Regional geography is concerned with the description of the unique characteristics of a particular region such as its natural or human elements. The main aim is to understand, or define the uniqueness, or character of a particular region that consists of natural as well as human elements.
Attention is paid also to regionalization , which covers the proper techniques of space delimitation into regions. As spatial interrelationships are key to this synoptic science, maps are a key tool. Classical cartography has been joined by a more modern approach to geographical analysis, computer-based geographic information systems GIS. Although other subdisciplines of geography rely on maps for presenting their analyses, the actual making of maps is abstract enough to be regarded separately.
Cartography has grown from a collection of drafting techniques into an actual science. Cartographers must learn cognitive psychology and ergonomics to understand which symbols convey information about the Earth most effectively, and behavioural psychology to induce the readers of their maps to act on the information. They must learn geodesy and fairly advanced mathematics to understand how the shape of the Earth affects the distortion of map symbols projected onto a flat surface for viewing.
It can be said, without much controversy, that cartography is the seed from which the larger field of geography grew. Most geographers will cite a childhood fascination with maps as an early sign they would end up in the field. In addition to all of the other subdisciplines of geography, GIS specialists must understand computer science and database systems.
GIS has revolutionized the field of cartography: In this context, GIS stands for geographic information science. Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about Earth features from measurements made at a distance. Remotely sensed data comes in many forms, such as satellite imagery , aerial photography , and data obtained from hand-held sensors.
Remotely sensed data may be analysed either independently of, or in conjunction with other digital data layers e. Geostatistics deal with quantitative data analysis, specifically the application of statistical methodology to the exploration of geographic phenomena.
Geostatistics is used extensively in a variety of fields, including hydrology , geology , petroleum exploration, weather analysis, urban planning , logistics , and epidemiology. The mathematical basis for geostatistics derives from cluster analysis , linear discriminant analysis and non-parametric statistical tests , and a variety of other subjects.
Applications of geostatistics rely heavily on geographic information systems , particularly for the interpolation estimate of unmeasured points. Geographers are making notable contributions to the method of quantitative techniques. Geographic qualitative methods, or ethnographical research techniques, are used by human geographers.
In cultural geography there is a tradition of employing qualitative research techniques, also used in anthropology and sociology. Participant observation and in-depth interviews provide human geographers with qualitative data.
The oldest known world maps date back to ancient Babylon from the 9th century BC. The accompanying text mentions seven outer regions beyond the encircling ocean. The descriptions of five of them have survived. The ideas of Anaximander c. Anaximander is credited with the invention of the gnomon , the simple, yet efficient Greek instrument that allowed the early measurement of latitude.
Thales is also credited with the prediction of eclipses. The foundations of geography can be traced to the ancient cultures, such as the ancient, medieval, and early modern Chinese.
The Greeks , who were the first to explore geography as both art and science , achieved this through Cartography , Philosophy , and Literature , or through Mathematics. There is some debate about who was the first person to assert that the Earth is spherical in shape, with the credit going either to Parmenides or Pythagoras. Anaxagoras was able to demonstrate that the profile of the Earth was circular by explaining eclipses.
However, he still believed that the Earth was a flat disk, as did many of his contemporaries. One of the first estimates of the radius of the Earth was made by Eratosthenes. The first rigorous system of latitude and longitude lines is credited to Hipparchus. He employed a sexagesimal system that was derived from Babylonian mathematics. To measure the longitude at different locations on Earth, he suggested using eclipses to determine the relative difference in time.
He extended the work of Hipparchus , using a grid system on his maps and adopting a length of From the 3rd century onwards, Chinese methods of geographical study and writing of geographical literature became much more comprehensive than what was found in Europe at the time until the 13th century. During the Middle Ages , the fall of the Roman empire led to a shift in the evolution of geography from Europe to the Islamic world. Turkish geographer, Mahmud al-Kashgari drew a world map on a linguistic basis, and later so did Piri Reis Piri Reis map.
Further, Islamic scholars translated and interpreted the earlier works of the Romans and the Greeks and established the House of Wisdom in Baghdad for this purpose. Abu Rayhan Biruni — first described a polar equi- azimuthal equidistant projection of the celestial sphere. He often combined astronomical readings and mathematical equations, in order to develop methods of pin-pointing locations by recording degrees of latitude and longitude.
He also developed similar techniques when it came to measuring the heights of mountains , depths of the valleys , and expanse of the horizon. He also discussed human geography and the planetary habitability of the Earth. The European Age of Discovery during the 16th and the 17th centuries, where many new lands were discovered and accounts by European explorers such as Christopher Columbus , Marco Polo , and James Cook revived a desire for both accurate geographic detail, and more solid theoretical foundations in Europe.
The problem facing both explorers and geographers was finding the latitude and longitude of a geographic location. The problem of latitude was solved long ago but that of longitude remained; agreeing on what zero meridian should be was only part of the problem. It was left to John Harrison to solve it by inventing the chronometer H-4 in , and later in for the International Meridian Conference to adopt by convention the Greenwich meridian as zero meridian.
The 18th and the 19th centuries were the times when geography became recognized as a discrete academic discipline , and became part of a typical university curriculum in Europe especially Paris and Berlin.
In the West during the 20th century, the discipline of geography went through four major phases: The strong interdisciplinary links between geography and the sciences of geology and botany , as well as economics , sociology and demographics have also grown greatly, especially as a result of earth system science that seeks to understand the world in a holistic view.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Geography disambiguation. The science that studies the terrestrial surface, the societies that inhabit it and the territories, landscapes, places or regions that form it. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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Retrieved 10 November Retrieved 9 October Translated by Roller, Duane W. Princeton University Press published 24 January A look at geographical features of the North East coast of Scotland, and the processes that create them.
Examine the factors which cause the divisions between the developing and developed worlds. Also find out about the major health issues of each, from cholera and malaria to cancer and heart disease.
Case studies of sudden events in nature, from the flash floods in Inverness to the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat. Study the Cause, Impact, Prediction and Action of each. Focussing on the environmental pressures and the strategies to improve the areas in question. Country fact files and migration case studies help make sense of population distribution, census collection, Population Pyramids and the Demographic Transition Model.
Includes extensive exam style questions. Learn about the hydrological cycle, river drainage basins and hydrographs in this resource for Intermediate Geography students. Explore the social and physical geography of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and learn about the impact and formation of upland limestone.
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Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of Earth. Geography. Resources for students and teachers of geography. Discover the world with articles, fact sheets, maps and more that explore landscapes, peoples, places, and environments both near and far. Basics Physical Geography Political Geography Population Country Information Climate History Maps.