The differences between “spatial” and “geography” are interesting to me, and not trivial, usually. I’ve definitely noticed the expansion of the use of the word “spatial” overall. When it was part of my dissertation title in 1996, I know it wasn’t nearly as wide-spread as it is now. Here’s a graph that the Spatial Information Management blog created for spatial vs. geographic terms in books, an Ngram. Interesting, for sure. I recreated it for American English (1800-2008) and British English (1800-2008). Not sure why just “English” has a downturn starting at the year 2000.
Capitalizing the words makes a big difference (here’s British English for Spatial and Geography), so does that mean that titles are involved? I also like the spikes for the early 20th century American English, when academic Geography in the US was at its peak too.
One project (for my next pocket of spare time, hah) is to scan the titles and abstracts of journal articles from many disciplines over the last 150+ years and see when this “spatial turn” really began, in an academic sense.