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Chapter 1 (Rubenstein 11 th ed.). Basic Concepts of Geography. Key Issue 1. A map of the US based on movie titles & state location. How Do Geographers Describe Where Things Are? . Maps. Geography = Greek word Geo = earth; graphy = to write

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Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

Chapter 1(Rubenstein 11th ed.)

Basic Concepts of Geography

Key issue 1
Key Issue 1

A map of the US based on movie titles & state location

How Do Geographers Describe Where Things Are?

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

  • Geography = Greek word

    • Geo = earth; graphy = to write

  • Geography is the study of where things are found on the Earth’s surface and why they are at that location

Map of Chicago’s neighborhoods

Street map of Chicago

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

  • Geographers think SPACIALLY

  • Where are things located on the Earth and why?

  • Maps are a geographer’s basic & most important tool

  • A map is a 2D model of the Earth

  • Cartography = study of mapmaking

  • Maps serve 2 purposes:

    • 1. Reference tool

      • Where is the lake? How do I get to Joan’s house? What is the route for the fire escape?

    • 2. Communication tool – primary use for modern maps

      • How much land is used for cattle farming? How did each county vote in the local election? Where do most college graduates live in the US?

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

Public transportation in Hong Kong

Map scale
Map Scale

  • 1st question to ask: how much detail to include in your map?

All maps are of Saint Viator High School

Map scale1
Map Scale

  • Scale can be presented in 3 ways on a map

  • Ratio or Fraction

    • Expressed as: 1:b or 1/b

    • 1 unit : b number of units (1 ft = 1 mile, 1 inch = 10 miles, 1 meter = 49 meters, etc)

    • 1:10,000; 1/10,000; 1:8500; 1/65

  • Written Scale

    • Describes distance in words

    • “1 inch equals 10,000 ft”; “1 cm equals 1 mile”

  • Graphic Scale

    • A bar line that shows distance

Map scale2
Map Scale

  • Match the scale to the correct term

  • Graphic

  • Written

  • Ratio/Fraction

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

Large Scale

Small Scale

Spatial associations @ various scales
Spatial Associations @ Various Scales

Spatial Association at Various Scales

Death rates from cancer in the U.S., Maryland, and Baltimore show different patterns that can identify associations with different factors.

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

Spatial Associations @ Various Scales

2012 Presidential Election

County Results

Blue = Obama

Red = Romney

Why is IL a “blue” state?

More counties voted for Romney.


  • Earth = sphere; Globe = sphere

    • Pros: accurately represent places on the earth

    • Cons: can’t add much detail, size and shape

  • Earth = sphere; Map = flat

    • Pros: can add much detail, very portable

    • Cons: image distortion

  • Projection = the scientific method of transferring locations on earth to a flat map

  • Distortion = inaccurate depiction of a place on a map

  • You Tube – West Wing “Why are we changing maps?”


  • There are 4 types of distortion

    • Shape

    • Distance

    • Size

    • Direction

Geographic grid
Geographic Grid

  • Meridians = lines drawn from one pole to the other; run north-south; meet @ poles

    • Measured in longitude (max = 180o)

    • Prime Meridian = 0o longitude

  • Parallels = lines drawn parallel to the equator; run east-west; never touch other parallels

    • Measured in latitude (max = 90o)

    • Equator = 0o latitude

  • Latitude & longitude measured in:

    • Degrees

    • Minutes

    • Seconds

What is at:

N 42o 5’ 40”

W 87o 58’ 11”

Geographic grid1
Geographic Grid

  • 360 divided by 15 = 24

  • Each meridian = 15o wide

  • 24 total meridians around the Earth

  • Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

    • Prime Meridian

    • Reference point for all time on Earth

    • 1 meridian = 1 hour

  • International Date Line

    • Move forward or back 24 hrs (depending on route of travel)

    • Located at 180o longitude

Contemporary tools
Contemporary tools

  • GIScience = geographic information science

    • Uses satellites to obtain info about Earth

  • GPS = Global positioning system

  • GIS = Geographic Information System

    • Computer system that stores & analyzes data

    • Used to produce accurate maps

    • Info collected can be stored in layers (roads, names, water, etc.)

  • Mashup = mixing of layers of GIS info

Key issue 2
Key Issue 2

  • Why Is Each Point on Earth Unique?


