Map of Earth with country borders and big cities shown

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is the study of earth and its people. Its features are things like continents, seas, rivers and mountains. Its inhabitants are all the people and animals that live on it. Its phenomena are the things that happen like tides, winds, and earthquakes.

A person who is an expert in geography is a geographer. A geographer tries to understand the world and the things that are in it, how they started and how they have changed.

Geography is divided into two main parts called physical geography and human geography. Physical geography studies the natural environment and human geography studies the human environment. The human environmental studies would include things such as the population in a country, how a country's economy is doing, and more. There is also environmental geography.

Maps are a main tool of geography, so geographers spend much time making and studying them. Making maps is called cartography, and people who specialize in making maps are cartographers.


Physical geography

Physical geography (or physiography) focuses on geography as an Earth science. It aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, pedosphere, and global flora and fauna patterns (biosphere).

Physical geography can be divided into many broad categories, including:

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BiogeographyClimatology & MeteorologyCoastal geographyEnvironmental management
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GeodesyGeomorphologyGlaciologyHydrology & Hydrography
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Landscape ecologyOceanographyPedologyPalaeogeography
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Quaternary science

Human geography

A crowd of people around a band.

Human geography is the social science that covers the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies and their interaction with the environment. Geographers studying the human environment may look at:


The oldest known world map dates back to ancient Babylon from the 9th century BC. The best known Babylonian world map is the Imago Mundi of 600 BC. Star charts (maps of the sky) are of similar age.

During the Middle Ages, people in Europe made fewer maps. People in the Islamic world made more. Abū Zayd al-Balkhī created the "Balkhī school" of mapping in Baghdad.

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Uses material from the Wikipedia article Geography, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.