A geographer is someone who is specialized in the study of geography, which includes the study of the earth, its properties and the distribution of life on the various parts of the planet. A geographer analyses the effects of geography and its impact on human lives across continents in the world. An expert who is proficient and well versed in the field of geographical research and delineations, a geographer studies topography, climate, soil, vegetation and earth surface structure among many other features. A geographer may be employed in various sectors like disaster management, city and country planning, community development, environment management, agricultural sector and construction industry among many others. Geographers are also involved in the research and study of human activity and their relationship with the natural environment around them. They employ and make use of a variety of techniques in order to assess and study about the various aspects of geography that affect and have a significant impact on the lives of human beings and animals. Geographers may be physical geographers or human geographers among many other types of geographers. Discover some of the most fascinating facts about world famous geographers by reading their detailed biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

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 1 Claudius Ptolemy

Claudius Ptolemy.
Famous As: Astronomer, Cartographer & Mathematician
Birthdate: 0090 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0168 AD
Claudius Ptolemy was a 2nd-century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and geographer, who had written a number of scientific treatises, such as The Great Treatise, Geography, and the Tetrábiblos. He lived in Alexandria under the Roman rule in Egypt. He had also authored Harmonics, a book on music theory.

 2 Eratosthenes

Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 0276 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Greece
Died: 0195 BC

Greek polymath Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a mathematician, poet, geographer, music theorist, and astronomer. He also served as the Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. He was also the first to calculate the Earth’s circumference and the tilt of the Earth's axis. Nicknamed Pentathlos, he also invented many scientific terms.

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 3 Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt.
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: September 14, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: May 6, 1859

As a child, Alexander von Humboldt was sickly and a bad student. After failing to shine in economics and engineering, he grew up to revolutionize the domain of geography. He is remembered for his research on magnetic storms and his treatise on nature, Kosmos. He also spoke about climate change.

 4 Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī

Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī.
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 0780 AD
Birthplace: Khwarezm
Died: 0850 AD

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a Persian polymath credited with producing influential works in the fields of geography, astronomy, and mathematics. He is referred to as the founder or father of algebra as he was the first person to recognize algebra as an independent discipline. He also made significant contributions to trigonometry; he produced precise sine and cosine tables.

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 5 Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace.
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

 6 Abraham Ortelius

Abraham Ortelius
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: April 14, 1527
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp
Died: June 28, 1598
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 7 Richard Francis Burton

Richard Francis Burton.
Famous As: Translator
Birthdate: March 19, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Torquay
Died: October 20, 1890
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 8 Strabo

Famous As: Geographer, Philosopher, Historian
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Amaseia, Pontus , (modern-day Amasya; Turkey)
Died: 0024 AD

Strabo was a Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work Geographica, an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge. Written in Greek during Strabo's time, Geographica holds great historical significance as it houses a descriptive history of places and people from different regions. Among his descriptions were places like the city of Alexandria and India.

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 9 Jabir Ibn Hayyan

Jabir Ibn Hayyan.
Famous As: Alchemist
Birthdate: 0721 AD
Birthplace: Tous, Iran
Died: 0815 AD

Eighth-century alchemist and physician Jabir Ibn Hayyan has been credited with too many written works. Experts believe his vast works may not have been written by a single person. The Jabirian corpus, a collection of his works, is known for its "method of the balance" and its focus on chemistry.

 10 Hipparchus

Hipparchus .
Famous As: Astronomer & Mathematician
Birthdate: 0190 BC
Birthplace: Nicaea, Kingdom of Bithynia
Died: 0120 BC
In his early years in Bithynia, Hipparchus spent most of his time compiling weather records. He devoted almost his entire life to astronomical research. Remembered as the man who founded trigonometry, he also discovered the precession of the equinoxes. However, most of his written work hasn’t survived.
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 11 Charles Lyell

Charles Lyell.
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: November 14, 1797
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Angus
Died: February 22, 1875

 12 David Harvey

David Harvey.
Famous As: Professor of Anthropology & Geography
Birthdate: October 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gillingham, Kent, England

 13 James Lovelock

James Lovelock
Famous As: Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer
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.

