comprehensive view that provides optimal utility in other fields. The geography articles in this category strive to do this to help you with school, work, or just satisfy curiosity.
Branches Found Within the Geography Articles
The main branches of the field are human geography and physical geography. Physical geography shares many characteristics with subjects like geology, looking at physical features of the planet. Human geography looks more are how humans are dispersed and how they interact with one another. The geography articles in this category explore the specifics of these fields and why they are useful to society.
This branch of geography is actually an Earth science. It considers patterns and issues of the biosphere and other four natural spheres of the planet. All physical changes that happen to the physical parts of the earth fit into this branch. For example, the continents moving over time is a change in physical geography. Deforestation, whatever the cause, is a change in physical biological geography. Glaciers changing position and mass over time is also a form of physical geography. Each of these can occur with or without humans and other life present. However, they can also potentially be affected by the presence of life, which is really the main topic of interest. In addition to geography articles, you may want to look into Earth Sciences to compliment this area.
Human geography focuses not on physical changes of the Earth, but changes to humans and human society. It includes study of changes in population, governments, cultures, economies, and more. By looking at the changes that occur in these areas, we hope to also be able to figure out the why and the how behind them. Why do certain countries or populations face developmental problems that others don't? How do some countries overcome these problems? In which ways does location directly affect non-physical aspects of human society? How can we apply that knowledge to improve current and future development? Topics that go well with these geography articles would be humanities such as anthropology or sociology.
Other Branches Explored in Geography Articles
Integrated geography merges the above two branches to describe the spatial interactions between people and the natural world they inhabit. Areas such as population density, local resource usage, environmental management are concerns of integrated geography. Globalization is causing an increase in the relevancy of this area as humans are found in practically every corner of the globe, usually with drastic effects on the surrounding land as well as the global environment.
Geomatics differs a bit from the above-mentioned fields. It's more like what many people might think of when they think of geography in that it focuses on the shapes and features of the surface of land, as well as making maps of those features. However, geomatics adds in the use of computers, which is practically a necessity in the modern age of geography. For a more thorough review of the history and branches, check out the geography articles in this category.
Hopefully you've now gathered that geography is about so much more than just maps. Sure, maps are a big part of it, and a very useful part. But the field contributes to many areas of society in the form of spatial planning, political science, and even space science. Urban and regional planning often depend on using geography to optimize land use in terms of human distribution, resource use, and physical space.
The growing population of humans on Earth and our increasing resource usage means that the environment is taking a hit, and geography can help soften the blow if used right. Off of our own planet, we're slowly exploring others and their own unique geographies. There is more and more talk of starting to colonize other areas of the solar system (looking at you Mars), but we need to be sure we understand the physical aspects of the planet before just showing up on its doorstep.
Geography Articles on Careers in the Field
If you're a student or recent graduate, these geography articles can help you get started in a career. Or, if you're already in the profession, they can keep you up to date. But starting from the beginning, becoming a geographer requires advanced education, although the good news is that a bachelor's is probably sufficient. Growth of available positions is steady and the median pay is about 80,000 dollars with positions in a variety of fields; some of which might be pretty surprising. Of course, the government can always use them to optimize dispersal of people, services, and other inter-population relations. But other private companies increasingly use spatial and population data for their work. Everyone has multiple online maps available on the phone in their pocket, delivery companies need to optimize dispersal methods, and scientists even use data to track down global problems to their geographical starting point.
As a geographer, you might work out in the field, surveying land or biological features first hand. This is especially likely in entry-level positions. In other cases, you could easily end up working in an office using modern tools like ArcGIS software and analytical techniques. You can find more information about some prominent geographers in this category to get a good idea of the job.
From the land and its features to natural events and human inhabitants, geography studies the surface of the Earth in order to understand complexities in the human population as well as natural phenomena. It has been called “the bridge between the human and physical sciences” given its interdisciplinary nature and range of applications. Explore books here about how geography can put you in the realm of tech giants, humanitarian projects, or even in space exploration.
The Where and the Who
Modern geography is the study of both physical places as well as the people living in them. Physical geography looks more at the climate, land forms, oceans, and soil of the planet. Human geography looks at how people are spread across it, and at how these people interact with each other and with their environment. In this category, you can read books to learn about the importance of geography through time, and how we apply it today.
Probably the first thing to come to most peoples' minds is mapping. Sure, maps are a big part of actually studying and working in geography. But you have to ask, what purpose do these maps serve? In ancient times, mapping may have come even before written language in many places. They helped people understand the world around them and communicate that understanding with others through visual means.
This still holds true today. Maps help us understand complex information that can be hard to understand in other formats. For example, making a map of polluted water sources and comparing it to a map of human population can help easily show where the pollution is coming from. Authorities in the matter can then take action to halt further damage and prevent similar problems in the future.
Books on Geography Tech
Mapping today isn't so much about pictures on paper for navigating. Rather, almost all mapping now uses some form of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. This software represents, analyses, and predicts relationships between the parts of an area. Database systems and general computer science are crucial skills to build if wanting to make useful modern maps.
If you're taking a GIS class or think it could be a helpful skill in your job, check out Essentials of Geographic Information Systems. This book breaks down these vital geography tools in simples terms to help you learn. Even some unexpected professions like commerce and marketing make use of GIS, so you can likely find value in it. The methods employed in the book use clear examples and visuals to show you how to find, display, and interpret geographic information for whatever field you need.
Connection and Globalization
With all the tech around today, geography is also a tool for connecting people. Interactive maps with images, videos, and more built in let people see and better understand people in other areas. In fact, geography explains some important parts of culture in many areas, and vice versa. Cultures and traditions grow out of local landscapes that come with certain advantages and hardships. Understanding this can help us all see why other people behave the way they do, rather than dismissing their actions as “other.”
A great book for exploring these topics is World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization. It looks at the geography of people and how they interact the world over. First, it starts with the basics of geography so that anyone can dive right in. Then it moves on to topics like various land masses, habitats, and climates that affect people around the world.
Without the advancements that have been made and continue to be made, we wouldn't have many of the comforts of everyday modern life. Of course vital tools like Google Maps come to mind. Check out the books available here to see the other surprising contributions of the field and how you can become part of it all.