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Geography

Journey over all the universe in a map, without the expense and fatigue of traveling, without suffering the inconveniences of heat, cold, hunger, and thirst.
--Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha

Geography is a rich, diverse, and integrative discipline that brings together both the physical and human dimensions of the world.  In studying people, places, and the environment, a geographer will emphasize features of the earth's surface and the processes that shape it, the relationship between people and environments, and the connections between people and places. 

The word geography itself is derived from two Greek words that mean to write about or describe features of the earth.  In fact, the ancient Greeks were one of the first cultures to systematically describe features of the physical environment (landscapes, climate, vegetation, etc.) and the human environment (cultures, cities, languages, etc.).  There contribution to the development of geographic knowledge emphasized three important components: 

  1. Describing the world

  2. Viewing the world from a spatial perspective

  3. Recognizing the interrelationship and interdependence of the elements of the world

Today, one can find many definitions of geography, but for many, geography is the study or analysis of the locational attributes and spatial variation of phenomena on the earth's surface. That is, geography is the study of distributions. Any inquiry that assumes a spatial point of view, or investigates something which implies, pertains to, or involves space or place, may be considered an exercise in geography. In essence, if the spatial distribution of the myriad physical and human elements of the world can be mapped, then it's geography!

In general, geography can be divided into four broad branches - areas of study within which geographers seek to answer specific questions about people, places, and the environment. Physical geography is primarily concerned with the study and spatial distribution of environmental phenomena. Human geography is primarily concerned with the study and spatial distribution of humans and human activity.

Geographers also tend to focus on a particular topic or area of expertise. Topical (systematic) geography is primarily concerned with the study and spatial distribution of one particular phenomenon and how it varies from place to place. Examples in physical geography include geomorphology (study of landforms), climatology (study of climates), and biogeography (study of plants and animals). Examples in human geography include economic geography (study of economic activity), population geography and demographics (study of populations and their characteristics), and urban geography (study of cities and their impact on human activity). Likewise, Regional geography is primarily concerned with the study and spatial distribution of the physical and human elements of a particular region. For example, geographers may focus on a particular area of expertise such as North America or Southeast Asia.


Contents


Why Study Geography?

The advantages are endless in this course of study. Students will learn what it means to be human, what distinguishes humans from all other life forms on the planet, and what material objects (artifacts) and patterns have been found in human lifestyles. Students will learn about human origins and development, the similarities and differences between humans and other possible life forms, and the variations within the human species.


Geography Course Descriptions

Columbus State offers these courses in Geography.


Geography Faculty

Eric Neubauer


Career Opportunities in Geography

You may not be aware of it, but people who get degrees in geography are employed in an array of diverse fields and vocations, both in the public and private sectors. Some of the following are a sample of the careers or jobs that geographers are often involved in:

  • Cartography (mapmaking)
  • Environmental Issues
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Natural Resource and Wildlife divisions of State Agencies
  • City and Regional Planning
  • Transportation
    Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Military
  • Insurance
  • Economics, Finance, and Banking
  • Marketing
  • Communications and Technology
    Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
    Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Demographics
    Bureau of the Census
  • Surveying
  • Teaching and Education
  • Medicine and Health Care
    Epidemiology
  • And Many Other Areas!!

Even people who have no formal training as geographers end up employed in career fields or jobs that have a geographic basis to them.  Think of people involved in real estate.  They are intimately concerned about geography – location, location, location!!!


Geography-Related Sites

Department of Geography, The Ohio State University -

Association of American Geographers -

National Geographic Society -

Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) - GIS -

CIA World Factbook -

Washington State University – World Civilizations -

U. S. Geological Survey -

U. S. State Department – Regions -

U. S. Census Bureau -

Population Reference Bureau -

Geography – About.com -

The Weather Channel -

Discovery Channel Online -

MapQuest -

TerraServer -

Odden’s Bookmarks – The Facinating World of Maps and Mapmaking

Rand McNally -

Travelocity -

Virtual Tourist -

Roadside America -

Geography of Cyberspace -

How Far Is It? -