Offhand does anybody know anything about applying for federal jobs? When they give a salary range does that mean you will definitely get the lowest pay in the range to start?
It depends on a few factors. But looking at that listing, yes, if you got the job, you're pretty well guaranteed to be at the bottom of the pay range, though those numbers probably don't include the 'locality pay'. Locality pay is a pay adjustment added to the base pay, based on an index of how white collar salaries in your area compare with other parts of the country. Not really a cost of living adjustment, but something similar.
I can tell you'd be at the bottom for this one because under "series and grade" they indicate it's a GS-13 position and they don't list a progression (e.g., GS-7/9/11/13). When they list a progression, you're more likely to be able to use your degrees or experience to get something above the minimum starting grade. For instance, if the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree, and it's a 7-13 progression, you're likely to be able to pick up a 9 or an 11 with a master's and no experience. Sometimes it will say explicitly that an MA qualifies you for a 9, a PhD gets you an 11, 2 years experience gets you a 9, 5 years gets you an 11, and so on. Keep in mind that even if the listing says that, they're under no obligation to honor it. If you have a PhD and they want to offer you a GS-7 job, then they're free to do that. Depending on the market for your degree, they may do so.
A 13 is a pretty hefty grade for a first job in the field. I'm not a geographer, but I started as a 7 with an MA from a top-10 school, bulletproof GPAs, and multiple offices bidding to hire me. Took me six years to get a 13, iirc.
If you don't want to deploy to a war zone, then do not apply for any job of any kind with Defense, State, or Justice, or anywhere in the intelligence community. There's little room there for folks unwilling to deploy during time of war.