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Chapter 1: Introduction to Geography Holly Barcus

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1 Introduction to Geography People, Places, and Environment, 6e Carl Dahlman William H. Renwick
Chapter 1: Introduction to Geography Holly Barcus Morehead State University & Joe Naumann - UMSL

2 Conclusion from a healthy world view
"The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life." Albert Schweitzer

3 Overview: Chapter 1 The Nature of Geography
Evolution of the Discipline Some Basic Geographic Concepts Geography’s Themes and Standards Maps - Cartography

4 Geography The study of the interaction of all physical and human phenomena at individual places and of how interactions among places form patterns and organize space.

5 The Nature of Geography
Geographers apply the spatial perspective whereas historians apply the time perspective For maximum understanding, the geographer must also be aware of the time perspective and visa versa.

6 Geographic focus Distributions Distances Directions Shapes & forms
What geographers look for Distributions Distances Directions Shapes & forms Patterns Cores peripheries

7 Basic Geographic Concepts
Location, Direction and Distance Size and Scale Physical and Cultural Attributes Attributes of Place are Always Changing – a dynamic reality Interrelations Between Places Place Similarity and Regions

8 What Is Geography? Systematic Perspective Regional Perspective
Physical – subdivisions Human/ Cultural – subdivisions Regional Perspective Tools of Geography Cartography (tool & means of expression) Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

9 Subfields of Geography
Human Geography studies Growth & distribution of population Nature of cities Communications networks Location of businesses & industries Growth & collapse of empires & nations Spread of culture traits Technology Trends & styles Religions & ideologies Physical Geography studies Origin & nature of continents & landforms Origin & nature of oceans Climates (past & present) Rivers Glaciers Others Soils Animals Plants

10 Geography is Broad and Integrative
Broad: Geography frequently tries to focus on the “whole picture” Integrative: It draws upon almost every academic discipline seeking patterns and connections

11 Geography as Mother of many Sciences

12 People as well as academic disciplines have different perspectives

13 Awaken to the Wonders of Geography

14 Geography began with questions.

15 Origins of Geographic Study
Natural human inquisitiveness Thinking geographically is one of the oldest human activities. Perhaps the first geographer was a prehistoric human who crossed a river or climbed a hill, observed what was on the other side, returned home to tell about it, and scratched the route in the dirt. Perhaps the second geographer was a friend or relative who followed the dirt map to reach the other side. James M. Rubenstein in Contemporary Human Geography

16 Origins of Geographic Study
Ancient civilizations/empires made maps Greek philosophy Geography = geo (earth) + graphy (inscribe – write about) Why are things where they are & why are they the way they are – causations and conclusions

17 History of Geography Classical Western World Non-European World
Erastosthenes ( B.C.) Hipparchus ( B.C.) Non-European World Al-Edrisi ( ) Ibn-Battuta ( ) Ibn-Khaldun ( ) The Tribute of Yu Phei Hsiu Kangido

18 Since the 1400’s… General geography (1650) Human-environment tradition
Bernhard Varen Special geography = regional geography General geography = topical/systematic geography Human-environment tradition Alexander von Humboldt ( ) Cosmos George Perkins Marsh ( ) Man and Nature (1864)

19 Environmental Determinism
Humans must adapt to natural conditions Nature sets rather rigid parameters and humans must act within them – culture will be determined by them This was the prevailing view from Hippocrates through the 19th century Friedrich Ratzel Ellsworth Huntington Ellen Semple Too rigid and absolute to be accepted today.

20 Possibilism – a balanced approach
Nature may influence human action, but not determine it Ultimately, humans make the choices for their responses to natural conditions. Technology allows humans to alter or widen the parameters set by nature A more realistic approach than environmental determinism

21 Rationale for Geographic Study
“The information that any citizen needs in order to make an informed decision on an important question of the day is largely geographic.” IRAQ

22 Geography Today Association of American Geographers Three approaches
55 topical specialties Where?, What?, When?, Why?, and Why there? Three approaches Area analysis (areal systems analysis) Spatial analysis Geographic information systems analysis

23 Geographic Theme: Location
Area Analysis Site – (absolute location) Exact location of a place Situation or relative location Location of a place relative to other places Accessibility Constant change Scale Globalization Geographic Theme: Location

24 WHERE IN THE WORLD IS? Bosnia Kosovo Chechnya Vojvodina Kyrgyzstan
Rwanda Lesotho Myanmar Bhutan Bangladesh Somalia Macedonia Andorra Liechtenstein Tasmania Qatar

25 Regions (Geographic Theme)
Formal regions Exhibit uniformity across a cultural or physical characteristic Functional regions Defined by interactions among places Vernacular regions Widespread popular perception of existence

