Famous British Geographers

What comes to your mind when you think of a geographer? A map-maker, isn’t it? Well, traditionally, people conceived them as that but today given the kind of exposure that geography as the subject of study has gone through, work of the geographers involve an extensive and expansive study. They are basically scholars who are involved with the study of the Earth’s natural environment and human society and the relationship between the two. The study of geography is subdivided into three fields including physical geography, human geography and regional geography. While a physical geographer is more involved with the study of topography, climate, soil, vegetation and earth surface structure, human geographer studies about the various aspects of geography that affect and have a significant impact on the lives of human beings and animals. Regional geographers are more concerned with the study of atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. Britain has been home of several renowned geographers. Their explorations have discovered unknown lands and their studies have helped guide generations of explorers and travellers. And while talking about British geographers the first name that strikes the mind is that of James Cook, a navigator who discovered and charted New Zealand and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Others include David Harvey, Nicholas Crane, Ron Johnston, Peter Dicken and so on. Explore this section to find out more about famous British geographers and their life.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Geographers

 1 
David Harvey
(Professor of Anthropology & Geography)

David Harvey
5
Birthdate: October 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gillingham, Kent, England

David Harvey is a  Marxist economic geographer, podcaster, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is currently a distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has authored many books and essays and is one of the most cited authors of books in the humanities and social sciences.   

 2 

Richard Francis Burton
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Torquay
Died: October 20, 1890

Richard Francis Burton was a British explorer, soldier, and scholar. He is best remembered for his explorations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Along with John Hanning Speke, Burton was the first European to witness the Great Lakes of Africa. A prolific writer, Burton wrote several scholarly articles about numerous subjects like sexual practices, falconry, human behavior, travel, and ethnography.

 3 
Alfred Russel Wallace
(Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist)

Alfred Russel Wallace
11
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is largely remembered for his theory of evolution through natural selection, which inspired Charles Darwin’s studies. He began his career as a surveyor’s apprentice and later introduced concepts such as reinforcement in animals, also known as the Wallace effect. He was awarded the Order of Merit.

Recommended Lists:

 4 
George Everest
(Geographer)

George Everest
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1790
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 1, 1866

George Everest was a British geographer and surveyor. From 1830 to 1843, he served as Surveyor General of India. His work and contributions were honored by naming Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, after him.

 5 
James Lovelock
(Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer)

James Lovelock
5
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 6 

Charles Lyell
6
Birthdate: November 14, 1797
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Angus
Died: February 22, 1875

Charles Lyell was a Scottish geologist best remembered for his work Principles of Geology, which explains the origin of the earth. He is also remembered for his pioneering explanation of climate change. A close friend of Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell is also credited with influencing many of Darwin's works pertaining to the theories of evolution.  

 7 
Halford Mackinder
(Geographer)

Halford Mackinder
3
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gainsborough, England
Died: March 6, 1947

Halford Mackinder was an English geographer, politician, and academic. He is considered one of the founding fathers of geostrategy as well as geopolitics. Mackinder’s work helped establish geography as a separate discipline in the UK. An influential academic, Halford Mackinder held important positions in popular universities, including the University Extension College and the London School of Economics.

You May Like

 8 
Doreen Massey
(Scientist)

Doreen Massey
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 11, 2016

Doreen Massey was a British geographer and social scientist. A multi-talented personality, Massey specialized in feminist geography, Marxist geography, and cultural geography among several other topics. For many years, she served at the UK's Open University as a professor of Geography. Over the course of her career, Doreen Massey was honored with many prestigious awards like the Presidential Achievement Award.

 9 
James Rennell
(Geographer)

James Rennell
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chudleigh, England
Died: March 29, 1830

James Rennell was an English historian and geographer. A pioneer of oceanography, Rennell is often referred to as the Father of Oceanography. Rennell, who served as a Surveyor General of Bengal, India, is credited with producing some of the earliest accurate maps of Bengal. James Rennell is also credited with co-founding the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1830.

 10 
Adam Sedgwick
(Geologist)

Adam Sedgwick
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1785
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dent
Died: January 27, 1873

Adam Sedgwick was a British Anglican priest and geologist. He is credited with guiding and mentoring Charles Darwin during his early years. However, Sedgwick went on to oppose Darwin's theory of evolution. The world's oldest student-run geological society, The Sedgwick Club, was established in his honor in 1880.

 11 
William Hopkins
(Mathematician, Geologist)

William Hopkins
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1793
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston on Soar
Died: October 13, 1866

William Hopkins was an English geologist and mathematician. He is remembered for serving as a private tutor of prospective undergraduate Cambridge mathematicians, which earned him the nickname senior-wrangler maker. Hopkins also played first-class cricket and was associated with Cambridge University Cricket Club. He had an unfortunate end to his life as he spent his final years in a lunatic asylum.

 12 
Roger Tomlinson
(Father of GIS)

Roger Tomlinson
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Died: February 9, 2014

Roger Tomlinson was an English geographer best remembered as the primary originator of geographic information systems (GIS). He also coined the phrase geographic information system and is widely regarded as the father of GIS. Throughout his illustrious career, Roger Tomlinson was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Robert T. Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award.

 13 
William Roy
(Cartographer, Engineer, Geographer)

William Roy
2
Birthdate: May 4, 1726
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carluke
Died: July 1, 1790

William Roy was a Scottish surveyor, military engineer, and antiquarian. An innovator, Roy was successful in applying newly emerging technologies and new scientific discoveries to the geodetic mapping of Great Britain, which is often called Roy's Map of Scotland. William Roy also played a major role in the establishment of the Ordnance Survey, Great Britain's national mapping agency.

 14 
Michael Watts
(Geographer)

Michael Watts
0
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: England

Michael Watts is a British geographer and academic. He served as a professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, before his retirement in 2016. A brilliant theorist, Watts' book Silent Violence is widely regarded as a pioneering work in political ecology. Over the years, Michael Watts has been honored with several prestigious awards like the Victoria Medal.

 15 
Derek Gregory
(Geographer)

Derek Gregory
0
Birthdate: March 1, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Beckenham, England

Derek Gregory is a British geographer and academic. Gregory, who previously held important positions at the University of Cambridge, is currently serving at the University of British Columbia as a professor of Geography. A world-renowned geographer, Gregory is renowned for his book The Colonial Present, which talks about the actions of Western governments in the Middle East post 9/11 attacks.

 16 
Allen J. Scott
(Geographer)

Allen J. Scott
0
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Allen J. Scott was a British geographer best remembered for serving as a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Over the course of his illustrious career, Allen John Scott was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Vautrin Lud Prize, Carol and Bruce Mallen Lifetime Achievement Award, and Sir Peter Hall Prize.

 17 
Aaron Arrowsmith
(Cartographer)

Aaron Arrowsmith
1
Birthdate: July 14, 1750
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Winston, England
Died: April 23, 1823

Aaron Arrowsmith was an English cartographer, publisher, and engraver. Aaron, who belonged to the famous Arrowsmith family of geographers, is best remembered for producing the maps of Scotland and North America, which are counted among his most celebrated productions.

 18 

Charles Tilstone Beke
0
Birthdate: October 10, 1800
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stepney, England
Died: July 31, 1874

Charles Tilstone Beke was an English geographer, traveler, and Biblical critic. He is best remembered for his book Origines Biblicae or Researches in Primeval History, which attempts to recreate mankind's early history with the help of geological data. Although the book did not impress religious leaders and supporters of the Book of Genesis, Beke's work was appreciated by many scholars.