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Thinking Geographically

Thinking Geographically

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Thinking Geographically

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  1. Thinking Geographically Part 2: Why is each point on Earth unique?

  2. Why is each point on Earth unique • 2 Concepts • Place – unique location of a feature • Region – areas of unique characteristics • Difference between the two is a matter of scale • Place – point • Region – area containing several points


  4. Place: Unique Location of a Feature • Location- the position that an object occupies on Earth • 4 ways to identify location: • Place name • Site • Situation • Mathematical location

  5. Place Names • Toponym – name given to a place on Earth • Places may be named for: • Person, religion, ancient history, origin of settlers, experience, environmental . . . • Names may be changed • War, political upheaval, honorarium • Losantiville – Cincinnati • Hot Spring, NM – Truth or Consequences • Leningrad – St. Petersburg

  6. Place Names – Just for Fun • Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantsysiliogogoch • Welsh community name • Means “the Church of Saint Mary’s is in the grove of the white hazelnut tree near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tisilio near the red cave” • Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg • Lake in Massachusetts

  7. Site • Physical characteristics of a place • Climate • Water sources • Soil • Vegetation • Latitude • Elevation • The combination of physical features gives each place a distinctive character

  8. Site • Essential in selecting locations for settlements • Attributes of a good site depend on the values of the society in question • Hillside for protection • Near water source for ease of communication and transportation • EX: Singapore – island country @ 1 kilometer from the Malay Peninsula

  9. Site • Humans have the ability and do modify site characteristics • Ex. New York City – 2x as large today as it was in 1626 • Peter Minuit purchased land in 1626 from natives (@ $24) • Additional land was created by filling in portions of the east river and the Hudson River • 1797 – poor health conditions caused the city to cover all landfills with dirt and gravel, lay out a new street as a barrier to prevent further dumping (South Street) • Battery Park City– partially created from landfill excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1960’s • Hudson River – placed a series of steel cofferdams in the river, water was pumped out, and cofferdams were filled with sand and finally dirt from the WTC site

  10. Situation • Location of a place relative to other places • Valuable way to establish location b/c it helps us find unfamiliar places and understand their importance • Helps us find an unfamiliar place by comparing its location with a familiar one • Ex: Giving directions (turn right at the Wendy’s) – directing people by referencing buildings and local landmarks

  11. Situation • Helps us understand the importance of a location • Many locations are important because they are accessible to other places • EX: Singapore has become a center for trade and distribution of goods to much of Southeast Asia – near the Strait of Malacca – a major passageway for ships traveling between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean - @50,000 vessels – 1/4th o f the world’s maritime trade pass through this strait each year

  12. Situation - Singapore

  13. Mathematical Location • Location of any place on earth can be described precisely by meridians and parallels • Sets of imaginary arcs drawn in a grid pattern on the earth’s surface • Meridians – arc drawn between the North and South poles – also called longitude • Parallels – circles drawn around the globe parallel to the equator and at right angles to the meridian – also called latitude

  14. Longitude • Location of each meridian is indentified on earth’s surface according to a numbering system known as longitude • Meridian that passes through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England, is 0⁰ longitude is called the prime meridian • Meridian at the opposite side of the globe from the prime meridian is 180⁰ longitude • Other meridians have numbers between 0⁰ and 180⁰ east or west depending if they are either east or west of the prime meridian

  15. Longitude • Plays an important role in calculating time • Earth makes a complete rotation every 24 hours and is divided into 360⁰ of longitude • Traveling 15⁰ east or west is the equivalent of traveling to a place that is 1 hour earlier or later than the starting point • 360⁰ divided by 24 hours = 15⁰

  16. Latitude • Numbering system to indicate the location of a parallel • The Equator is 0⁰ latitude, the North Pole is 90⁰ north latitude, and the South Pole is 90⁰ south latitude

  17. Mathematical Location • Can be designated more precisely by dividing each degree into 6o minutes (“) and each minute into 60 seconds (‘) • Denver, Colorado is located at 39⁰44” north latitude and 104⁰59” west longitude • State capital building in Denver is located at 39⁰44”52 north latitude and 104⁰59” 04’ west longitude • GPS typically divides degrees into decimal fractions rather than minutes and seconds

  18. Determining Latitude • Measuring longitude and latitude is a good example of how geography is partly a natural science and partly a study of human behavior • Latitudes are scientifically derived by Earth’s shape and its rotation around the Sun • The equator is the parallel with the largest circumference and has 12 hours of sunlight daily • In ancient times, latitude was accurately measured by the length of daylight and the position of the Sun and stars

  19. Determining Longitude • Longitude is a human creation • Any meridian could be selected as 0⁰ longitude because all have the same length and all run between the poles • 0⁰ longitude runs through Greenwich b/c England was the world’s most powerful country when longitude was first accurately measured and an international agreement was made • Inability to measure longitude was the greatest obstacle to exploration and discovery for many centuries • Ships were run aground or lost at sea b/c no one could pinpoint longitude

  20. Determining Longitude • British Parliament passed the Longitude Act of 1714 offering a prize of today’s equivalent of several million dollars to the person would could first accurately determine longitude • John Harrison – an English clockmaker won the prize by inventing the first portable clock that could keep accurate time on a ship b/c it did not have a pendulum • When the Sun was directly over the ship (noon local time) Harrison’s portable clock set to Greenwich time could be examined – if the clock said 2:00 p.m., then the ship was 30⁰ west longitude • Was not awarded the prize until 40 years later

