As spatial interrelationships are key to this synoptic science, maps are a key tool. Classical cartography has been joined by a more modern approach to geographical analysis, computer-based geographic information systems (GIS).
In their study, geographers use four interrelated approaches:
- Systematic — Groups geographical knowledge into categories that can be explored globally.
- Regional — Examines systematic relationships between categories for a specific region or location on the planet.
- Descriptive — Simply specifies the locations of features and populations.
- Analytical — Asks why we find features and populations in a specific geographic area.