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Intro to Human Geography: People, Places, and Landscapes Ch 1: Introduction: Some Background Basics


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Title: Intro to Human Geography: People, Places, and Landscapes Ch 1: Introduction: Some Background Basics

Intro to Human GeographyPeople, Places, and
LandscapesCh 1 Introduction Some Background
  • Paul Sutton
  • Department of Geography
  • University of Denver

Where and What on Wednesdays?
  • ½ class on Field Trip
  • ½ class in Lab
  • Field Trip Students go to parking lot behind
    Boettcher at 1050
  • Lab Students go to Boettcher West Room 124
  • Alternates weekly.
  • E-mail List

What is Geography?
  • Does it make a difference where things are
    located? If answer is yes Geography is involved
  • Geography is the spatial science
  • Geography is the study of spatial variation
  • Describe How does a phenomena vary in space
  • Explain Why a phenomena varies in space
  • Predict How spatial variation will change
  • Geography seeks to discover the spatial
    relationships of the manifold features, physical
    and human, which diversify the earth's surface.

Evolution of the Discipline of Geography
  • Geography Geo Earth graphy Writing
  • Eratothenes 200 b.c.
  • Strabo (64 b.c. to 20 a.d.) describe the
    several parts of the inhabited world to write
    the assessment of the countries of the world and
    to treat the differences between countries
  • Greek and Roman Geographers were very involved in
    the production and analysis of maps for
    navigation and explanation of spatial variation
    in the nature of countries.
  • Chinese geographers were also interested in
    explaining patterns and processes of climate,
    vegetation, landforms, and their influence on
    human activity (environmental determinism)
  • Muslim scholars preserved much geographic
    information that would have been lost during the
    middle ages.

Cartography A major tool of Geography
  • Cartographic products such as paper maps were
    essential in exploring and colonizing the world
    as well as for planning and executing wars

Ptolemys map of the known world 2nd Century A.D.
Evolution of Cartography
  • Cartography has evolved from producing paper maps
    of the locations of various features on the
    surface of the earth to spatial databases housed
  • Geographic Information Systems

A nighttime satellite image superimposed on a DEM
of the globe
Where is Geography today?
  • Geography is not just states and capitals ?
  • Some problems/phenomena studied by modern
  • 1) Global Warming
  • 2) Deforestation
  • 3) Population distribution and migration
  • 4) Sustainability Science

Major Themes of Geography
  • Studying the areal (spatial) variation of
    physical and human phenomena on the surface of
    the earth
  • example explaining population distribution
  • Studying the spatial systems that link physical
    phenomena and human activity
  • example understanding the human dimensions of
    global change such as global warming
  • Studying the ecological or unique characteristics
    of the human environment relationships in a
    particular place regional geography
  • example describing the political economy of
    sub-saharan Africa

Systematic Specializations within Geographyhow
geography is an integrative synthesizing
Geography splits naturally Along the
human/physical Divide from which the Discipline
of human geography Allies itself with many other
Related disciplines. The major Contribution of
geography to These allied areas is the
Incorporation of a spatial Perspective on the
analysis Of the respective problems in These
Jobs in Geography
  • DU graduates in geography are working as
  • College professors, High School teachers
  • City, County, and State Planning agencies
    mapping and analyzing land-use plans and
    monitoring urban sprawl
  • Market analysts and many other areas
  • Other Jobs Geography trains you for are
  • Data analysis in health care, transportation,
    population studies, economic development, and
    international economics, Satellite image analysis
    for commercial or military applications, and many
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS) a key tool
    for employment in many areas

The Map Quiz
  • The Map Quiz will consist of 20 questions taken
    from the map exercises (1-8) that are posted on
    the course web page (http//
    utton/SOCS1410CourseWebPage.htm). We strongly
    encourage you to do these exercises on your own.
  • Map Quiz Monday In Class Week 3
  • Lets do the National Geographic Quiz

Basic Geographic Concepts
  • The significance of absolute and relative
  • The distinctive physical human characteristics
    of a place
  • Relationships within and between places including
    human-environment relationships
  • Movement expressing patterns and changes in
    human spatial interaction
  • Characterizing Regions and how they change

Location 1st Universal Spatial Concept
  • Absolute location precise coordinates or
    mathematical location (e.g. Latitude Longitude)
  • Relative location Expresses spatial
    interconnection and interdependence
  • New York City absolute location 40 43 N, 73 58 W
  • relative
    location at mouth of Hudson river on the East
    Coast of United States between Boston and
  • What does your uncle always say is the most
    important attribute of a successful restaurant or

Flat map interpretation distortion
Where could you walk a mile south, a mile east,
and a mile north and end up right back where you
Site and Situation
Situation The external relations of a location
description of the Situation of Chicago The
deepest penetration of the great Lakes system
into the interior of the United States, astride
the Great Lakes Mississippi waterways, and near
the Western margin of the manufacturing Belt, the
northern boundary of the Corn Belt, and the
southeastern reaches Of a major dairy region.
Other situation Info natural resources,
transportation Corridors etc.
  • Site refers to the physical and cultural
    characteristics and attributes of the place
  • Site of Philadelphia an area bordering and west
    of the Delaware river north of its intersection
    with the Schuylkil River in southeast PA

Direction 2nd Universal spatial concept
  • Absolute direction Cardinal directions N,S,E,W
  • Uniform throughout cultures
  • Relative or Relational Directions
  • Up North, Down East, Back East, Out West