26 Formal & Functional Regions
Time zones States Cities & Metropolitan areas Functional Chicago & its hinterland

27 F U N C T I O N A L


29 Three properties of distribution
Spatial Analysis Distribution Three properties of distribution Density Concentration Pattern


31 Areal (spatial) systems analysis

32 Movement (Geographic Theme)
Distance Measurements Absolute Time Cost Psychological (perception) Friction of distance Distance decay As distance increases, importance of a particular phenomena decreases Ex. Newspaper circulation


34 Three Types of Diffusion
Relocation diffusion Contiguous diffusion Hierarchical diffusion Barriers to diffusion Cultural barriers Oceans, deserts, distance, time Political boundaries, cultural differences

35 Hierarchical Diffusion

36 Lithosphere (Earth’s solid rocks) Hydrosphere (water)
4 Physical Systems Atmosphere (air) Lithosphere (Earth’s solid rocks) Hydrosphere (water) Biosphere (living organisms)

37 Earth’s 4 Interrelated Physical Systems

38 Human-Environmental Interaction (Geographic Theme)
Reciprocal interaction Culture Language, food, religion, social ceremonies Natural landscapes Without evidence of human activity Cultural landscapes Reveals how humans modify local environment

39 The Geographic Grid (absolute location)
Longitude Measures distance east to west around the globe beginning at the Prime Meridian Prime Meridian International Date Line 0-180 degrees East or West Latitude Location on the Earth’s surface between the equator and either the north or south pole Parallels 0-90 degrees North or South

40 Locating Points on a Sphere: the Grid System
Latitude – angular distance measured north or south of the Equator through 90º of arc. Degree of constant length – 69 miles. Parallels – not lines of latitude Poleward reduction in length Longitude – angular distance measured east or west of the Prime Meridian through 180º of arc. Degree distance decreases poleward. Meridians – not lines of longitude All meridians have the same length ½ of Equator

41 A Grid Latitude and longitude may be combined on a globe or map to create a grid. One specific parallel will only intersect a specific meridian at one place on the earth. Using the two together allows for locating places precisely.

42 Creating a Grid

43 Longitude and time zones
Approximately 15º of longitude wide because 360º divided by 24 (hours in a day) equals 15º. Actual boundaries vary from precise meridians to accommodate political and cultural differences

44 The Reality of Time Zones

45 Alpha-numeric Grid – commonly used in atlases and on road maps
St. Louis is located in section D8

46 The 5 Themes of Geography
LOCATION PLACE MOVEMENT HUMAN/ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION REGIONS (See MyGateway – Supplemental Materials – Chapter 1 folder for a more detailed explanation of the themes and the two subcategories each one has.

47 The Five Themes in Education
All elementary and secondary textbooks currently are built around the Five Themes of Geography The Five Themes are easy to remember and use

48 Quick Overview of 5 Themes – Click on the picture below to see the video

49 Map Making Cartography Scale Detail and area Fraction 1/24,000
Ratio 1:24,000 Written statement “1 inch equals 1 mile” Bar style Detail and area Small scale map = less detail, large denominator (1:1,000,000) Large scale map = more detail, small denominator (1:100,000) 1 2 4 3

50 The Map is the medium or language of geography
Can convey much information quickly and effectively Can be used to establish theories Can be used to solve geographic problems May reveal possible interactions and connections Can illustrate patterns, flows, distributions, connections, sequent occupance, etc.

51 Five Requirements of a Good Map
Grid – to facilitate locating places Direction arrow or compass rose – to orient the map to the real world Scale – to translate map distances to real-world distances Key or Legend – to interpret symbols used on the map Title – to alert the map reader to the topic or theme of the map Other useful information: Copyright date & Projection used


53 Map Scale – the concept Scales Of Area Shown – inverse relationship between scale and area shown. Large Scale Maps – show small areas in great detail Small Scale Maps – show large areas with less detail


55 Simulating a 3rd Dimension
Topographic Maps and Terrain Representation Hachure Lines Contour Lines (topographic) Combination Hachure & Contour Combination Contour & Shaded Relief

56 Profile made from a topographic map.
For precision, every intersection should be plotted

57 Symbol Choices (the Key)
Point Symbols – dots or pictorial symbols or proportional squares or boxes Area Symbols – differences in kind and differences in quantity – differing colors often used Choropleth – differences in quantity Cartogram – differences in quantity Line Symbols – transportation – differing types of lines and colors Isolines – lines of constant value such as contour lines Isobar – barometric pressure; isohyet -- precipitation Isotherm – temperature; isochrome – travel time from a point Contour line – equal elevation

