Geography is the study of the earth and its features, inhabitants, and the 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, or synthesize an understanding of, 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.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to geography:
Essence of geography
- Main articles: Geography and World
The themes of the 18 National Geography Standards of the National Council for Geographic Education include the following topics:
Branches of geography
Geography is divided into two main branches: physical geography and human geography. Each of these branches is divided into a number of subfields:
Sub-fields of human geography
Sub-fields of physical geography
Geographic multi-disciplinary fields
Fields that draw upon various disciplines and have applications in geography:
Location and place
Concepts concerning location or place:
Tasks and tools
- Main articles: Geosophy and Philosophy of geography
The approaches and activities of geographers, and the tools they use:
- Main article: World
The field of geography does not operate in a vacuum, and is greatly interconnected with other fields of study. This is most evident at the global level.
Geography, earth science, and Earth's spheres
composite of global oceanic and terrestrial photoautotroph abundance from September 1997 to August 2000, showing Earth's biosphere. Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE.]]
Geography is a key component of earth science, used along with physics, geology, meteorology, mathematics, chemistry, and biology to build a quantitative understanding of the principal areas or interactive spheres of the Earth system, including its:
Other interpretations of this model of the Earth include the following additional spheres:
Regions of the world
- Main articles: Region, Subregions, Location, and Lists of places
Regions are areas, and can be defined by physical characteristics, human characteristics, and functional characteristics. The term is used in various ways among the different branches of geography. A region can be seen as a collection of smaller units, such as a country and its political divisions, or as one part of a larger whole, as in a country on a continent.
- Main article: List of supercontinents
A supercontinent is a landmass comprising more than one continental core, or craton.
- Main article: Continent
A continent is one of several large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any specific criteria, but seven areas are commonly regarded as continents. They are:
- 1. Africa
- 2. Antarctica
- 3. Australia
- The Americas:
- 4. North America
- 5. South America
- 6. Europe
- 7. Asia
}} Palearctic Afrotropic Indomalaya Australasia Neotropic Oceania and Antarctic ecozones not shown]]
- Main article: Ecozone
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) developed a system of eight biogeographic realms (ecozones):
- Main article: Ecoregion
Ecozones are further divided into ecoregions. The World has over 800 terrestrial ecoregions. See Lists of ecoregions by country.
Countries of the World
- Main article: Political division
A political division, usually a country, is a region under the control of a government. Countries are further divided into administrative divisions including states, counties, cities, etc.
Countries by continent
Country subdivision types
- Main article: Country subdivision
A country subdivision is a designated territory created within a country for administrative or identification purposes. Examples of the types of country subdivisions:
More region or area types
Some specific areas
Regions are further differentiated by virtue of being geographical features, or by the geographical features in them (or both). A geographical feature is a landform, a body of water, or an artificial creation large enough to show up on a regional map.
Natural geographical features
Features of the World that are naturally occurring:
- Main article: Landform
A landform is part of the terrain, defined by its shape and location in the landscape, and is typically an element of topography. Landforms are characterized by aspects such as elevation, slope, orientation, stratification, rock exposure, and soil type. Examples of landforms:
Bodies of water
- Main article: Body of water
A body of water is any significant accumulation of water on a geographical scale. Some bodies of water can be man-made, but most are naturally occurring. Some bodies of water collect and move water, such as rivers and streams, and others primarily hold water, such as lakes and oceans. Bodies of water that are navigable are known as waterways.
Manmade geographical features
Manmade geographical features, artificial creations large enough that they may show up on a regional map,:
Geography of specific regions
- See also: Regional geography
Demographics by region
- Main articles: Demography and World population
Demography is the statistical study of populations. It is an applied science used to analyze dynamic populations, that is, those that change over time or space. It encompasses the study of the size, structure and distribution of populations, and spatial and/or temporal changes in them in response to birth, death, migration and aging.
History of geography
- Main articles: History of geography and Historical geography
Topics pertaining to the geographical study of the World throughout history:
Geographical institutions and societies
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Some awards and competitions in the field of geography:
- Main article: Geographer, List of geographers, List of Graeco-Roman geographers
A geographer is a scientist who studies Earth's physical environment and human habitat. Geographers are historically known for making maps, the subdiscipline of geography known as cartography. But they are not only capable of studying the physical details of the environment but also its impact on human and wildlife ecologies, weather and climate patterns, economics, and culture. Geographers especially focus on the spatial relationships between these elements.
- Main article: Lists of places
Lists of geographical features
Lists of landforms
Lists of bodies of water
Lists of manmade geographical features
- Outline of astronomy - while geography studies and maps the World, astronomy is the study of the rest of the universe, and maps the stars and galaxies.
- Earth - there's a lot more to a planet than its geography. Some fields closely related to geography are:
- Geology - while geography studies the surface of the Earth and the location of things on it, geology is the study of the Earth itself, that is, its solid matter: the ground, what it is made of, and what is beneath it.
- Oceanography - while geography names and maps bodies of water, oceonography studies the large ones, the water they contain, and the life they contain.
- Universe - the place where the World exists.
- Multimedia Geography Resources
- Geographical Associations and Pressure Groups
Outline of knowledge
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