Portal:Geography

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Geography (from Ancient Greek γεωγραφία geōgraphía; combining 'Earth' and gráphō 'write') is the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be. While geography is specific to Earth, many concepts can be applied more broadly to other celestial bodies in the field of planetary science. Geography has been called "a bridge between natural science and social science disciplines."

Origins of many of the concepts in geography can be traced to Greek Eratosthenes of Cyrene, who may have coined the term "geographia" (c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC). The first recorded use of the word γεωγραφία was as the title of a book by Greek scholar Claudius Ptolemy (100 – 170 AD). This work created the so called "Ptolemaic tradition" of geography, which included "Ptolemaic cartographic theory." However, the concepts of geography (such as cartography) date back to the earliest attempts to understand the world spatially, with the earliest example of an attempted world map dating to the 9th century BCE in ancient Babylon. The history of geography as a discipline spans cultures and millennia, being independently developed by multiple groups, and cross-pollinated by trade between these groups. The core concepts of geography consistent between all approaches are a focus on space, place, time, and scale.

Today, geography is an extremely broad discipline with multiple approaches and modalities. There have been multiple attempts to organize the discipline, including the four traditions of geography, and into branches. Techniques employed can generally be broken down into quantitative and qualitative approaches, with many studies taking mixed-methods approaches. Common techniques include cartography, remote sensing, interviews, and surveys. (Full article...)

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Land between bodies of water at Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Land, also known as dry land, ground, or earth, is the solid terrestrial surface of Earth not submerged by the ocean or another body of water. It makes up 29.2% of Earth's surface and includes all continents and islands. Earth's land surface is almost entirely covered by regolith, a layer of rock, soil, and minerals that forms the outer part of the crust. Land plays an important role in Earth's climate system, being involved in the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and water cycle. One-third of land is covered in trees, another third is used for agriculture, and one-tenth is covered in permanent snow and glaciers. The remainder consists of desert, savannah, and prairie. (Full article...)

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Georg Forster at age 26, by J. H. W. Tischbein, 1781

Johann George Adam Forster, also known as Georg Forster (German pronunciation: [ˈɡeːɔʁk ˈfɔʁstɐ], 27 November 1754 – 10 January 1794), was a German geographer, naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist and revolutionary. At an early age, he accompanied his father, Johann Reinhold Forster, on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook's second voyage to the Pacific. His report of that journey, A Voyage Round the World, contributed significantly to the ethnology of the people of Polynesia and remains a respected work. As a result of the report, Forster, who was admitted to the Royal Society at the early age of twenty-two, came to be considered one of the founders of modern scientific travel literature.

After returning to continental Europe, Forster turned toward academia. He taught natural history at the Collegium Carolinum in the Ottoneum, Kassel (1778–84), and later at the Academy of Vilna (Vilnius University) (1784–87). In 1788, he became head librarian at the University of Mainz. Most of his scientific work during this time consisted of essays on botany and ethnology, but he also prefaced and translated many books about travel and exploration, including a German translation of Cook's diaries. (Full article...)

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