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Geographic Concepts. Unit One Ms. Taylor’s Human Geography. Geographic terms. Scale. The relationship between a portion of the earth you are looking at and the Earth as a whole.

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geographic concepts

Geographic Concepts

Unit One

Ms. Taylor’s Human Geography

  • The relationship between a portion of the earth you are looking at and the Earth as a whole.
  • The smaller the scale, the larger the area covered (eg. Globe = small scale representation of the earth. Map of CSS campus = larger scale)
  • A specific point on Earth identified by a unique location (described by its place name, site, situation, or mathematical location)
situation relative location
Situation (relative location)
  • “We’re the house situated next to the one with all the funky statues, near the entrance to Cheyenne Canyon.” (Helps find an unfamiliar place)
  • Chipotle’s situation so close to Cheyenne Mountain HS and CSS guarantees a brisk lunchtime visit. (Helps illustrate importance)
mathematical location
Mathematical Location
  • Latitude
  • Longitude
  • Township and range coordinates (Land Ordinance of 1785)
what is the location of css
What is the location of CSS?
  • Using toponyms
  • Situationally speaking
  • Describe the site
  • Mathematical location

  • Area distinguished by distinctive physical and/or cultural characteristics.
  • Examples: The American South; the Rocky Mountain West; Southern California; the Northwest; the Midwest; Africa; the Middle East
formal region
Formal Region
  • Also called uniform or homogenous region
  • An area in which everyone shares one or more distinctive characteristic. (e.g. states, countries)
  • Or in which one characteristic dominates all others (Red: Republican vs. Blue (Democrat) states, wheat belt or “breadbasket”
functional region
Functional Region
  • Also “nodal” regions
  • Organized around a “node” or focal point—center of service, circulation, or “hub”
  • Eg. Newspaper circulation
vernacular region
Vernacular Region
  • Also called “perceptual region”
  • A place people believe exists as part of their cultural identity
  • Name often evokes clear pictures or stereotypes: “Dixie” or “the South,” “The North Country”
  • Not formal geographic region
  • Physical gap or between two objects
  • How much space is there between you and your neighbor?
  • How are the buildings on the CSS campus distributed across space?
  • Population across a given space gives you density
map scale
Map Scale
  • The relationship between a distance on a map, chart, or photograph, and the corresponding distance on the Earth.
  • How do we know how far distances are from A to B on any given map?
  • Why does a map of Colorado take up the same amount of paper as a map of Rhode Island?
map scale written
Map Scale: Written
  • “One inch equals a mile”
  • “One centimeter equals 1000 kilometers”
c onnections
  • “relationships among people and things across space”
  • Examples: language ties, commercial connections, travel, common religions, the Internet
global positioning system gps
Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Uses satellites to reference location on the ground place in orbit by U.S. military
  • Navigation tool (planes, motorists, geocachers)
  • Tracking device (parents of errant adolescents)
geographic information system gis
Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Computer can store, manipulate, layer geographic information
  • “Mashups” layers of various data sets
  • Highly pragmatic, flexible
  • Real Estate Applications: Zillow,-104.612716,38.681548,-105.085128_rect/10_zm/

  • What kind of a mash-up would you like to create and for what purpose?
remote sensing
Remote Sensing
  • Using satellites that transmit digital data to s receiving station on earth in pixels (based on radiation emitted from tiny area on Earth).
  • For true geeks, check out this NASA tutorial! (

Hi. I’m Mundo.

Did you know that how we “see” the world depends on how we project the world?



U S A.

South America


The Earth is a sphere. Therefore, it cannot be projected on a flat map without distortion. The question is,

which kind of distortion?


Map Projections--Distortions inevitable: have to decide what aspects are most important to preserve: distance, shape, direction, area, and proximity--Match the projection with task at hand


Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594)Frontispiece to Mercator's Atlas siveCosmographicae, 1585-1595. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Rare Book Division, Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection.


On a Mercator projection, invented by Gerardus Mercator in 1569, any straight line is a line of constant compass bearing. This enables a navigator to plot a straight-line course.


Despite the values of the

Mercator Projection, it

distorts the size and shape

of land areas.

Fact: South America is

8 times as large as


Fact: Africa is 14 times

as large as Greenland.

The Peters Projection is an

“equal area” map. It

represents areas accurately,

but it seriously distorts shapes.

Compare the size of Europe to Africa on the two maps.

Compare the size of the former USSR to China on the two maps.

what is culture

What is culture?

(a partial list)

Religion | Language | Architecture | Cuisine | Technology | Music Dance | Sports | Medicine | Dress | Gender roles | Law Education | Government | Agriculture | Economy | Sport | GroomingValues | Work ethic | Etiquette | Courtship | Recreation | Gestures

culture is what people care about enough to take care of and preserve
“Culture is what people care about enough to take care ofand preserve.”

What else would you include in your definition of culture?

cultural ecology
Cultural Ecology
  • The geographic study of human-environment relationships
  • Environmental determinism vs. “possibilism”
  • What elements of Colorado or US or your home country appear to be environmentally determined?
climate regions
Climate Regions
  • Tropical
  • Dry
  • Warm mid-latitude
  • Cold mid-latitude
  • Polar
  • Forest
  • Savannah
  • Grassland
  • Desert (not to be confused with dessert!)
what is globalization
What is Globalization?

Some images to consider…

what is being globalized
What is being globalized?
  • Economy?
  • Trade?
  • Fashion?
  • Language?
  • Values?
  • Food?
  • Music?
  • Environmental degradation?


  • Density
    • How many _____s per square mile?
  • Concentration
    • Are things distributed in a manner that is dispersed, or clustered?
  • Pattern
    • What is the geometric arrangement of objects in space? Regular (like a grid)?
    • Irregular (random, lack or regular pattern)?
legend us population density
Legend: US Population Density
  • Legend, light to dark (white to dark blue):
  • 0-1 (white)
  • 1-4 (yellow)
  • 5-9 (yellow-green)
  • 10-24 (green)
  • 25-49 (teal)
  • 50-99 (dark teal)
  • 100-249 (blue)
  • 250-66,995 (dark blue)
  • Source:
  • Space-time compression: the decrease in time it takes for something to get from Point A to Point B (consider the mail via Pony Express vs. the mail by airplane; travel to Europe by ship vs. travel by jet)
  • How does space time compression relate to globalization?
connections cont d
Connections (cont’d)
  • Distance decay: the decrease in contact (and eventual cessation) between two locales as distance between them increases.
  • How much contact do residents in the following cities have? What is the nature of that contact, and how do you explain it using the idea of distance decay?
    • Colorado Springs/Denver
    • Denver/Boulder
    • Colorado Springs/Boulder
  • Relocationvs. Expansion
  • hearth=point of origin from which things (people, ideas, material objects, trends) spread
  • Can you identify the hearth of the following diffusions?