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 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.

 2 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.
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 3 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.

 4 Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī

Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī.
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: September 5, 0973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kath, Uzbekistan
Died: December 13, 1048

Apart from being a pioneer of Indology and geodesy, Persian scholar Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī also worked on subjects such as anthropology, math, and ethnography. It is believed he didn’t know his father. He had penned many works, such as the encyclopaedic volume The Chronology of Ancient Nations.

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 5 Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin.
Famous As: Philosopher & Activist
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

 6 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.

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 7 David Harvey

David Harvey.
Famous As: Professor of Anthropology & Geography
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.   

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 8 Abraham Ortelius

Abraham Ortelius
Famous As: Cartographer
Birthdate: April 14, 1527
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp
Died: June 28, 1598
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 9 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.

 10 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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 11 Richard Francis Burton

Richard Francis Burton.
Famous As: Translator
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.

 12 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.

 13 Halford Mackinder

Halford Mackinder
Famous As: Geographer
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.

 14 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. 

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 15 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.

 16 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

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.

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 17 Charles Lyell

Charles Lyell.
Famous As: Lawyer
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.  

 18 Carl O. Sauer

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

 19 George Everest

George Everest
Famous As: Geographer
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.

 20 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.

 21 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

 22 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.   

 23 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.”

 24 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.

 25 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.  

 26 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.

 27 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

 28 Pausanias

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

 29 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

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

 30 Peter Aufschnaiter

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

 31 Ellen Churchill Semple

Ellen Churchill Semple
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: January 8, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: May 8, 1932

 32 Al-Masudi

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

 33 Hecataeus of Miletus

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

 34 Gerald of Wales

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

 35 Martin Waldseemüller

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

 36 Posidonius

Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: 0135 BC
Birthplace: Apamea, Syria
Died: 0051 BC

 37 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

 38 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.

 39 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.

 40 Wladimir Köppen

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

 41 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. 

 42 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.

 43 Martin Behaim

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

 44 Elisee Reclus

Elisee 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. 

 45 Adam Sedgwick

Adam Sedgwick
Famous As: Geologist
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.

 46 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.

 47 Henry Schoolcraft

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

 48 Cosmas Indicopleustes

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

 49 James Rennell

James Rennell
Famous As: Geographer
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.

 50 Hubert Wilkins

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

Australian-born British explorer and ornithologist Hubert Wilkins is best remembered for pioneering the use of the submarine for polar exploration. While he initially studied photography and engineering, he later embarked on the world’s first transpolar airplane flight across the Arctic and the first over parts of Antarctica.

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