Geography is the science that is responsible for studying the different elements of the earth’s surface. The term “geography” means, description of the Earth.
Geography is the study not only of the elements of the surface of the Earth but also of the relationship of human beings with these elements. That is to say that the study of geography is not only limited to the approach of different climates, relief, soil, hydrography, flora and fauna, but also of the relationship of these elements with the human being and their intentional or accidental modifications.
Geography, in turn, is divided into several branches: general geography, regional geography, human geography, among others. In short, one could say that geography is an integrating science that contains several areas of study in relation to planet Earth.
It is a science that is quite changeable and modifiable, which is why it requires constant research on the part of geographers, who carry out the study of this science.
Characteristics Of Geography
Geography is one of the oldest sciences in which man has specialized. From ancient times, such as the Babylonian or Egyptian civilizations, man made annotations to understand and be able to dump on a map the different reliefs, climates, flora, fauna, etc. corresponding to the different sites that surrounded them.
So you can get plans of the middle ages where they mistakenly claimed that the Earth was flat and was supported by a giant turtle. This theory was later discarded after stating that the Earth is round, although it certainly is not, but it is geoid but the latter was later discovered.
There are two great moments in history regarding the evolution of the study of geography:
A first moment called pre-modern that was born in the Greek civilization. In this first period the word geography was named for the first time by Eratosthenes who was a mathematician, geographer and Greek astronomer who lived between the years 276 – 194 a.C. However, the father of history and founder of geography as a science was the Greek Herodotus.
Then we can distinguish a second modern moment in the nineteenth century, where the measuring elements became more sophisticated.
2. General geography
This geography also receives the name of systematic geography. It is the one that studies geography globally or as a whole. This type of geography is responsible for the study of physical phenomena trying to determine the universal physical laws for all elements that are the object of study.
3. Regional geography
The regional geography is responsible for the study of the regions that make up the earth’s surface. Thus, this geography takes into account the different reliefs, precipitations, climates, climatic changes, environmental modifications accidentally produced as intentionally by natural phenomena as well as by the action of man.
4. Human geography
There is a type of geography that is responsible for the study of populations and the demographic evolution of these, as well as the changes it makes in the environment, altering the nature for its domain or profit. This type of geography is known as human geography.
5. Physical or natural geography
Physical geography is responsible for studying the distribution of physical and biological phenomena. At the same time, it studies the causes of the grouping of phenomena, their connections and their different consequences.
6. Geographic methods
Being a science that studies the place where human beings live and its relationship with the environment that surrounds it, the different branches of geography are related to each other. Therefore, there is a geographical method that geographers have established as a research method. It consists of five steps or stages:
- Location of the phenomena. Geography is responsible for finding different phenomena; climatic, accidental, produced, etc. Without this prior location, a subsequent geographical study could not be carried out.
- Description and explanation. The description and explanation refers to the need to analyze, interpret and respond to previously observed phenomena.
- Comparison of similar phenomena. In the face of certain observations similar to each other, the comparison can result in the establishment of physical or biological laws to then theorize about something determined.
- Coordination. The next step states that geographic phenomena are interconnected with each other. Therefore, the alteration of one of these affects the rest of them in one way or another.
- Evolution. Since it is a science that contemplates the environment, it is constantly exposed to change.
7. Geographic phenomena
There are different phenomena of which geography is responsible for studying, measuring, analyzing, classifying, etc. These phenomena are observable and measurable with different instruments that evolved as the progress of this science progressed. Some of the phenomena studied by geography are:
- Atmospheric pressure
8. Measurement tools
The instruments that geography uses depend on the type of phenomenon that constitutes the geographic object of study. For example;
- Temperature. To measure it, a thermometer or barometer is used.
- Winds Weather vanes, anemometers and anemographs have been used.
- Atmospheric pressure. Use the barometer.
- Precipitation Use the rain gauge.
- Humidity. Use a hygrometer.
- Relief. The altimeter is used.
- Cloudiness Use a nefoscope.
9. Data collection
The data that geographers get can be first hand. That is to say where;
They are themselves with a research team make observations and mark the observable differences by turning the results obtained into reports so that they can be used by others or;
They can use censuses, statistical studies, photographs obtained by themselves or by third parties and maps (modern or old for comparisons).
10. Realization of maps
After the steps described above, the data obtained are dumped for the constitution of a map. These maps, at first were determined manually by simple and plain observation.
With the advancement of measurement methods and instruments, they have been able to be realized with the help of satellites located in the atmosphere that capture images and then process them and obtain fidelity with respect to the observed geographical object.