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Basic Concepts of Human Geography - Intro

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Chris Kapuscik

on 10 September 2018

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Transcript of Basic Concepts of Human Geography - Intro

- geographers are concerned about the arrangement of features on the earth’s surface.

3 main properties of distribution are:

- the frequency that something occurs in a given space.

- changes in distribution-how close together-dispersed or clustered.

- the arrangement of the distribution of features in a given space.

This functional regions on this map are based on the linkages between large banks of major central cities and the correspondent banks that they serve in smaller towns.

Isoline Maps - use lines of equal value to represent data like elevation, barometric pressure or temperature

Choropleth Maps - a thematic map in which a variable is depicted with shading patterns or colors.

Dot Map - a thematic map in which a dot represents some frequency of the mapped variable.

Cartogram - a thematic map using relative size of political units to convey a value.

Different Thematic Maps

- In the 1980s the National Geographic Society created the Five Themes of Geography

Location - absolute (latitude and longitude) and absolute location.

Place - the distinctive physical and human characteristics of a place.

Human Environmental Interaction - how people interact with their environment.

Movement - the mobility of people, goods and ideas-the patterns and change in human spatial interactions-accessibility & connectivity of places.

Regions - an area that displays a selected criteria-one or more distinctive characteristics.

The Founders of Geography

Absolute location
- the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of a place.

Relative location
- the location of a place in relation to other physical or human features.

Introduction to Human Geography

Factors that delay diffusion:

Time-distance decay-the farther way and the longer it takes to reach an area, the less likely it will be adopted.

Cultural barriers may pose obstacles to cultural diffusion-taboos or religious beliefs.

Cultural lag - when a social group is economically or psychologically unresponsive to change.

Hierarchical Diffusion

Contagious Diffusion

There are two main types of Diffusion:

Expansion Diffusion
The spread of an item or idea from one place to others. In the process it remains and often strengthens in the origin area.

Contagious diffusion-rapid widespread diffusion by direct contact. Affects all areas uniformly as it spreads outward. E.g. the spread of Islam.

Hierarchical diffusion-or cascade diffusion-the process of spreading ideas first between large cities and only later to smaller cities.

Stimulus diffusion-the spread of an underlying principle even though the main idea is not spread. E.g. industrialization

Relocation Diffusion
The innovation or idea is physically carried to new areas by migrating individuals or populations. E.g. Christianity brought to the New World by missionaries and colonists.

Types of Diffusion

Acculturation - immigrant populations take on enough of the values, attitudes and customs of the receiving society to function economically and socially.

Assimilation - the complete blending with the host culture and the loss of most if not all of a groups previous distinctive ethnic traits.

Syncretism - the process of fusing the immigrant culture with the native or adjacent culture. (Tex-Mex cuisine in the Southwest)

Cultural convergence - the sharing of technologies, cultural traits and artifacts among widely separated societies.

Cultural Hearth - centers of innovation and invention, the center or cradle of a culture.

The state of Iowa is a Formal Region.
The colored circles represent the percentage of households served by a TV station and are Functional Regions

Choropleth maps

The relation of a feature’s size on the map to actual size.

Small scale
maps show a large area on the earth such as 1/1,000,000.

Large scale
or large fraction maps show a small area on the surface such as 1/25,000 or 1/1000.


Environmental Determinism
- The environment limits peoples success.

Possibilism has replaced environmental determinism.

- The environment may limit some human actions, but people have the ability to adjust to their environment.

When climate limits the crop, people can grow crops that are compatible.

World Map of the 2nd century A.D. Scholar, Geographer (Claudius Ptolemaeus) Ptolemy

The spread of economic activities from one country to many other regions.

The establishment of integrated industrial and service sectors world-wide.

Primarily an economic factor, it has enormous social and political consequences.


Culture - is the man made part of the environment.

Cultural trait - is a single attribute of a culture such as chopsticks.