  21. Telling Time from Longitude • Earth is divided into 360⁰ of longitude • 0⁰ to 180⁰ west longitude + 0⁰ to 180⁰ east longitude • As Earth rotates the 360 imaginary lines of longitude pass beneath the sunshine • If every 15 ⁰ represents 1 time zone, and divide the 360⁰ by 15 ⁰ , we get 24 time zones, one for each hour of the day

  22. Telling Time from Longitude • International agreement designated the time at the prime meridian as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Universal Time (UT) • Serves as the master reference point for all points on Earth • As Earth rotates eastward, any place to the east of you always passes “under” the Sun earlier • As you travel eastward you are “catching up” with the Sun, so you must turn your clock ahead from GMT by 1 hour for each 15⁰ • If you travel westward from the prime meridian, you are “falling behind” the Sun, so you turn your clack back from GMT by 1 hour for each 15⁰

  23. Telling Time From Longitude

  24. Telling Time From Longitude • Each 15⁰ band of longitude is assigned to a standard time zone • The 48 contiguous US States and Canada share four standard time zones: • Eastern – 5 hours earlier than GMT • Central – 6 hours earlier than GMT • Mountain – 7 hours earlier than GMT • Pacific – 8 hours earlier than GMT • Alaska – most in the Alaska Time Zone – 9 hours earlier than GMT • Hawaii and some of the Aleutian Islands are in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone – 10 hours earlier than GMT • Eastern Canada is in the Atlantic Time Zone – 4 hours earlier than GMT

  25. Telling Time from Longitude

  26. Telling Time from Longitude • Before standard time zones were created, each locality set its own time which was usually kept by the local jeweler • When railroads became the main cross-country transportation during the 19th century, each rail company kept its own time – usually that of the major city it served • Train time tables listed 2 sets of arrival and departure times – one for local time and one for rail company time • Stations had several clock – one for local time and one for each of the rail companies that used the station

  27. Telling Time from Longitude • To reduce confusion from the multiple local times, the rail stations and companies urged the adoption of standard time zones • Standard time zones were established in the US in 1883 • Rest of the world followed with the international meridian conferences held in Washington, D.C. in 1884 • At noon on November 18, 1883, time stood still in the US so that each locality could adjust to the new standard time zones • EX: time stood still in NYC for 3 minutes and 58 seconds to adjust to the new Eastern Standard Time

  28. Telling Time from Longitude • Other places were reluctant to make the switch • EX: Chicago – remained 17 minutes of CST for years • Others tinkered with their time zone • Newfoundland – 3.5 hours ahead of GMT – • assert that their island would face dark winter afternoons if it were 4 hours earlier than GMT and dark winter mornings if it were 3 hours earlier than GMT • India – 5.5 hours later than GMT • Australia – 9.5 hours later than GMT

  29. Telling Time from Longitude: The International Dateline • When crossing the International Date Line, which for the most part follows the 180⁰ longitude, you move the clock a full 24 hours ahead or behind • Heading west – move ahead • Heading east – move back • 1997 – Kiribati – small collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean, moved the International Date Line 3,000 kilometers to its eastern border • First country to see each day’s sunrise • Hoped this would attract tourists – but did not

  30. Regions • Areas of unique characteristics – an area of earth defined by one or more distinctive characteristics • Derives its unified character through the cultural landscape - a combination of cultural, economic, and physical features • Language, religion, agriculture, industry, climate, and vegetation • American geographer Carl Sauer defined cultural landscape as an area fashioned from nature by a cultural group

  31. Regions • Contemporary cultural landscape approach in geography, sometimes called the regional studies approach was initiated in France by Paul Vidal de la Blache and Jean Brunhes and later adopted by American geographers such as Carl Sauer and Robert Platt • Argue that each region has its own distinctive landscape that results from a unique combination of social relationships and physical processes • Within a region the people, activities, and environment will display similarities and regularities with a regions and differ in some ways form those of other regions

  32. Regions • Gains uniqueness from possessing a combination of human and environmental characteristics from which geographers seek relationships – recognizing that characteristics are intertwined • Fundamental principle to this approach – people are the most important agents of change to the Earth’s surface • Distinctive character may derive in part from its natural features – but physical features are not always the most important factor in human decisions – as we have already learned – people can change their environment to suit their needs

  33. Regions • Geographers seek to sort out the associations among various social characteristics, each of which is uniquely distributed across Earth’s surface • EX: geographers conclude that political unrest in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and other areas derives in large measure from the fact that the distribution of important features , such as ethnicity and resources, do not match the political boundaries of individual countries

  34. Types of Regions • Designation of regions can be applied to any area larger that a point and smaller than the entire planet • Usually applied at one of two scales • Several neighboring countries that share important features • EX: Latin America • Many localities within a country • EX: Southern California • A particular place can be included in more than one region – depending on how region is defined • 3 types – Formal, Functional, and Vernacular

  35. Formal Region • Uniform or homogeneous region – area w/in which everyone shares in common one or more distinctive characteristics • Cultural value – common language • Economic activity – crop production • Environmental property – climate • Selected characteristic is present throughout the region

  36. Formal Region • Some are more easily identified than others • Countries or local government units • In some formal regions, the characteristic defining the region may be predominant rather than universal • North American Wheat Belt – wheat is the most commonly grown crop, but not the only crop grown

  37. Predominant voting patterns by county vs. by state in the 2004 US Presidential Election Blue = Kerry Red - Bush