Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

By K Balaji|Updated : January 24th, 2023

The difference between physical geography and human geography is that the job of physical geographers is to aid in decision-making with regard to majorly the management of natural resources, while the job of human geographers is to help in urban planning and formulation of international business models. Physical geography and human geography both fall under the ambit of Geographical Sciences.

Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography PDF

However, despite being under the umbrella category of Geography, physical geography and human geography - as the names suggest - are completely different from one another. The Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography is that while the former studies the various physical aspects of the earth - including its soil structure, plant life, water, etc., human geography introspects the study of religion and culture.

Table of Content

Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

There is numerous difference between physical geography and human geography. Since both of these concepts are important in competitive examinations, especially for those having Geography as an elective, here is a comprehensive table featuring all the pivotal difference between physical and human Geography.

Physical Geography vs Human Geography

Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

Physical Geography

Human Geography

Physical geography tends to study the earth's various natural processes and resources, including plate tectonics, climate, water resources, etc.

Human geography studies human behavior and defines its implications and impact on the physical world.

Physical geography can be segregated into different parts -

Glaciology - Studies the glaciers and ice sheets formed on the earth's surface.

Geomorphology - studies the shape of the earth's crust and its formation.

Climatology - Studies the climate of the earth.

Hydrology - Studies the water found on the earth's surface.

The various sub-sections of human geography include -

Urban geography - Studies cities and urban areas.

Development geography - Studies and measures the standard of living and quality of life of people and cities across the globe.

Historical geography - Studies the implication and limitations of geography as an educational discipline in the past.

Cultural geography - Studies the institutions and parameters of religions and governments worldwide.

Impetus is provided more on the "location" aspect of the region while conducting surveys and studies.

For example, when studying the tectonic plate shifting in Kolkata, the physical geographers will not focus on the area's population and urban planning.

Impetus is provided on both location and "people" of a particular area it tends to study.

For example, a typical study of human geography will focus on why a portion of the population of UAE is Malayalis from Kerala, India.

Physical geography studies physical aspects of the earth, such as soil structure, plant life, water, etc.

Human geography introspects the study of religion and culture

Physical and Human Geography

Physical geography is the study of the science of spaces; it explores the built and natural environments around us and the processes that shape them. Human geography examines how people move through space and use different environments.

What is Physical Geography?

Physical geography is the study of various landforms on Earth's surface, the variety of living things found in a place, and the natural processes that have an impact on the planet.

  • It includes all of the Earth's physical attributes, such as aerial (air), hydrological (water), pedological (soil), biogeographical (plants and animals), and oceanographic.
  • The main goal of physical geography is understanding how the Earth's physical environment affects human behaviour.
  • The traditional divisions of physical geography were into climatology, biogeography, hydrology, and geomorphology.

What is Human Geography?

Human geography is the interaction and connection between human activity and physical space. The study of social networks, the effects of the environment on cultures and vice versa, and the patterns of political, social, and economic variables across geographical spaces are all included.

  • It is the study of the human race. It involves investigating the history, origins, interactions, and viewpoints of the race about numerous ideologies that impact them.
  • It also includes an analysis of how these social groupings form themselves in their settings.
  • Therefore, human geography is of utmost importance.

Conclusion:

Key Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

The Key Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography is that Physical Geography examines the natural processes of the Earth, like climate and plate tectonics, whereas Human geography examines the outcome and how the behaviour of individuals correlates to the physical world.

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FAQs on Difference Between Physical Geography and Human Geography

  • The difference between Physical Geography and Human Geography is that while the former studies the various physical aspects of the earth - including its soil structure, plant life, water, etc., human geography introspects the study of religion and culture

  • Geography is divided into two major types that make it easier to understand. One is Physical geography, which looks at the Earth's natural processes, and the second is Human geography, which looks at the influence and behaviour of people towards the physical world.

  • The job scope of human geographers concerning the difference between Physical Geography and Human Geography comprises urban planning and establishing new business models, among other things.

  • Human geography is the study that includes the following topics: Knowledge and understanding of how human populations vary through time, including their size, migration, the standard of living, and quality of life. The impact of a disease's propagation on a population is one example of human geography

  • The three types of Human Geography are Urban geography, Development geography, Historical geography, and Cultural geography. Human geography introspects the analysis of theology and culture.

  • Physical geography focuses on the temporal changes and the spatial variations that occur, which are important to comprehend the modern Earth's surroundings. Physical geography focuses on processes that shape the character of the land surface and its envelope of the Earth.

  • The difference between Physical Geography and Human Geography based on location is that in the case of the former, the impetus is only on the "location", while in the latter case, the impetus is on both location and people.

  • An example of a physical geographic analysis is mapping the soil textures and patterns across areas. An example of human geographic analysis is studying trade development in the Indo-European area.

  • The job scope of physical geographers - concerning the difference between Physical Geography and Human Geography - comprises studying and researching the various natural phenomenon on the earth, including studying the earth's climate and the tectonic movements of the plates, etc.

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