Meaning of the term Geography.
The term “geography” comes from the ancient Greeks, which are geo and graphia. In Greek, geo means “Earth” and graphia means “to write, draw or describe”.
These two words together form geographia, which means to draw, write about or describe the Earth. These meanings led to the development of the early definition of geography which are;
Geography is the study of distribution and interrelationship of phenomena in relation to the earth’s surface.
Geography is a science that deals with the earth and its life, the description of Land Sea, air plants and animal life including human being and their activities. It is the science of distributions and is concerned with spatial variations in any physical or cultural.
Geography can also referred to description of the Earth by words, maps and statistics and included both the physical Earth and everything found on it such as plants, animals and people. Therefore, geography is the study of the distribution and interrelationship of phenomena in relation to the Earth’s surface. Alternatively, geography can be described as the study of the Earth and its environment.
Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way locations and places can have an impact on people. Geography seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time.
Branches of Geography
There are three main branches of geography, namely physical geography, human and economic geography and Practical geography.
1. Physical geography
Is concerned with the study of Earth’s seasons, weather, climate, soil, streams, landforms, and oceans. All of these features form the physical environment which includes all natural features found on the Earth’s surface such as water bodies, mountains, rivers, plains, natural forests, etc.
2. Human and economic geography
It involves the study of human activities on the Earth’s surface. Human activities include farming, trade, mining, transportation, settlement, tourisms, etc.
3. Practical Geography
Is concerned with field study of photograph interpretation, map work, statistics and research.
The Importance of Studying Geography
The following are some of the reasons as why we are studying geography:
1. To develop knowledge of places and environments throughout the world. This will help in solving issues about the environment and sustainable development.
2. Geography serves as an important link between the natural and social sciences. As you study geography, you encounter different societies and cultures. This helps you realize how nations rely on each other.
3. To help us understand basic physical systems that affect everyday life. For instance, how water cycles and ocean currents work are all explained with geography. These are important systems to monitor and predict in order to help lessen the impact of disasters.
4. To learn the location of places and the physical and cultural characteristics of those places in order to function more effectively in our increasingly interdependent world.
5. To enable us explore the methods and strategies used by other nations for economic developments and how Tanzania can borrow and employ the same for a similar purpose.
6. To be able to make sensible judgments about spatial distribution of human settlements in relation to physical environment.
The Importance of Studying Geography
7. To gain knowledge about the available, finite resources that the Earth has been endowed with and how to manage and use them sustainably.
8. To help us take care of the world around us by understanding others better and knowing the limitations of the Earth. This enable us make our planet a more lovable one.
9. To understand various types of natural environments and how to harness them for equitable use by the present and future generations.
10. To gain positive attitudes and values which enable one become a responsible and successful member of the society.
11. To serve as the basis for further studies in specialized fields such as cartography (the science of map making), land survey, meteorology (the study of weather and weather forecasting), climatology (study of climate), seismography (the scientific measuring and recording of the shock and vibrations of Earthquakes), teaching, aviation and research.