Andrew John Herbertson, British geographer, studied in the University of Edinburgh from 1886 to1889, but did not gain a degree. He then entered the University of Oxford and graduated as Master of Arts (MA). In 1898 he graduated as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. His dissertation for the doctoral degree was titled The monthly rainfall over the land surface of the globe. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1892. That same year he moved to Fort William, Scotland, to work on the meteorological observatory on Ben Nevis. In 1894 he became a lecturer in political and commercial geography in the University of Manchester.
In 1896 Herbertson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and from 1896 to 1899 he lectured in industrial and commercial geography at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh. Between 1895 and 1900 he published a number of papers dealing with meteorology in Scotland, the teaching of geography there, and his hygrometric researches. His many books included Atlas of meteorology (1899, as second author with J.G. Bartholomew), Man and his work (1899 and many later editions, with F.D. Herbertson), works on the commercial geography of Britain (1899) and the rest of the world (1903), Outline of physiography (1901), The distribution of rainfall over the land (1901), Natural regions of the world (1905), and The Oxford Survey of the British Empire (1914, with O.J.R. Howarth). In 1892 he became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and was president of its Geography Section in 1910. In 1908 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. He was appointed at the University of Oxford as assistant in geography in 1899, as reader in geography in 1905, and as professor of geography in 1910, but died five years later at the young age of 49.
Herbertson's first contribution to southern African science took the form of a paper, "Geological reports from South Africa", in the Geographical Journal (1902, Vol. 20, pp. 630-636), in which he reviewed reports from the Cape Colony, Natal and the Transvaal. In 1905 he visited South Africa to attend the joint meetings of the British and South African Associations for the Advancement of Science and on 1 September he and P.C. Waite presented "A new rainfall map of Africa" to the meeting, explaining how they revised an earlier map and discussing the general laws of rainfall distribution in Africa. Herbertson also described "The visit of the British Association to South Africa" in the Geographical Journal (1905, Vol. 26, pp. 632-641).