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Geomorphography is the descriptive branch of geomorphology . In a narrower sense, geomorphography is the description of land forms and their form elements using qualitative methods. Usually, the definition also includes geomorphometry (description of land / earth forms using quantitative methods) so that geomorphography in the broader sense can be defined as a description of the earth forms using qualitative and quantitative methods .

Geomorphography is essential for the relief analysis as well as the mapping of the terrain .

Earth shapes and form elements

The characteristics of the relief of the earth's surface are called land forms or earth forms. To describe them, these forms have to be broken down into their smallest units. Each of these form elements is characterized by a uniform curvature . The description of the landforms is ultimately obtained by describing the various properties of all form elements of a terrain section. The properties that characterize form elements are:

  • shape
  • size
  • Positional relationship (position and height)
  • Material (rock).

The descriptive parameters of the shape are its curvature (arching), the inclination and exposure (slope direction) as well as the geometry of the form element. The size includes the assignment to macro scale (morphological regions ), meso scale ( land forms , relief forms ) or microscale (surface structures)


The description of the shapes and form elements in the geomorphological classification of terrain forms is used in connection with the morphogenesis of the terrain formations through the shaping geological cover layers . In addition to explaining the appearance, this also includes recording and forecasting changes in the relief ( geomorphodynamics ).

The geomorphographic data are gaining more and more importance in the geographic information systems (GIS), where they are used together with digital elevation models to create digital terrain models (DTM). In addition to the pure altitude , the latter also make statements about structural relationships in the terrain.


  • H. Kugler: The geomorphological relief analysis as the basis for large-scale geomorphological mapping. Scientific publications of the German Institute for Regional Geography, New Series 21/22, Leipzig 1964, pp. 541–655.
  • H. Richter: A new method of large-scale mapping of the relief. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, 106th year, 4/1962, Gotha 1962, pp. 309–312.