# The Five Themes of Geography Chapter 1, Section 1.

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The Five Themes of Geography Chapter 1, Section 1

What is geography?  Geography is the study of the earth.  Geographers work to answer two specific questions:  Where are things located?  Why are they there?

The Five Themes of Geography  To help answer those questions, geographers look at the world from the perspective of five different themes, or ideas:  Location  Region  Place  Movement  Human-Environment Interaction

Location  The first theme geographers use to understand the world is location. Understanding where something is is a major question for geographers.  Geographers talk about two kinds of location:  Relative location – describing’s something location in relation to something else  Exact location – describing something’s location using a coordinate system

Location One tool geographers have for describing location is the compass rose. The compass rose helps geographers to identify the cardinal directions – north, south, east and west – as well as the intermediate directions – northwest, northeast, southeast and southwest.

Location: Latitude and Longitude  When geographers need to give an exact location, they use latitude and longitude.  Latitude and longitude lines are measured in degrees. These degrees divide the globe into a grid.

Location: Latitude  Latitude measures the distance north or south of the Equator, or 0° latitude.

Location: Longitude  Longitude measures the distance east or west of the Prime Meridian, or 0° longitude.

Location: Latitude and Longitude  To give an exact location, geographers can use a map to find a location’s coordinates – the latitude and longitude degrees.  For example, Mount Holly, NJ is located at 40 °N, 75 °W.

Location: The Hemispheres  Latitude and longitude lines also allow geographers to describe location with hemispheres.  The Equator divides the Earth into a Northern Hemisphere and a Southern Hemisphere.  The Prime Meridian divides the Earth into a Western Hemisphere and an Eastern Hemisphere.

Place  The second theme geographers study is place.  Place looks at all of the physical and human characteristics that exist within a location, such as landmarks and landforms.  Places can often be locations themselves:  For example, New Jersey is a location, and Edison is a place within that location. However, Edison can also be a location, and Wardlaw-Hartridge is a place within that location … and so on!

Region  To help compare and contrast different locations, geographers use the theme region.  Regions are locations that are grouped together because they have something in common.  Regions are often formed because of similarities in their populations, history, climate, or physical features.

Region  What features tie together the states in the Southwest region?

Region  What features tie together the Catskills region of New York?

Movement  Geographers use the theme of movement to help understand how people move across locations and regions.  Movement examines the ways that people, goods and ideas travel around the world, influencing culture, history and politics.

Human-Environment Interaction  The final theme geographers consider when doing their work is Human-Environment Interaction.  This theme looks at the ways people depend on their environment, adapt to their environment, and change their environment.