Cultural realm - is a large segment of the earth with uniformity in cultural characteristics such as “Latin America”


Formal - a uniform or homogenous area where all share a common attribute such as language, climate or political system.

Functional or Nodal - an area organized around a center, node or focal point that is organized to function politically, socially or economically.

Vernacular or Perceptual - how people think about or perceive a region-such as Midwest or the South

Types of Regions

Gerhardus Mercator

Smaller than reality
Curved earth is distorted when flattened
Symbols used are limited



Ironically as the world becomes more globalized it has become more diverse.

Many people search for ways to express their unique cultural traditions and identity as a reaction to globalization.

Local Diversity

Cultural diffusion or spatial diffusion is the spread of an idea or innovation from its source to other cultures.

Diffusion occurs through the movement of people, goods or ideas.

Carl Sauer focused on cultural diffusion in his book Agricultural Origins and Dispersals (1952)

Cultural Diffusion







Human Geography


Flora and Fauna

Climate (Koppen)


Physical Geography

The Two Types of Geography


Fields in Human Geography
Examples of Distribution
Absolute v Relative
Environmental Determinism v Possibilism
5 Themes of Geography
Key Culture Vocabulary
Diffusion of Cholera
- Eratosthenes

Calculated Earth’s circumference

Coined the term “geography"


A 2nd cent. A.D. Greek geographer-astronomer

Adopted a system of latitude and longitude based on 360 degrees

How did the maps change between Eratosthenes and Ortelius? Why?
194 BC
1571 AD
Human Geographers ask:
What are the interactions over space?
Human Geographers ask:

Where are people located?
“Cartography is the science of making maps.”
What is a map-scale?
SE Texas and Lousiana
0 10 200
|_____|_____| Miles
Houston Metro Area
0 2.5 5
|_____|_____| Miles
Capital Building
0 100 200
|_____|_____| Feet
What problems may occur when making a flat map out of the global sphere?

Distortion: Everything in small amounts.
It's primarily used to create visually appealing maps of the entire world.
Robinson Projection

Distortion: Size, Shape, and Direction
The standard map projection used for nautical purposes.
Mercator Projection

Distortion: Shape, Distance and Angle
Primarily used where accurate representation of land area takes precedence over shape (equal area map)
Molleweide Projection

Distortion: Shape and distance as one gets farther from the center.
Used when drawing Polar maps.
Azimuthal Equidistant Projection

Goode Homolosine Projection
Eastern and Western hemispheres are separated into two pieces (Oceans are interrupted)
0° Latitude is the equator.
Latitude is also called
90° north latitude is the North Pole.
90° south latitude is the South Pole.
Dictates climate/temperature


Time Zones

Longitude plays an important role in time as earth rotates daily
15 degrees = 1 time zone (24 time zones)
15 degrees = 1 hour (24 hours in a day/360 degrees)
International date line - Follows 180 degrees longitude, start of new day

drawn between the North and South Poles (Longitude)
0° Longitude runs through Greenwich, England and is known as the Prime Meridian
Dictates time zones


Expands or shrinks the area of locations to demonstrate different types of data.


Contemporary Geography Tools
Identify the feature above.

Identify this feature above.

Identify this above feature.

“GIS or a Geographic Information System is a computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and displays geographic data.” Information combined in different layers

What is GIS?

What is GPS?

“GPS or a Global Positioning System determines the precise position of something on Earth through satellites, tracking stations, and receivers.”

What is remote sensing?

“Remote sensing is the acquisition of data about the Earth’s surface from a satellite orbiting the planet or from other long distance methods.”
Where is North Dakota located in the United States
Using coordinates to find an exact place
El Paso is located on the border next to Juarez, Mexico
El Paso is located near the Franklin Mountains
Relative location : ____________ ::
absolute location : ____________

A directional terms…longitude and latitude

B longitude and latitude…directional terms

C geography…cartography

D GPS…grid system
282,419 (2012)
How would this improve their situation
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