The Institute realises its fundamental interest within its sphere of work through basic, applied and developmental scientific research in the following areas: physical geography; geography of population and settlements; social geography; regional geography and cartography. On the basis of its scientific programme activities, the Institute is organised so that it consists of departments, whereas the Institute departments consist of divisions.
The Department of Physical Geography deals with the formation of the fundamental and applied knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes necessary for planning, organizing and implementing scientific researh in the broad field of geographic disciplines (geological surveys, soil investigations, geomorphology, climatology and meteorology, hydrology, biogeography and enviromental proteciton, etc). In the field of physical geography researh at the Institute the greatest scientific contribution is achieved, a remarkable number of monograph editions is published, as well as a large number of internationally recognized studies and academic articles.
Department of Social Geography examines the broad range of demographic and anthropological research, through a multidisciplinary approach in order to study population issues (settlement geography, demography, migration, population structures and projections, population statistics, historical demography, anthropology, geopolitics, population policies, cultural studies, tourism, etc). The members of the Institute that are part of this department are directed towards the aquisition and dissemination of knowledge based on theoretical issues on population development, regional differentiation of demographic processes in Serbia, Balkans, Europe and the world, as well as other population concerned studies.
Department of Regional Geography deals with the regional survey (regional geography, geopolitics, ecnomic geography), primarly in Serbia and the Balkans, but also beyond. For the main object of studies complex natural and socio/economic activities in certain area is taken into consideration, as well as their relationships. The aim of studying regional aspects and determining the geographical distribution of some natural, social or economic phenomena. Scientific attemts to perform geogrphical regionalization and scientific issues related to regions and regional development are analyzed, presenting some characteristics of different countries and regions in Serbia, Europe and the world.
Department of Spatial Planning conducts research in the field of contemporary theory and practice of spatial and urban planning in Serbia. Associates of the Institute are directly engaged in work on a number of scientific research projects in this field, participated in the preparation of planning documents of strategic importance. Moreover they are active members of professional associations in the country and abroad. In the framework of this department several monograph editions of national importance, as well as a number of scientific papers in the field of spatial planning is published.
Department of Carthography exsists within Geographical Institute since its begginings, since 1950. The main objective of this department is to collect spatial data with a goal to produce, prepare and publish a summary of maps and atlases. In this department several carographers and cartographic draftsmen were involved. Members of this department published a multitude of catographic sketches and contributions of their work and maps. Till today 11 agricultural maps, one geomorphological, one demographic and one ethnic map of Serbia have been published as Special Editions of the Institute.
Apart from its basic organisational units, the Institute has its administrative organs and professional services.