Types of Geography

Cultural & Human Geography

Fields of human geography Focal Subjects

Behavioral geography Behavior – based on where they live/relation 
Children's geographies Children – children’s behavior based on environment
Cultural geography Culture
Development geography Economic development
Economic geography Economics
Environmental geography Environment, Ecology
Feminist geography Women's studies
Health geography Health, Epidemiology
Historical geography History
Military geography Military science
Political geography, including Geopolitics Politics
Population geography         Population, Population density
Regional geography Region
Social geography Society, Sociology
Strategic geography Military strategy
Transportation geography Transport
Tropical geography Colonialism, Post colonialism
Time geography Lifestyle, Motion
Tourism geography Tourism
Urban geography City

Physical geography

Fields of physical geography Focal subjects

Biogeography Species
Climatology Climate
Coastal/Marine studies Coasts
Environmental geography Environmental science
Geodesy Gravity, Magnetic field
Geomorphology Landforms
Hydrology Water cycle, Water resources
   Glaciology Glacier
   Oceanography Ocean, Sea
   Limnology Lake, Pond, River
Landscape ecology Nitrogen cycle
Palaeogeography Continental drift
Pedology Soil
Fields of human geography

The main fields of study in human geography focus around the core fields of: Culture

Cultural geography is the study of cultural products and norms and their variation across and relations to spaces and places. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially.

    * Subfields include: Children's geographies, Animal geographies, Language geography, Sexuality and Space and Religion geography


Development Geography is the study of the Earth's geography with reference to the Standard of living and the Quality of life of its human inhabitants, study of the location, distribution and spatial organization of economic activities, across the Earth. The subject matter investigated is strongly influenced by the researcher's methodological approach.


Economic geography examines relationships between human economic systems, states, and other actors, and the biophysical environment.

    * Subfields include Marketing geography


Health geography is the application of geographical information, perspectives, and methods to the study of health, disease, and health care.


Historical Geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past. Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics. A common theme is the study of the geographies of the past and how a place or region changes through time. Many historical geographers study geographical patterns through time, including how people have interacted with their environment, and created the cultural landscape.

    * Subfields include Time geography


Political geography is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures.

    * Subfields include Electoral geography, Geopolitics, Strategic geography and Military geography


Population geography is the study of the ways in which spatial variations in the distribution, composition, migration, and growth of populations are related to the nature of places.


Tourism geography is the study of travel and tourism as an industry, as a human activity, and especially as a place-based experience.

    * Subfields include Transportation geography


Urban geography is the study of urban areas with specific regards to spatial and relational aspects and theories. That is the study of areas, which have a high concentration of buildings and infrastructure. These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. They probably have a high population density.

Physical Geography can be divided into several sub-fields, as follows:

    * Geomorphology is the science concerned with understanding the surface of the Earth and the processes by which it is shaped, both at the present as well as in the past. Geomorphology as a field has several sub-fields that deal with the specific landforms of various environments e.g. desert geomorphology and fluvial geomorphology, however, these sub-fields are united by the core processes which cause them; mainly tectonic or climatic processes. Geomorphology seeks to understand landform history and dynamics, and predict future changes through a combination of field observation, physical experiment, and numerical modeling (Geomorphometry). Early studies in geomorphology are the foundation for Pedology, one of two main branches of soil science.
    * Hydrology is predominantly concerned with the amounts and quality of water moving and accumulating on the land surface and in the soils and rocks near the surface and is typified by the hydrological cycle. Thus the field encompasses water in rivers, lakes, and aquifers and to an extent glacier, in which the field examines the process and dynamics involved in these bodies of water. Hydrology has historically had an important connection with engineering and has thus developed a largely quantitative method in its research; however, it does have an earth science side that embraces the systems approach. Similar to most fields of physical geography it has sub-fields that examine the specific bodies of water or their interaction with other spheres e.g. limnology and ecohydrology.

    * Glaciology is the study of glaciers and ice sheets, or more commonly the cryosphere or ice and phenomena that involve ice. Glaciology groups the latter (ice sheets) as continental glaciers and the former (glaciers) as alpine glaciers. Although, research in the areas are similar with research undertaken into both the dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers the former tends to be concerned with the interaction of ice sheets with the present climate and the latter with the impact of glaciers on the landscape. Glaciology also has a vast array of sub-fields examining the factors and processes involved in ice sheets and glaciers e.g. snow hydrology and glacial geology.