58 More Choices Map of culture regions or agricultural regions – different colors (area symbol) Map of oil, automobile, or wheat production – proportional circles or squares or multiple pictorial symbols (one symbol = a given amount) Map of temperatures or precipitation – isolines (isotherm or isohyet) – barometric pressure -- isobar Traffic volume or trade volume – flow lines Urban center locations – dot Urban size – proportional circles or other symbol Distribution of a phenomenon – dot distribution

59 Projections Scientific (mathematical) method of transferring locations on Earth’s surface to a flat map 4 types of distortion – all maps are distorted in some way or other! Shape Distance Relative size Direction

60 Types of Map Projections
Cylindrical Conic Planar Equal Area Equidistant Conformal Special cases

61 Mercator Projection: Conformal – useful for navigation
Proportional areas! Equal-area Projection: good for spatial comparisons.

62 Geographic Information Technology
Automated cartography Manual techniques expensive Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) Sophisticated, specialized digital cartography systems Easier, cheaper editing

63 Remote Sensing Acquisition of data about Earth’s surface from a satellite orbiting the planet or from high-flying aircraft

64 Satellites Landsat Weather satellites 1972; 1999
Sensors measure radiation of colors of visible light Pixel size (resolution): 59x59 meters IKONOS resolution: 1.5x1.5 meters Weather satellites Very large pixels


66 Remotely Sensed Data Human activities Wartime applications
Changes in plant growth Drainage patterns Erosion associated with agriculture Logging and forest management Wetland monitoring Wartime applications

67 Change in Forest Cover

68 GIS Database software for digital information Layers
Contains same information as regular database PLUS Spatial characteristics such as boundary information or coordinates An identifying characteristic that locates the item in space (i.e., address) Layers Information with specific characteristics Soils, hydrology, land ownership Can be combined for analysis


70 GIS – Commercial & Educational Applications
After selecting the data, the different layers of information are sandwiched together Cartographer can examine different combinations and select the best one

71 Digital Geographic Information
Raster Grid cells of data Remote sensing images Pixels Vector Point, line, polygon data X and Y coordinates Different uses and spatial accuracies

72 Digital Data Conversion of paper to digital formats
Digital database creation Remote sensing images Digitizing Tracing lines Available types of data Topographic maps DRG and DLG US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory Census Bureau TIGER files

73 GIS Spatial Analysis Calculating densities and distribution of population “Counting” lakes Monitoring environmental changes with satellite images Analyzing changes in food production and land use

74 Purposely Misleading or to “See With New Eyes”?
Map projections can be selected to express information as accurately as possible. Map projections can be selected to purposely mislead the map reader. The map reader must be prepared to distinguish truth from misleading information. Map projections, or quasi-projections can be selected or used to create an unexpected, revealing view

75 Point of View or World View

76 See – I didn’t make it up!

77 A Hemisphere is a Hemisphere, is a Hemisphere….
Land Hemisphere Water Hemisphere The possibilities are infinite A Hemisphere is a Hemisphere, is a Hemisphere….

78 If the possibilities are unlimited . . . . . How about a N. Atlantic Hemisphere?

79 Map Projection and Specialty Examples

80 Dot Distribution

81 Choropleth Map

82 Cartogram

83 Making a Cartogram Computer programs can adjust the areas to the data, such as population, and adjust the shapes to obtain a recognizable configuration.

84 Flow-line Maps show direction and volume or intensity.

85 Boundaries can really generalize a transition zone -- climate

86 Boundary transitions -- language

87 Animated Maps Show change over time such as population growth and dispersion

88 Types of common maps Physical/Political map – combines political boundaries and physical features and possibly more – good general reference Topographic maps – Primary feature: uses contour lines to give impression of the land surface – also includes cultural features -- good for hiking, hunting, camping, orienteering, for selecting potential sites for human use Road or transportation map – shows various means of transportation plus political features

89 General purpose road maps
Often published by individual states of US Often supplied in at least class-set quantities to educators without cost Usually free to travelers at information/rest stop locations, particularly near the state border Combine much information Some major physical features Roads, railroads, rivers, airports Parks, national forests, special tourist attractions State and county boundaries


91 Geographic Contribution
Superb antidote to “tunnel vision” in an age of specialization Live in a world of growing & strengthening interconnections Scope of geography can be narrow or broad enough to encompass the whole earth Has relevance to much that happens Spatial perspective reveals linkages and interconnections Cartographic aspect is extremely useful

92 What we do or don’t do, impacts the environment – we must be responsible world citizens. We have to live on earth with the consequences of our actions.

93 End of Chapter 1

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