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Unit One


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Title: Unit One

Unit One
  • Geography Its Nature and Perspectives

What is Geography?
Geography is a representation of the whole known
world together with the phenomena which are
contained therein. Ptolemy, Geographia 2nd
Century A.D. Geography is the science of
place. Its vision is grand, its view panoramic.
It sweeps the surface of the Earth, charting the
physical, organic and cultural terrain, their
areal differentiation, and their ecological
dynamics with humankind. Its foremost tool is the
map. Leonard Krishtalka, Carnegie Museum of
Natural History, 20th Century A.D.
  • Concerned with place and location two
    inherently important parts of everyday life.
  • APHG invites you to see your world through the
    lens of the geographer (enlarge your vision to
    encompass other places and locations and consider
    them in new ways).
  • Geographers are not merely able to name all the
    rivers, lakes, cities, and countries of the
    world. - Geographers are much more interested in
    understanding how those places shape and are
    shaped by people, and what their location means
    in the past, present and future.

What is Geography?
Geography is the study of what is where and why
its there. Mike Reed
Okay, but what exactly is it? Well, its a way of
thinking about intellectual problems, both
natural and societal, which emphasizes the
importance of spatial relationships.. Take any
social, environmental, or physical question or
problem and ask yourself whether there is a
spatial aspect to it. Chances are that space and
place play a role in the explanation and
distribution of that question. Mike Reed,
Making It Up As I Go For example Why are so
many plant and animal species becoming extinct at
the end of the twentieth century? Why do there
always seem to be been so many wars in
Africa? Why is corn such an important part of a
traditional Mexican diet? Why are some beers
known as India Pale Ales?
Divisions of Geography
  • Physical Geography
    Human Geography
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Landforms
  • Soils
    Economic Activities
  • Animals
  • Plants
    Recreational Activities
  • Water
  • Atmosphere
    Political Systems
  • Rivers and Other Water Bodies
    Social Traditions
  • Environment
    Human Migration
  • Climate and Weather
    Agricultural Systems
  • Geography is a bridge between the natural and
    social sciences. Geography is a holistic or
    synthesizing science.

The Five Themes of Geography
Key Concepts
  • Geography as a field of study
  • Location the position of something on earths
  • Space the physical gap or distance between two
  • Scale the relationship between the size of an
    object or distance between objects on a map and
    the size of the actual object of distance on
    earths surface.
  • Place a specific point on earth with human and
    physical characteristics that distinguish it from
    other points.

Key Concepts Cont
  • Pattern the arrangement of objects on the
    earths surface in relationship to one another.
  • Regionalization the organization of earths
    surface into distinct areas that are viewed as
    different from other areas.
  • Globalization the expansion, political, and
    cultural activities to the point that they reach
    and have impact on many areas of the world.

  • All of these concepts help you understand the
    importance of spatial organization the location
    of places, people, and events, and the
    connections among places and landscapes (the
    overall appearance of an area that is shaped by
    both human and natural influences).
  • Why of Where - Critical explanations for why
    spatial pattern occurs. Sometimes geographers ask
    questions about how particular human patterns
    came about, so that specific places become
    distinct from all others.

Human Geography vs. Physical Geography
  • Human Geography focuses on people where are
    they? How are they are alike and different? How
    do they interact? How do they change the natural
    landscapes, and how do they use them? Because
    other fields of study such as history,
    sociology, economics, and political science
    also deal with human behavior, human geography
    often overlaps and interacts with these
  • Physical Geography focuses on the natural
    environment itself. Example Physical Geographers
    might study mountains, glaciers, coastlines,
    climates, soils, plants, and animals.
  • Of course, neither human nor physical geography
    could exist without the other because the two
    fields inevitably intersect and interact, making
    them inextricably bound to one another.

The Geography of Breakfasta geographic thinking

Take a minute to write down everything ate for
breakfast or lunch today.
? Top Ten Coffee Growing Countries
Chocolate was discovered for Europe by
Christopher Columbus, but its commercial
possibilities were recognized by Hernan Cortez
who was served a drink made from cocoa beans by
Moctezuma, leader of the Aztecs (whom he later
executed). The cacao tree, like coffee, grows
only in the tropics. Today it is grown primarily
for export to the U.S. and Europe.
Breakfast Foods
Food Place of Origin Current
Production coffee Ethiopia Tropics oranges Sout
h Asia, India US, Mediterranean pork China,
South Asia Worldwide wheat Near East US,
Russia, Argentina tea China Asia oats Near
East Temperate Climates pepper South
America Americas, Asia
What is CULTURE?
What are its elements? How is it transferred? How
has the meaning of the word changed over time?
What is CULTURE?
  • Culture is learned behavior that is passed on by
    imitation, instruction, and example.
  • Culture is almost entirely relative. Proper
    behavior shifts from culture to culture.
  • U.S. current problems 1) little shared
    culture2) no one is teaching culture.
  • For example sex education - Home? School?
  • Note experiencing another culture is useful for
    gaining perspective on your own.

Geographic Importance of Culture
  • Geographers study culture because it leaves
    dramatic imprints on the earth, both physical and
  • Language a crystal ball into culture.
  • Religion strongest determinant of ethics.
  • Nationalism and Borders
  • Material Culture tools, clothes, toys, etc.
  • Architecture Suburban garages vs. earlier

Key Concepts
  • Culture Regions
  • Formal - all members share a characteristic
  • Functional - defined by a node of activity and
    distance decay from center
  • Vernacular - perception of cultural identity

Vernacular Regions
  • Where is AIDs?
  • Where do we find hunger?
  • Where are American blacks?
  • Where are cows produced?

