About Geography and Why It Is Important

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

About Geography

All aspects of life on Earth interconnect. The relationship means changes to the land you and I call home. You cannot study the history of humans without noting how geography plays a role in the shaping of society. Likewise, humans alter geography through expansion and innovation. Examples of the importance of geography and our physical world prove to be one of the most impactful areas of study for human life.

Geography is the study of the planet’s physical layout and how living things affect the makeup of land and water. Populations of humans and other living things have a direct impact on the environments in which they live. By studying humanity’s impact on land and the way the Earth naturally changes, researchers work to elevate examples of the importance of geography.

The importance of geography isn’t to simply know the names of rivers and mountain ranges. In short, the subject is an analysis of what causes a significant change on our planet. You and I impact the Earth every day in small ways, but geography looks to investigate substantial, long-term changes as well as minor impacts changing the place we call home.

Geography Articles

Unlike the geological and Earth Sciences, geography isn’t solely about the planet. It looks at people, animals, events, and other happenings on land in the present and over time. Geography examples 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 areas 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 like how humans disperse 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.

Physical Geography

This branch of geography is an Earth Science. It considers patterns and issues of the biosphere and other four natural spheres of the planet. All material 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 another life present. However, they can also potentially be affected by the presence of life, which is the main topic of interest. In addition to geography articles and examples, you may want to look into Earth Sciences to complement this area.

Human Geography

Human geography focuses not on physical changes of the Earth, but changes to humans and human society. It includes the study of changes in population, governments, cultures, economies, and more. By looking at changes that occur in these areas, we figure out the why and 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 found in practically every corner of the globe, usually including drastic effects on the surrounding land and the global environment.

Geomatics differs a bit from the fields mentioned above. 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 the land, and 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 detailed review of the history and branches, check out the geography examples and articles in this category.

Applications

Hopefully, you’ve now gathered that geography is about so much more than just maps. Sure, plans are a big part of it and an instrumental 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 planet, we’re slowly exploring others and their 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 new professional, 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 degree is probably sufficient. The growth of available positions is steady, and the median pay is about 80,000 dollars with jobs in a variety of fields, some of which might be pretty surprising. Of course, the government can always use them to optimize the 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 work is especially likely in entry-level positions. In other cases, you could quickly end up working in an office. Office jobs work 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.

Books

From the land and its features to natural events and human inhabitants, geography studies the surface of the Earth 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 the importance of space exploration.

Geography Books Earth and open book Education internet e-learning concept

The Where and the Who

Modern geography is the study of both real places as well as the importance of people living in them. Physical geography looks more at the climate, landforms, oceans, and soil of the planet. Human geography looks at how people spread across Earth and how people interact with each other and the 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 element 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, the 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 understanding still holds 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 plan of the human population can help easily show the cause of where the pollution is coming. Authorities in the matter can then take action to halt further damage and prevent similar problems in the future.

Modern Geography

Books on Geography Tech

Mapping today isn’t so much about pictures on paper for navigating. Instead, 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, the subject of geography is also a tool of importance for connecting people. Interactive maps with images, videos, and more built inlet people see and better understand people in other areas. Geography explains some critical parts of the culture in many regions and vice versa. Customs 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.”

An excellent book for exploring these topics is World Regional Geography: People, Places, and Globalization. It looks at the examples of geography and how they interact with 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 landmasses, habitats, and climates that affect people around the world.

Without the advancements that have made and continue to make, 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 the subject.

Geography FAQ

There are many elements involved in the study of geography. It’s vital to know the core elements of the subject. Start with these first questions to cover the basics.

What is geography in simple words?

Geography is the study of the Earth’s natural features and ways in which humans impact them. The relationship between humans and the land is highly interconnected and alters the planet’s layout. Experts in the field study how the Earth was before humans to understand how living things impact the Earth.

Why do we study geography?

Experts study geography to understand what causes massive changes to the planet’s natural features. Humans are one element of the way that landforms change over time. Researchers also look at how the planet’s core elements cause natural change without human influence. The study of geography tries to tell the story of these two simultaneously occurring impacts on the Earth.

What is the value of geography?

The value of geography is an increased understanding of how the Earth changes naturally and through human impact. While animals and plants are capable of changing the Earth’s landforms, humans impact the planet more than any other living thing. By studying geography, researchers learn the value of natural resources and how to protect them from deterioration.

What are the two primary branches of geography?

The two main branches of geography are human and physical. The topic of humans looks at where people live and how populations impact the planet. Physical geography, on the other hand, looks at naturally occurring phenomena that alter the layout of Earth. Researchers study both main branches to create a complete look at the planet’s changes.