Geography is much more than Cartography, the study of maps. It not only investigates what is where on the Earth, but also why it's there not somewhere else. It studies this whether the cause is natural or human. It also studies the consequences of those differences.
This branch focuses on Geography as an Earth Science, making use of biology to understand global flora and fauna patterns, and mathematics and physics to understand the motion of the earth and relationship with other bodies in the solar system. It also covers mapmaking and navigation.
atmosphere -- archipelago -- city -- continent -- desert -- gulf -- island -- lake -- -- mountain range -- ocean -- peninsula -- plain -- river -- sea -- valley -- Ecology -- Climate -- soil? -- geomorphology? -- biogeography?
The human, or political/cultural, branch of geography - also called anthropogeography? focuses on the social science, non-physical aspects of the way the world is arranged. It examines how humans adapt themselves to the land and to other people, and in macroscopic transformations they enact on the world. It can be divided into the following subfields: economic geography, political geography (including geopolitics), social geography (including urban geography), environmentalism, cartography, and military geography.
This branch seeks to determine how physical and cultural features of the planet evolved and came into being.
Urban and Regional Planning
This branch uses the science of geography to assist in determining how to develop (or not develop) the land to meet particular criteria, such as safety, beauty, economic preservation, or etc.
History of Geography
The Greeks are the first known culture to actively explore geography as a science and philosophy, with major contributors including [Thales of Miletus]?, Herodotus, Eratosthenes?, Aristotle, Strabo?, and Ptolemy. Mapping by the Romans as they explored new lands added new techniques.
During the Middle Ages, Arabs such as Idrisi, Ibn Battutah, and Ibn Khaldun built on and maintained the Greek and Roman learnings. Following the journeys of Marco Polo, interest in geography spread throughout Europe. During the Renaissance and into the 16th and 17th centuries the great voyages of exploration revived a desire for solid theoretical foundations and accurate detail. The Geographia generalis by Bernhardus Varenius and Gerardus Mercator's world map are prime examples.
By the 18th century, geography had become recognized as a discrete discipline and became part of regular university curriculum. Over the past two centuries the quantity of knowledge and the number of tools has exploded.