    * Biogeography is the science, which deals with geographic patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in these patterns. Biogeography emerged as a field of study as a result of the work of Alfred Russell Wallace, although the field prior to the late twentieth century had largely been viewed as historic in its outlook and descriptive in its approach. The main stimulus for the field since its founding has been that of evolution, plate tectonics and the theory of island biogeography. The field can largely be divided into five sub-fields: island biogeography, paleobiogeography, phylogeography, zoogeography and phytogeography

    * Climatology is the study of the climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a long period of time. It differs from meteorology, which studies atmospheric processes over a shorter duration, which is then examined by climatologists to find trends and frequencies in weather patterns/phenomena. Climatology examines both the nature of micro (local) and macro (global) climates and the natural and anthropogenic influences on them. The field is also sub-divided largely into the climates of various regions and the study of specific phenomena or time period e.g. tropical cyclone rainfall climatology and pale climatology.

    * Pedology is the study of soils in their natural environment. It is one of two main branches of soil science, the other being edaphology. Pedology mainly deals with pedogenesis, soil morphology, and soil classification. In physical geography Pedology is largely studied due to the numerous interactions between climate (water, air, temperature), soil life (micro-organisms, plants, animals), the mineral materials within soils (biogeochemical cycles) and its position and effects on the landscape such as laterization.

    * Palaeogeography is the study of the distribution of the continents through geologic time through examining the preserved material in the stratigraphic record. Palaeogeography is a cross-discipline, almost all the evidence for the positions of the continents comes from geology in the form of fossils or geophysics the use of this data has resulted in evidence for continental drift, plate tectonics and supercontinents this in turn has supported palaeogeographic theories such as the Wilson cycle.

    * Coastal geography is the study of the dynamic interface between the ocean and the land, incorporating both the physical geography (i.e. coastal geomorphology, geology and oceanography) and the human geography of the coast. It involves an understanding of coastal weathering processes, particularly wave action, sediment movement and weathering, and also the ways in which humans interact with the coast: Coastal Geography although predominantly geomorphological in its research is not just concerned with coastal landforms, but also the causes and influences of sea level change.

    * Oceanography is the branch of physical geography that studies the Earth's oceans and seas. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics (biological oceanography); ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics (physical oceanography); plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor (geological oceanography); and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries (chemical oceanography). These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it.

    * Quaternary science is an inter-disciplinary field of study focusing on the Quaternary period, which encompasses the last 2.6 million years. The field studies the last ice age and the recent interstadial the Holocene and uses proxy evidence to reconstruct the past environments during this period to infer the climatic and environmental changes that have occurred.

    * Landscape ecology is a sub-discipline of ecology and geography that address how spatial variation in the landscape affects ecological processes such as the distribution and flow of energy, materials and individuals in the environment (which, in turn, may influence the distribution of landscape "elements" themselves such as hedgerows). The German geographer Carl Troll Landscape ecology typically deals with problems in an applied and holistic context largely founded the field. The main difference between biogeography and landscape ecology is that the latter is concerned with how flows or energy and material are changed and their impacts on the landscape whereas the former is concerned with the spatial patterns of species and chemical cycles.

    * Geomatics is the field of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering of geographic information, or spatially referenced information. Geomatics includes geodesy (scientific discipline that deals with the measurement and representation of the earth, its gravitational field, and other geodynamic phenomena, such as crustal motion, oceanic tides, and polar motion) and G.I.S. (a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth) and remote sensing (the short or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by the use of either recording or real-time sensing devices that are not in physical or intimate contact with the object).

    * Environmental geography is a branch of geography that analyzes the spatial aspects of interactions between humans and the natural world. The branch bridges the divide between human and physical geography and thus requires an understanding of the dynamics of geology, meteorology, hydrology, biogeography, and geomorphology, as well as the ways in which human societies conceptualize the environment, although the branch was previously more visible in research than at present with theories such as environmental determinism linking society with the environment. It has largely become the domain of the study of environmental management or anthropogenic influences.