Geography at a Glance

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Geography is a science of very broad scope. It can cover so much that distinguishing it from other areas of study is becoming more difficult. The lines between geomorphology and geology are blurred for example. The only way to preserve geography as a discipline is to have a purpose that can be accepted and understood by everyone, from the layman to the professor.

When William D. Pattison first wrote The Four Traditions of Geography his intent was to show that there was consistency all through geography, despite all the subcategories. He showed us the spatial, area studies, man-land, and earth science traditions. Spatial is a perspective in which all things are viewed as objects in space, and how the act in that space. This tradition is widely viewed as the most important aspect of all geographical study. Area studies is of the nature of locations and its differentiation. Man-land is how man and land react toward one another in a living environment. Earth Science is where the geographer embraces the study of the Earth and all of its physical characteristics. (Pattison, 1964)

In A New Look at the Four Traditions of Geography, J. Lewis Robinson simply relays the ideas of Pattison to a world that had changed very much in the twelve years since his article. The emphasis since has been on topical studies, such as economic or human geography, and less on broad ranges. It takes and shows where the spatial perspective has become dominant, while area studies has declined significantly. He also shows that man-land and earth science are still very important in the geography world. (Robinson, 1976)

Even more areas are examined in Fundamental Themes in Geography. Boehm points out Location, Place, Relationships within Places, Movement, and Regions in this article. Location is just that, the position on Earths surface, subcategorized into relative and absolute. Absolute location is the exact place where something is on the globe, where relative location...
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