Distance 3rd Universal Spatial Concept
  • Absolute Distance How long is the piece of
    string stretched taut over the earth connecting
    to locations
  • Relative Distance How long does it take to get
    there from here? How far does it feel

Why did L.A.s 30 minute travel expand then
contract over time?
Size and Scale Matters(levels of generalization)
Physical and Cultural Attributes
  • Natural landscape (Scale dependent) Climate,
    soils, water supplies, terrain, natural
    resources, vegetation, etc.
  • The setting within which human action
  • Cultural Landscape (also scale dependent)
  • Agricultural practices, the built environment,
    population density, etc.
  • Environmental and Cultural Change The interplay
    between humans and the environment

Scale and Landscape characterization
Texas City, Texas
LandSat image U.S. Mexico Border
The changing attributes of Place
  • Geologic time (millions of years) continents
    drift, islands form and disappear, mountain rise
    and erode away.
  • Ice-Age time scale (tens of thousands of years)
    Glaciers advance and retreat, climate changes
  • Accelerating Human Impacts (centuries decades)
    global warming, ozone depletion, groundwater
    depletion, deforestation, urban sprawl

Airphotos of suburban Long Island
From Agriculture to Urban in decades
Inter-relations within and between Places
  • Why is it cheaper to fly from L.A. to New York
    (2500 miles) than from Oklahoma City to Salt
    Lake City (900 miles)?
  • Spatial Interaction Accessibility and
  • Urban Hierarchies (Central Place Theory)
  • Distance Decay (Cost of housing along Highway
  • Friction of Distance (Changing with technology)
  • Spatial Diffusion (spread of AIDS)

A Study of Spatial Interaction
  • Desired travel routes of citizens of Chicago
    Illinois. Changes with time, is essential info
    for transportation planning. Defines a functional
    region known as the greater Chicago area.

The Structured Content of Space
  • Measures of Spatial Distribution
  • - Density
  • - Dispersion
  • - Clustering
  • - Pattern
  • Interesting applications
  • In epidemiology,
  • Demography,
  • Environmental Risk
  • Assessment

Varying Patterns (explanations anyone?)
Same Density, Different Dispersion or Clustering
Place Similarity and Regions
  • Just as historians characterize temporal epochs
    such as The 60s or The Victorian Era,
    geographers characterize spatial regions.
  • Regions Areas of the earth that display
    significant internal uniformity and external
    difference from surrounding territories.
  • Examples The Sun Belt, Inside the Beltway,
    The South, New England, The Mid West
  • Regions have Location, Spatial Extent,
    Boundaries, and are Hierarchically Arranged

Regional Geographers draw lines that dont exist
around places that dont matter.
Where is the Mid West anyway?
Types of Regions
  • Formal or Uniform Regions The largest area over
    which a generalization of attribute uniformity
    can be made. Examples State and National
    boundaries, Linguistic or Relgious realms etc.
  • Functional or Nodal Regions Spatial system
    defined by the interactions and connections that
    give it a dynamic, organizational basis. Example
    The area served by In-and-out Burger
  • Perceptual Regions Vernacular regions which
    often have fuzzy boundaries such as Northern
    California, Dixie, or Chinatown

Examples of Regions
Aachen, Germany 1649 Clearly defined
boundaries Of a functional region
Regional Hierarchy Delmarva Peninsula contained
by Coastal Plain contained by Humid Continental
Functional Regions of Urban Dominance
Do these regions obey all the rules of regions?
Map Scale and its influence on Area Detail
Confusion over Large Small Scale
The Global Grid
  • All meridians are of equal length each is one
    half length of equator.
  • All meridians converge at the poles are true
    north-south lines.
  • All lines of latitude (parallels) are parallel to
    the equator each other.
  • Parallels decrease in length as one nears the
  • Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles
  • The scale on the surface of the globe is the same
    in every direction

On the equator one degree of longitude Is about
111 km. At 60 degrees north it Is only one half
that (55 km). The length Of one degree of
latitude is always 111 km.
How maps show data
All these maps are Different ways of
Representing the Same data.
A dot map or dot density map
Quantitative Thematic Map
A choropleth map
An iso-line map
A Value-by-Area Cartogram
What countries dominate a cartogram of total
population? GDP?
Mental MapsPart of many Studies inSpatial
Cognition Behavioral Geography
10 year olds map of home
6 year olds map of home
See how mapped World-view expands With age?
How do you think Mapped world-view Will change
with Income, SES or Education?
13 year olds map of home
Christinas World By Andrew Wyeth(Does this
painting suggest anything about Christinas
Mental Map?)
  • and SES
  • High Income/Education/SES on Left
  • Low Income/Education/SES on Right
  • Dramatically different mental maps which how
    lower SES can reinforce the production of
    restricted and incomplete mental images of ones
    environment that in turn reinforces spatial and
    economic isolation

The USGS 124,000 Quad
This map is a piece of a USGS 124,000 Quad
of Santa Barbara, California. This is a very
common Map for which you should Use its scale as
a benchmark For remembering map scale.
Overview of Geographic InqiurySome courses you
can take here at DU
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Natural Resource Management Paleo-ecology
  • Air Photo Interpretation Spatial
  • Remote Sensing Meteorology Hydrology
  • Geomorphology Transportation Planning
  • Biogeography Environment
  • Cultural Ecology Geography of the National
  • Urban Geography The Field Quarter
  • Cartography Regional Geography
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