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Geography M.A. student here, applying to geography PhDs currently. Most of the comments you’re getting are talking about computational geography and spatial analytics. This is not super surprising because the majority of jobs that draw directly from geographic knowledge are in these fields. That said, you asked if there was research to be done in the field, and I just wanted to state that there is a huge amount of research to be done outside of GIS and spatial modeling.
More often than not, at least within academia, GIS is used as a tool for research, and not as the end-goal in and of itself. Personally, my research focuses on the relationship between neighborhood social factors and health outcomes, and looks at hospitals as economic institutions. I have friends and peers that do research around human migration and raciality, microeconomic changes in industry due to 3D printing, and public policy impacts on socio-spatial justice (environmental justice, exposure to health risks, etc.).
So yes, there is a huge job market for GIS technicians or people interested in working in the energy industry, there is a huge breadth of research being done outside of that area. Geography is an incredibly nebulous field because geographers are interested primarily in spatial relationships, and everything has to happen somewhere.