Geography is a scientific field devoted to studying the earth’s landform, ocean, environment, ecosystem, etc. It also studies the relationship between men and their environments.
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The Word ‘Geography’ was coined by an Ancient Greek scholar Eratosthenes in 234 B.C. It originates from two Greek words, one is Geo and another is Graphe. The meaning of the word Geo is earth, and Graphe means to study or description. The literal meaning is a Description of the earth’s surface. But modern geography has not remained confined to only the description of the earth`s surface, rather its dimensions have expanded very much beyond more description. It is largely, the study of the interaction of all physical and human phenomena and landscapes created by such interactions. It is doesn’t specify what’s to written or described the earth which is filled with numberless things of various nature.
Definitions of Geography
There are many definitions of Geography which are defined differently by different geographers and philosophers from time to time. The followings are some definitions forward by many geographers.
In the words of H. Barrows, ”Geography is Human Ecology.”
In the opinion of Ackerman, “This is the study of spatial description and spaced relation on the earth surface.”
It is cleared from the above definitions, that Modern geography deals with the study of earth`s physical features ( Plains, Mountains, Hills, Rivers, etc.) and both natural and anthropogenic, its inhabitants, various processes and principles influencing these features and different kinds of relationships in a spatial context. It helps us understand the differences in patterns, phenomena, processes, interrelationships between human society, the physical environment, and utilization of the earth’s surface by man in a Spatio-temporal context.
Scope of Geography
The scope has grown up of its descriptive character. Nowadays an attempt is being made to establish a cause and effect relationship between various factors of geography.
Geography is the science of all sciences. It involves the study of physical as well as social sciences. Its scope ranges from the physical sciences of Astronomy, climatology, Geology through natural histories of Botany and Zoology to the human studies of Anthropology, Ethnology, Sociology, and History.
Geography has now acquired the status of science that explains the arrangements of various natural and cultural features on the earth’s surface. It is a holistic and interdisciplinary field of study engaged in understanding the changing spatial structure from the past to the future.
Thus, the scope is in various disciplines, like armed services, environmental management, water resources, disaster management, meteorology and planning, and various social sciences. Apart from that, a geographer can help in day-to-day life like tourism, commuting, housing, and health-related activities.
The physical environment with human activities and the social and political activities of the man studied in this subject. From the point of view of subject matter, various departments are studied in physical, human geography. These are the departments and aspects of this.
Branches of Geography
Geography can be regarded as an interdisciplinary science. There are two main branches of Geography. These are Physical and Human geography.
Physical geography is the study and explanation of physical phenomena encompassing other such fields like geology, meteorology, zoology, and chemistry. It became a very popular subject during the latter part of the nineteenth century. It has a number of sub-branches which treat a different kind of physical phenomena.
- Geomorphology: Geomorphology is concerned with the study of the landforms on the Earth’s surface. It includes the origin and development of landforms through erosional, transportation, and depositional processes of water, wind, and glaciers.
- Climatology: Climatology is the study of atmospheric conditions and related climatic and weather phenomena. It includes the study of atmospheric composition, climatic regions, seasons, etc.
- Oceanography: Oceanography is concerned with the study of various types of Oceanic format components and processes related to ocean floor depths, currents, corals reefs, and continental drifts, etc.
- Bio-geography: The subject concerned with the biological phenomena in earth. It is especially in terms of the distribution of various kinds of floral and faunal species. Biogeography may be sub-divided into plant or floral, animals or faunal geography, and human ecology.
Human Geography is the synthetic study of the relationship between human societies and the earth’s surface. It is made up of three closely linked components: the spatial analysis of the human population; the ecological analysis of the relationship between the human population and its environment and third is the regional synthesis which combines the first two themes in an aerial differentiation of the earth’s surface. It has a number of sub-branches.
- Social geography: The subject deals with the study of human society and the social phenomenon in a spatial context. A social geographer focuses on the study of the spatial arrangement of social phenomena in relation to the total environment. It is the analysis of social phenomena in space. Poverty, health, education, livelihood are some important fields.
- Population geography: It is the study of various dimensions of the population. For example population distribution, density, composition, fertility, mortality, migration, etc. It is also concerned with the study of factors affecting population growth, distribution, density, composition, etc.
- Political Geography: The subject is concerned with the study of political units, states, and nations in relation to their geographical settings.
- Medical geography: It is a recent development in the field of social geography. It deals with the study and diffusion of various diseases and their geographical causes. the spatial distribution of the healthcare system.
- Historical geography: The branch of social geography which is concerned with the past is called historical geography. The two main aspects of the field are (a) reconstruction of past environments at a particular point of time, and (b) the study of the sequence of changes that take place with the passage of time at a place.
- Anthropogeography: It largely deals with racial phenomena in their spatial context.
- Economic Geography: This branch deals with the location and distribution of economic activities at the local, regional, national, and search scale, spatial variations in the economic activities, and the different ways in which wealth is produced, distributed, exchanged, and consumed. In this branch, a detailed study of various human occupations like agriculture, manufacturing of goods, means of communication and transport, etc. is taken up.
- Agricultural Geography: The subject deals with the study of the agricultural activities of man. It studies the spatial variations of agricultural activities over the surface of the earth and the influence of geographical factors on agriculture.
- Cultural Geography: The subject deals with the study of various cultural aspects of man such as his clothing, housing, tools, language, religion, food habits, and their variations in time and space. It also deeply analyses the impact of geographical settings on human culture and the impact of human culture on the physical environment or geographical settings in a particular region.
Thus, it has been seen that the scope of this subject can’t unit within a small territory; many new branches are imagining into the scope with the increases of various human activities.