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5 Themes of Geography (examples)

Location: Chanhassen High School
Place: The Media Center
Region: Carver County
Movement: Moving from one city to another
Human/Environment Interaction: Using the trees as a resource
What is Geography?
The study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human
activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and
resources, land use, and industries
Geographic Method: 5 steps to the Geographic Method
1: Ask questions about the feature studied (where, why, how, what processes lead to
the formation)
2. Collect and acquire geographic information that can help answer questions
3. Organize, summarize, and display the geographic information gathered
4. Analyze and Interpret Data collected
5. Formulate conclusions
Perspective: A way to understand the world through the study of geography
Geographic Investigation Process example: National Census
Geographic Question example: What is the population density of this city?
Physical Geography vs. Human Geography examples: Mountains vs. a house or
GPS (Global Positioning System): A satellite-based navigation system made up of a
network of 24 satellites placed into orbit
GIS (Geographic Information System): A system designed to capture, store, manipulate,
analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data
Remote Sensing: The acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without
making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on site observation
Cartography: The science or practice of drawing maps
Types of Maps
Political: Show where the boundaries and locations of countries, states, cities, towns
and counties are, determined by people rather than nature
Physical: Indicate the location of landforms like deserts, mountains and plains

Thematic: Designed to show a particular theme connected with a specific geographic

Choropleth: A map that uses differences in shading, coloring, or the placing of symbols
within predefined areas to indicate the average values of a property or quantity in those
Dot distribution: A map type that uses a dot symbol to show the presence of a feature or
phenomenon, relying on a visual scatter to show spatial pattern
Isoline: A map with continuous lines joining points of the same value
Statistical: A special type of map in which the variation in quantity of a factor such as
rainfall, population, or crops in a geographic area is indicated; such as a dot map
Cartogram: A map that has been simplified to present a single idea in a diagrammatic
way; the base is not normally true to scale
Proportional Arrow: Used to show any kind of movement
Map Projections distortion in shape, distance, relative size & direction: The
representation on a plane surface of any part of the surface of the earth or a celestial
Map Scale - how scale can be used to manipulate information, large vs. small scale:
Distance on a map relative to the distance on Earth, for example 100 miles per inch
Toponyms: A place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature. For
example, Minnetonka, Minnesota
Site vs. Situation example: Where the grocery store is vs. The grocery store is east of
the lake and to the right of the music store
Geographic Coordinate Systems (Grid System, Latitude & Longitude): Latitude and
longitude lines form an imaginary grid over the Earth's surface. By combining longitude
and latitude measurements, any location on earth can be determined. Like a circle, the
Earth has 360 degrees. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes, which in turn is divided
into 60 seconds
Meridians: An arc drawn between the North and South poles; a measure of longitude
Parallel: A circle drawn around the globe parallel to the equator and at right angles to
the meridians
Prime Meridian: 0 degrees longitude
International Date Line: An arc that for the most part follows 180 longitude, although it
deviates in several places to avoid dividing land areas. When you cross it heading east,
the clock moves back 24 hours, and when you cross it going west the calendar moves
ahead one day
GMT Greenwich Mean Time: The mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in
Greenwich, London, which became adopted as a global time standard

Formal: A type of region marked by a certain degree of homogeneity in one or more
phenomena; also called uniform region or homogeneous region
Functional: A node or focal point linked by infrastructure or an economic association
with the surrounding area
Vernacular: A place that people believe exists as part of their cultural identity
Cultural landscape: A combination of cultural features such as language and religion,
economic features such as agriculture and industry, and physical features such as
climate and vegetation
Spatial interaction: A dynamic flow process from one location to another
Diffusion: Spreading ideas
Relocation: The spread of a feature or trend through bodily movement of people from
one place to another
Expansion: The spread of a feature or trend among people from one area to another in
a snowballing process
Contagious: The rapid, widespread diffusion of a feature or trend throughout a
Hierarchical: A form of diffusion in which an idea or innovation spreads by passing first
among the most connected places or peoples
Stimulus: The spread of an underlying principle, even though a specific characteristic is
Hearth: The area where an idea or cultural trait originates
Space-time compression: The reduction in the time it takes to diffuse something to a
distant place, as a result of improved communications and transportation systems
Distance decay: The diminishing in importance and eventual disappearance of a
phenomenon with increasing distance from its origin
Spatial Distribution: physical location of geographic phenomena across space
Concentration: spread of something of a given area
Density: # of individuals per unit area
Pattern: geometric arrangement of objects in space
Environmental determinism vs. possibilism example: African villages being less
successful because crops dont grow as easily; Africans can overcome the crop
Earths Physical Systems
Atmosphere: A mixture of gases that surrounds a planet or moon
Hydrosphere: All the water at and near the surface of the earth, 97% of which is in

Lithosphere: A rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the crust
Biosphere: Consists of all life on Earth and all parts of the Earth in which life exists,
including land, water, and the atmosphere
Ecosystem: A system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their
physical environment
Globalization: Actions or processes that involve the entire world and result in making
something worldwide in scope
Transnational Corporations: A company that conducts research, operates factories, and
sells products in many countries, not just where its headquarters or shareholders are