 14 George Everest

George Everest
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: July 4, 1790
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 1, 1866
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 15 Muhammad al-Idrisi

Muhammad al-Idrisi.
Famous As: Cartographer, Geographer, Traveler
Birthdate: 1100 AD
Birthplace: Ceuta, (present-day Spain)
Died: 1165 AD

Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi created over 70 maps. Born in Ceuta, he spent much of his early life traveling around regions of North Africa, Western Europe, and Asia Minor. Advisor to Sicilian king Roger II, he created the Tabula Rogeriana, one of the most detailed maps of the world.

 16 Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator .
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: March 5, 1512
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rupelmonde, County of Flanders (in modern-day Belgium)
Died: December 2, 1594

Son of a shoemaker, Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator was initially supposed to be a priest. His 1569 world map paved the path for the Mercator projection, which helped people ascertain the exact ratio of latitude and longitude of a particular place. He also coined the term “atlas.”

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 17 Pausanias

Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: 0110 AD
Birthplace: Anatolia
Died: 0180 AD

 18 Pytheas

Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: 0350 BC
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: 0285 BC

Pytheas was a Greek geographer, astronomer, and explorer. Best known for his legendary voyage to northwestern Europe, Pytheas was the first scientific visitor to witness and describe polar ice, the Arctic, and the Germanic and Celtic tribes. He is also the first explorer to see and describe the midnight sun.   

 19 Douglas Mawson

Douglas Mawson.
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
Birthdate: May 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shipley
Died: October 14, 1958

Douglas Mawson was an Australian Antarctic explorer, geologist, and academic. Counted among the most important leaders of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Mawson was honored with a knighthood in 1914. Best remembered for his contribution to Australian geology, Mawson was featured on the Australian one-hundred-dollar note from 1984 to 1996.

 20 Leo Africanus

Leo Africanus
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: 1494 AD
Birthplace: Granada, Spain
Died: 1554 AD

Spanish Islamic scholar Leo Africanus is best remembered for his Description of Africa, which served as a relevant treatise on the geography of Africa. Educated in Morocco, he had traveled through places such as Aswan and Timbuktu. He was later captured and converted to Christianity as Giovanni Leone.

 21 Piri Reis

Piri Reis.
Famous As: Ottoman Admiral, Geographer, Cartographer.
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Gelibolu, Turkey
Died: 1553 AD

Piri Reis was an Ottoman navigator, admiral, cartographer, and geographer. He is best remembered for his Book of Navigation, which contains maps and charts and information on navigational techniques. He gained international recognition in 1929 when a portion of his first world map was discovered at the Topkapı Palace in Turkey. Piri Reis finds mention in several popular video games.  

 22 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

 23 Peter Aufschnaiter

Peter Aufschnaiter
Famous As: Explorer, Cartographer, Geographer, Rock climber
Birthdate: November 2, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kitzbühel
Died: October 12, 1973

 24 Halford Mackinder

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

 25 Al-Masudi

Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0896 AD
Birthplace: Baghdad, Iraq
Died: August 31, 0956

 26 Hecataeus of Miletus

Hecataeus of Miletus
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0550 AD
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0476 AD

 27 Martin Waldseemüller

Martin Waldseemüller
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: 1470 AD
Birthplace: Freiburg
Died: March 16, 1520

 28 Gerald of Wales

Gerald of Wales
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: 1146 AD
Birthplace: Manorbier Castle, Wales
Died: 1223 AD

 29 Friedrich Ratzel

Friedrich Ratzel
Famous As: Biologist, Geopolitician, Geographer, Zoologist, Political scientist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 30, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: August 9, 1904

 30 Sven Hedin

Sven Hedin.
Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: February 19, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: November 26, 1952

Sven Hedin was a Swedish topographer, geographer, photographer, explorer, illustrator, and travel writer. He is best known for making four expeditions to Central Asia. He later shared his experience in a book titled From Pole to Pole. A respected explorer, Hedin was honored with several prestigious awards and medals during his lifetime.