  • Place = specific point on Earth distinguished by a particular characteristic

  • Location = the position something occupies on the Earth’s surface

  • 3 ways to indentify location

    • Place name

    • Site

    • Situation

Place name
Place Name

  • Toponym = name given to a place on Earth

    • St. Louis, Rocky Mountains, Gobi Dessert, Andalusia, Oakton St.

  • Names determined by any number of factors

    • Famous person (Martin Luther King High School)

    • Connection to area (Dunton St. – William Dunton = founder of Arlington Heights)

    • Natural landmarks (Nile Delta)

    • Conquest (Constantinople / Istanbul)

    • Origin of settlers (Witwatersrand = rocky hills near Johannesburg, South Africa; Dutch name)


  • Situation = location of a place in relation to other places

  • Allows comparisons between unfamiliar places with familiar ones

  • Allows understanding of importance of a location.

  • * See Site & Situation PowerPoint

Chapter 1 rubenstein 11 th ed

  • Site = physical characteristic of a place

    • Climate, topography, soil, vegetation, latitude, elevation

  • Site factors influence settlement locations

    • protection? trade routes? natural resources?

  • Humans can modify a site

Northerly Island in Chicago is a man-made peninsula.


  • Region: an area defined by one or more distinctive characteristics

  • A place can be included in more than one region

  • Can be applied to any area smaller than the planet

    • Ex: Latin America, Bible Belt, Wrigleyville

  • Cultural landscape: combination of cultural features (ex: language, religion), economic features (ex: agriculture, industry), & physical features (ex: climate, vegetation)

  • There are 3 types of regions:

    • Formal

    • Functional

    • Vernacular

Formal region
Formal Region

  • Also called “uniform region”

  • Area where everyone shares one or more distinctive characteristics

  • Can be cultural (ex: common language), economic (ex: production of one product – Detroit & cars), or environmental (ex: same climate)

  • Some regions the characteristic may be predominant, not universal. (see pg. 16 election map for example)

Functional region
Functional Region

  • Also called nodal region

  • Area organized around a node or focal point

  • Central focused and importance diminishes further from epicenter

  • Ex: radio station reach – Chicagoans care about WSCR 670 AM sports talk but even though you can hear the broadcast in Indianapolis & St. Louis, those residents don’t care as much about Chicago sports

Vernacular region
Vernacular Region

  • Also called perceptual region

  • Area people believe exist as a part of cultural identity

  • Drawing a mental map of a place


  • Culture: beliefs, customs, traditions, social structure, and tangible items of a group of people

  • Has two different meanings:

    • To care about: to worship

    • To take care of: to look after something

  • What people care about

    • Ideas, beliefs and values

    • Ex: language, religion, politics, race, social status

  • What people take care of

    • Production of material

    • Ex: food, clothing, art

Spatial association
Spatial Association

  • Regions

  • A wide lens in viewing an area may not be accurate in describing a region

Key issue 3
Key Issue 3

  • Why are Different Places Similar?

Scale from local to global
Scale: From Local to Global

  • Scale: relationship between portion of Earth being studied and the Earth as a whole

  • Globalization: force or process that involves the entire world & results in making something worldwide in scope

Globalization of the economy
Globalization of the Economy

  • Example: 2008 recession

  • 1st global recession

  • Housing prices increase

  • Banks giving loans @ low interest rates

  • Banks giving loans to high-risk applicants

  • Wealthy bought 2 or 3 homes as investments

Globalization of the economy1
Globalization of the Economy

  • People stopped buying homes

  • People couldn’t keep up with mortgage payments

  • Value of homes drops

  • Selling a home for less than purchase price

  • People not buying furniture, tvs, pools, shower curtains, etc.

  • Companies that make household items lose money and fire workers to keep from going bankrupt

Globalization of the economy2
Globalization of the Economy

  • Globalization led by transnational corporations

  • Globalization leads to specialization

    • Each place contributes a specific part based on local assets (ex: natural resources, labor, research, transportation, etc.)

  • Ex: Nike

    • HQ: Oregon

    • Shoes made in Asia

    • Charities in Africa

    • Sponsors soccer teams

    • Sold worldwide

FC Barcelona jersey

Globalization of culture
Globalization of Culture