He was a nephew of Heinrich Berghaus. During most of his life, he was cartographer in the Geographical Institute of Justus Perthes at Gotha. His best known work is a chart of the world (1863) which went through at least 11 editions. He also prepared a Physikalische Wandkarte von Afrika (Physical wall map of Africa, 1881). Besides this, he supervised the revision of his famous uncle's Physikalischer Atlas (1886), which project was participated in by many noted specialists.