Why is it important to learn about physical geography?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are lots of reasons.  First, physical geography gives one a sense of place.  Mountains, oceans, and rivers play a key role in determining your weather.  It is possible for two places to be the same distance from the equator and have entirely different weather systems.  Also, physical geography plays a role in determining cultures and history.  Most of the world's major cities got to be economic hubs because of their proximity to rivers and ocean ports.  Physical geography also determines land availability and often land prices--land is more desirable in dry, fertile places that receive adequate rainfall.  Finally, physical geography is important in GPS devices which control communication, Homeland Security, entertainment, and navigation devices.  Nearly all connected electronic devices make some use of physical geography.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is important to know about physical geography so you can recognize a place.  If you think about the United States, each state has its own identifying characteristics, i.e., something that makes it unique.   

We know that California is known for its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and its propensity for earthquakes.  Someone considering moving to the area near the San Andreas Fault might want to take that into consideration before buying a house there.  The Rocky Mountain region is vastly different from Florida, which is mostly swamp and wetlands.  It is important for us to know about the landscape of an area, and whether it is predominantly desert, forest, wetlands, etc.  If you are going to travel to a different place, its location is often a good indicator of its climate; therefore, you might know how to dress appropriately.    

Physical geography is also used in Global Positioning Systems or GPS Navigation Systems.  We use physical geography in our daily lives in locating buildings and just getting from place to place. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial