Derived from Greek, the word “Geography” means “to write about the earth”. Besides memorizing the names of capitals and countries, it also tends to describe them. Geography being an all-encompassing discipline, seeks to understand the human and physical features of the world through a thorough knowledge of place and location. Geography, best known as “the mother of all sciences”, bridges the gap between the human and physical sciences while considering the spatial connection between people, places and the earth.
While physical geography is often confused with geology, Geographers study the earth’s surface, its features, its landscapes, where they are and why. And geologist looks deeper into the earth than geographers and studies the plate tectonics and volcanoes, the rocks, and the history of earth million and billion years ago.
Geography being a vast field has thousands of researchers working in numerous interesting sub-disciplines or branches of geography of which few are discussed below:
- Human Geography: A branch of geography, human geography studies the interaction of people with earth.
- Economic Geography: Economic geographers investigate the sharing of production and distribution of goods, the distribution of wealth, and also the space structure of economic conditions.
- Population Geography: Often considered as equivalent to demography, population geography is more than just the patterns of birth, death and marriage. Population geographers are involved with the distribution, migration, and growth of population in geographic areas.
- Political Geography: This branch of geography carries out an official inquiry about boundaries, country, state, and nation development, international organizations, voting and more.
- Physical Geography: Another major branch of geography, physical geography is concerned with the natural features of or near the earth’s surface.
- Applied Geography: To solve problems in everyday society, applied geographers use geographic knowledge, skills and techniques.
- Regional Geography: Regional geographers study an area as large as a continent or as small as an urban area.
- Cartography: Geography is anything that can be mapped. The branch of cartography focuses on enhancing and developing technologies used in map-making.
- Quantitative Methods: Quantitative methods use mathematical techniques and models to test hypothesis.
- Historical Geography: Geographers, in this branch of geography, research the physical and human geography of the past.