Meaning And Scope Of Geography
The word geography is derived from the Greek word ‘geo’, meaning the earth, and ‘graph’ meaning a description. Hence, geography may be defined simply as the description of the earth. However, geography does not only describe the surface of the earth and its features. It also investigates the inter-relationship between man and his environment and allows man to give an intelligent interpretation to events that occur in his environment.
Geography is a very interesting subject whose ideas are real and easy to understand because they are relevant to our life experiences. It is concerned with the study of size, shape and movement of the earth and other heavenly bodies, the land masses and body of water, climate, vegetation and events. It deals also with the spatial distribution of animals and natural resources, as well as human activities.
Value Of Geography
Geography is an essential subject for the simple reason that one needs to understand his environment. Geography raises issues and problems vital to our modern society, which we would do well to study. Geography is an essential field to every human being, for it consists of knowledge of the world around us.
The study of the distinctive characteristics of geography contributes to the balanced development of the individual. Knowledge of geography and ability to think geographically can aid the individual in understanding and interpreting the realities of this world.
A well-trained geographer or one who has the knowledge of geography cab perform many vital roles in the political and socio-economic sectors of the society. He can use his geographical knowledge, attitude and skills in such areas as urban, economic, rural or regional planning, census, publishing, war prosecution, teaching, consultancy services, agriculture, estate management, survey, foreign policy, research institutes, general administration, business, commerce, co-operative management, Geography Information System and Communication, etc. It is therefore, obvious that professionally trained geographers qualify for great variety of jobs. Both in choosing a vocation and later, in following a business or professional life, geography has a definite practical value to individual.
Geography has a place in one’s intellectual development. If offers training by focussing on ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘how’, and ‘why’, of phenomena through space and time. In studying geography, we gain the ability to evaluate geographically the earth on which we live, to trace cause and effect and to note relationships. As we gain knowledge of other people and their ways of living, their products, their cultures, etc. We become more stimulated and inspired to a broader conception of life, a greater appreciation and better understanding of man in his environmental setting.
Geography is a very useful subject either in choosing a vocation or in following a business or professional life. A geographer is an expert with a skill that is valuable to the society. Internationally, We need geographical knowledge. In Nigeria too, we need better geographical understanding to solve national problems. Geography deals with the phenomena that are real because it is living, versatile and functional subject whose focus is on man, in relation to his environment. Therefore, we see that it looks at man’s problems and opportunities through a spatial perspective.
Furthermore, geography is a highly versatile subject allowing a variety of combinations of professional courses like architecture, urban and regional planning, estate management, land surveying, military studies, business administration and education. In view of the intellectual and functional values of geography, Nigeria higher institutions offer undergraduate and graduate studies in geography or geography-related course. Most of their geography programmes lead to the B.A, B.Sc, M.A, M.Sc, M.Phil and Ph.D degrees.
We can now see that the sky is our starting point as geography students. We can study geography to earn a living or to make our leisure more profitable. The study of geography will make us to be more useful to ourselves and our society.