From externality to inputs and interference: framing environmental research in geography
© Royal Geographical Society.

The academic discipline of Geography is split into two main sub-areas: Physical Geography, and Human Geography.

Physical geography looks at the natural world from a spatial perspective. Human geography looks at humans and human culture from a spatial perspective.

Physical geography in practice looks a lot like natural science, while human geography in practice looks a lot like humanities (anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, etc.).

The key difference is the use of a spatial perspective in the questions and analyses.


Streaming Films @ the Library

fod logo Films on Demand | Geography  

Thousands of streaming educational videos in an online video collection.


National Geographic Education | Travel Videos

Provides access to the Society’s scientific, and exploration media for education.


Ted Talks logoTED Talks | Geography

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics.


Books @ the Library

G The library contains both print and online books students may find useful in understanding and researching geography.   Printed books such as Atlases can be found in the G section of the shelves. Atlases can also be found in subject specific areas, we recommend using OneSearch to find the book you need.

Recommended titles

A Dictionary of Geography (print Reference G 63 .M39 2009) For terms in academic geography

Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary (via Credo Reference, via print Stacks G 103.5 .W42 1997) For names of places

The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Geography (via Credo Reference)

The Dictionary of Human Geography (via Credo Reference)

The Dictionary of Physical Geography (via Credo Reference)

Historical Atlas of Washington (print Reference F 891 .S38 1988)

Atlas of World Population History (print Stacks HB 851 .M32)


Scholarly Journals & Research Databases

These are the best best places to look for geographical or cultural information as well as a wide selection of maps.

  • World History in Context Provides scholarly material, maps and topic pages that cover the most-studied events, periods, cultures, civilizations, religions, conflicts, wars, ideologies, cultural movements, and people (Full Text via Gale). World History in Context Provides scholarly material, maps and topic pages that cover the most-studied events, periods, cultures, civilizations, religions, conflicts, wars, ideologies, cultural movements, and people (Full Text via Gale).
  • History Study Center History Study Center - includes several atlases, plus a large collection of animated maps (Chadwyck-Healey Animated Maps) illustrating concepts from world history such as the spread of the Black Death. In addition, some of the history books in this collection contain maps.
  • Credo Reference Credo Reference - includes several atlases. Go to the “Find a Book” tab, and select Geography as the subject to see titles such as the Concise Atlas of World History.
  • CultureGrams CultureGrams - includes four maps of every country (from GEOATLAS): Outline, Simple, Physical, and Political. Also, regional maps by National Geographic.
  • eLibrary eLibrary - all maps published in National Geographic Magazine from 1997 - present; plus collections of maps from GeoNova,, and Cartographica; and interactive maps from GeoAmericas.
  • ARTstor ARTstor - includes some images of maps, plans, views, and other cartographic materials. In the Advanced Search, limit by the Classification 'Maps, Charts and Graphs'; or build a search that includes the words 'map' or 'maps'.


    Recommended Peer-Reviewed Journals


    Cartography is also generally found in geography — it’s the study of and creation of maps, informed by the study of graphic design and human perception and cognition.

    History of Cartography From the University of Chicago Press, 3 volumes available as pdfs.

    Finding Maps

    The library houses a collection of maps you can check out such as:

    Roll Maps CaseFlat Maps: Under the stairs by the Reference Desk

    Rolled Maps: Mainly for classroom use but are available upon request.  Please ask for assistance.

    Folded Maps: Shelved in the Stacks.

    Outline Maps: Look for Outline Maps on File (print Reference G 1046 .A1F3 2002)

    All these maps can be discovered through OneSearch logo and link by selecting Available at the Library and then under 'Resource Type' choose Maps.


    OneSearch Logo


    Finding Maps Online

    Click here for a list of resources

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

    In recent years GIS have been added to the geographer’s repertoire. GIS uses computers as a tool for analyzing spatial data. GIS data can also be used in cartography.

    Recommended Software:

    QGIS: A free and open source Geographic Information System.

    Recommended titles:

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) : Techniques, Applications and Technologies (via EBSCO eBooks)

    Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science (via EBSCO eBooks)

    Spatial Thinking in Planning Practice: An Introduction to GIS” from Portland State University Library.

    GIS Data Sources

    Geography Podcasts


    University of Oxford: School of Geography and the Environment Podcasts

    These online audio resources consist of lectures, seminars and interviews from the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

    A VerySpatial Podcast (Geography… in Stereo): “your weekly source for information on Geography and geospatial technologies. Geography touches most things we do everyday and geospatial technologies are taking over the world. This podcast seeks to point out how geo is filtering into our digital lives and daily lives.”

    National Geographic Weekend hosted by Boyd Matson. Explore the full archive of National Geographic Weekend shows from 2007-2012.

    The Geo Quiz: from PRI’s The World challenges your knowledge of people and places, geography and culture. Created by journalists in the newsroom, each Geo Quiz question comes with its own answer, a fascinating report or interview that reveals a mystery location. Subscribe to the podcast.

    Geography News Network

    5 Themes of Geography chart
    “5 themes” CC-BY-SA


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