Zhang Xiangwen was a pioneer geographer in modern China. In the turbulent period of the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China, he combined his academic pursuit with patriotism, and sought to serve the nation through geoscience discipline in the midst of his changing identities. His primary social identity as a geographer was intertwined with multiple identities such as revolutionist, historian, educator, and industrialist. Zhang Xiangwen's academic contributions include leading the establishment of the China Geoscience Society, which was the predecessor of the Geographical Society of China; the founding of the Journal of Geosciences, which was the first Chinese academic journal of geography; the proposal of the Qinling-Huaihe north-south geographical boundary; the creation and compilation of geography textbooks; and the active engagements in flood control research and field research. This article attempted to tease out Zhang Xiangwen's main activities, academic thoughts, and their practical implications by extensive data comparison. It is argued that open mindedness and professionalism, outstanding organizational leadership, and active participation in solving practical and societal issues led to Zhang Xiangwen's pioneering work, which still has significance for the development of geographers and academic community nowadays.