Geographer  What They Do

Just the Facts

Geographers Career Video

Studies the nature and use of areas of the Earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conducts research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conducts research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Writes and presents reports of research findings.
  • Creates and modifies maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation, topography, and map scales.
  • Gathers and compiles geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Analyzes geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Develops, operates, and maintains geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • Provides consulting services in fields such as resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.
  • Teaches geography.
  • Provides geographical information systems support to the private and public sectors.
  • Studies the economic, political, and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.
  • Locates and obtains existing geographic information databases.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Earth Observations Chief Scientist (NASA) --
  • Environmental Affairs Corporate Director --
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst (GIS Analyst) -- Works with large databases containing spatial information, such as satellite images and aerial photographs, using this information to make maps or develop specialized software or analyze data for scientific, commercial or planning purposes.
  • Geographic Information Systems Program Director (GIS Program Director) --
  • GIS Geographer (Geographic Information Systems Geographer) --
  • GIS Physical Scientist (Geographic Information Systems Physical Scientist) --
  • Research Coordinator --
  • Scientist --
  • Supervisory Geographer --