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  • Relocation
  • Hierarchical
  • Contagious
  • Stimulus

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Toblers 1st Law of Geography
  • All things are related. However, all other things
    being equal, those things that are closest
    together are more related.
  • Related Concepts
  • Distance Decay

  • Latitude and Longitude - a reference system
    designed to provide absolute location (as
    opposed to relative locations).
  • Parallels of Latitude
  • Meridians of Longitude

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Place and Sense of Place
  • Every place is unique. Imagine where you lived as
    a child. What made that special?
  • Sensory
  • Architecture
  • Symbolic
  • Humanistic Geography - values the individual
  • Place and Placelessness (Relph, 1978)

What kinds of cultural values are reflected in
each of these American houses?
Gated community?
The Cultural Landscape
  • The result of the natural environment and all of
    the changes to it as a result of a particular
    culture. (Carl Sauer)
  • Environmental Determinism environment is primary
    determinant of culture.
  • Possibilism humans are primary determinant of

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N.Y.C. Environmentally Determined?
What about Bali, Indonesia?
Where are we? What values are reflected in each?
What relation to physical environment?
Geography and Politics
  • Ties to Military
  • Role in Colonization
  • Role in Imperialism
  • Role in Cold War
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Masculinism

Foreign - 4) Situated in an abnormal or improper
place. 5) Not natural alien. The American
Heritage Dictionary
Key ConceptsCore-Periphery
Key ConceptsCore-Periphery
  • Core
  • U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia
  • Wealthy
  • Powerful
  • Controls Media and Finance
  • Technologically advanced
  • Periphery
  • Less Developed
  • Poor
  • Dependent upon Core countries for
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Media
  • Military Equipment

  • The increasing interconnectedness of different
    parts of the world through common processes of
    economic, political, and cultural change. The
    economic, cultural, and environmental effects of
    globalization are highly contested.

Panama, 1997
Maps and Spatial Data
  • All geographers are very interested in the way
    places and things are arranged and organized on
    the surface of the earth. This common bond the
    spatial perspective means that they notice
    patterns of both natural and human environments,
    distributions of people, and locations of all
    kinds of objects. Words can describe space, and
    so some geographical data may be communicated
    through written and spoken language however, the
    map is a powerful geographical tool that is
    almost as old as geography itself.

Absolute and Relative Location
  • Absolute Location Maps provide the exact
    location of a place on a mathematical grid of the
    earth divided by two sets of imaginary arcs
    meridians and parallels. A meridian is an arc
    drawn between the North and South Poles that
    measures longitude, a numbering system that
    calculates distance east and west of the prime

  • The prime meridian is located at the observatory
    in Greenwich, England at 0 degrees. The meridian
    at the opposite side of the globe is 180 degrees,
    and all meridians placed in between are
    designated as either east or west of the
    prime meridian. A parallel is a circle drawn
    around the globe parallel to the equator, an
    imaginary circle that lies exactly half way
    between the North and South poles. Parallels
    measure latitude, or distance north and south of
    the equator. The equator is 0 degrees latitude,
    the North Pole 90 degrees north latitude, and the
    South Pole is 90 degrees south latitude. So any
    absolute location of a place on the surface of
    Earth may be described in terms of longitude and

  • Relative Location All places on earth also have
    relative locations spots relative to other
    human and physical features on the landscape. In
    other words, where does the country of Chile lie
    relative to Brazil? Or Argentina? Where does the
    Caspian Sea lie in relation to the Black Sea? Or
    the Mediterranean Sea? Relative location is
    important to think about because it defines a
    place in terms of how central or isolated it is
    in relation to other places.

Time Zones
  • The earth is divided into 360 Degrees of
    longitude (180 d. west of the prime meridian and
    180 d. east).
  • International agreement lines of longitude are
    spaced 15 d. apart in both directions from
    Greenwich, England.
  • Uniform time 12 p.m. noon is meant to be
    where the sun is high in the sky everywhere in
    the world. 12 a.m. midnight night everywhere.
  • System was set up in the late 19th century to
    accommodate internal railroad travel.

International Date Line
  • One consequence of the organization of the world
    into time zones is that somewhere on the globe
    the date has to change. This occurs at 180 d.
    longitude, also called the International Date
    Line that divides the world from pole to pole
    through the Pacific Ocean. If a traveler crosses
    the line headed from Asia to America, he sets the
    clock back 24 hours likewise, a traveler
    crossing the line headed from America to Asia
    will set the clock ahead 24 hours.

Uses of Maps
  • Geographers use maps in two basic ways-
  • Reference material Maps are efficient tools for
    storing information. Once a map is drawn it may
    be pulled out to help find relative locations of
    places. Maps show roads or waterways that
    connect places, and they have been used for
    centuries by travelers. For example 16th century
    European explorers use maps to help them cross
    the Atlantic Ocean, just as 21st century
    Americans use maps to visit vacation

  • Communications / education Maps may be used to
    explain spatial perspectives to others. These
    maps are often thematic because they are designed
    to explain a type of geographic information.
    Examples are maps that show soil types, relative
    elevations, economic prosperity levels, and
    spatial arrangements of racial and ethnic groups.

Map Projections
  • An important problem with communicating
    information through maps is that the only
    accurate representation of earth is a globe.
    When spatial information is presented on a flat
    piece of paper, a cartographer immediately faces
    the issue of distortion caused by trying to
    represent a three-dimensional object (like the
    earth) on a two dimensional surface (a flat map).
    Different methods have been devised to increase
    accuracy, but it is impossible to avoid some type
    of distortion.

The Mercator Projection
The Robinson Projection
The Peters Projection
  • Size of the unite studied
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