 31 Carl Ritter

Carl Ritter.
Famous As: Co-founder of Modern Geography
Birthdate: August 7, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Quedlinburg, Germany
Died: September 28, 1859

Carl Ritter was a German geographer considered one of the founders of modern geography. He taught history at the University of Berlin and was one of the mentors of the explorer Heinrich Barth, who traveled in Northern and Western Africa. A prolific researcher and writer, Ritter produced a staggering amount of geographical literature in his lifetime. 

 32 Carl O. Sauer

Carl Ortwin Sauer .
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: December 24, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warrenton, Missouri, US
Died: July 18, 1975

 33 Inge Lehmann

Inge Lehmann.
Famous As: Seismologist, Geophysicist
Birthdate: May 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Østerbro, Denmark
Died: February 21, 1993

Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann is remembered for her groundbreaking discovery of the Earth’s solid inner core and molten outer core, using seismic waves. While she initially studied math, she later deviated to seismology, with a focus on ascertaining earthquake epicenters. The William Bowie Medal-winning scientist died at age 104.

 34 Wladimir Köppen

Wladimir Köppen
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: October 7, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: June 22, 1940

 35 Pomponius Mela

Pomponius Mela
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: 0015 AD
Birthplace: Algeciras

Roman author and geographer Pomponius Mela is best known for penning De situ orbis, later known as De chorographia, which is the earliest known geography treatise in Latin. His work described the Earth to be divided into five zones and four seas, the most important being the Mediterranean.

 36 Ibn Jubayr

Ibn Jubayr
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: September 1, 1145
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Valencia, Spain
Died: November 29, 1217

Ibn Jubayr was an Arab geographer, traveler, and poet from al-Andalus. In the years preceding the Third Crusade, he made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, which he wrote about in great detail in his chronicles. He was a member of an Arab family of the Kinanah tribe and also traveled to  Damascus, Mosul, Acre, and Baghdad. 

 37 Martin Behaim

Martin Behaim
Famous As: Geographer and navigator
Birthdate: October 6, 1459
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nürnberg, Germany
Died: July 29, 1507

 38 Adam Sedgwick

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

 39 Elisee Reclus

Élisée Reclus.
Famous As: Geographer, Anarchist, Writer
Birthdate: March 15, 1830
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, France
Died: July 4, 1905

Elisee Reclus was a renowned French geographer, writer, and anarchist best known for his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes ("Universal Geography"). He received the Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work in 1892. He opposed cruelty to animals and advocated nature conservation. He was also a proponent of naturism. 

 40 Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Schoolcraft
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

 41 William Morris Davis

William Morris Davis.
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist, Meteorologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

 42 Nikolay Przhevalsky

Nikolay Przhevalsky.
Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: April 12, 1839
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Smolensk, Russia
Died: November 1, 1888

Nikolay Przhevalsky was a Russian imperial geographer. A renowned explorer of Central and East Asia, he traveled through regions then unknown to the West. He is credited to have made a substantial contribution to European knowledge of Central Asian geography. However, despite his attempts, he could never reach his ultimate goal, the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet.

 43 Cosmas Indicopleustes

Cosmas Indicopleustes
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0550 AD

 44 Ernst Georg Ravenstein

Ernst Georg Ravenstein
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: December 30, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 13, 1913

 45 Hubert Wilkins

Hubert Wilkins
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: October 31, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mount Bryan, Australia
Died: November 30, 1958

 46 Paul Vidal de La Blache

Paul Vidal de La Blache
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: January 22, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pézenas, France
Died: April 5, 1918

 47 James Rennell

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

 48 Sebastian Münster

Sebastian Münster
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: January 20, 1488
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany
Died: May 26, 1552

 49 Charles Marie de La Condamine

Charles Marie de La Condamine
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 28, 1701
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 4, 1774

 50 Roland Bonaparte

Roland Bonaparte
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: May 19, 1858
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1924

Roland Bonaparte was the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, who was the brother of Emperor Napoleon I. A geographer and photographer, he was part of the research on the Sami community of Norway and the Australian Aborigines. He also headed the Société de Géographie and the Société Astronomique de France.

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