Chapter 1 Thinking Geographically Key Issues 1. How do geographers describe where things are? 2. Why is each point on Earth unique? 3. Why are different places similar? An In-depth Social Science • Many people have misconceptions about geography and think of the discipline as simply an exercise in memorizing place names. Where we find Geography • Geography exists in the global issues receiving attention at this time. Things such as… ▫ Population growth ▫ Terrorism ▫ Cultural diffusion. Diffusion is defined as the spread of linguistic or cultural practices or innovations within a community or from one community to another. Location, Location, Location • Geography's importance can also be established by looking at community issues, such as: ▫ Water supply ▫ Pollution ▫ Growth management ▫ Housing ▫ Retail Openings Closures Thinking Geographically • In addition to political rule, boundaries can be drawn based on various components of culture including language, religion, values. Questions to Ponder • Where would the most desirable places to live be located? • What impacts would this population increase cause? Every Story Can be approached from a Geographer’s Perspective • Consider natural events and natural disasters. • Do humans choose to live in harm’s way? Spatial analysis • Geography by its nature is a spatial science. Geographers therefore study space in order to locate the distribution of people and objects. • Geographers ask two main questions, “where” and “why.” Spatial analysis is concerned with analyzing regularities achieved through interaction. Regularities result in a distinctive distribution of a feature. • Distribution has three properties: ▫ Density ▫ Concentration ▫ Pattern Relevance • Geographers observe that people are being pulled in opposite directions by two different factors: globalization and local diversity. • Tensions between these simultaneous geographic trends underlie many of the world’s problems that geographers study. ▫ Political conflicts ▫ Economic uncertainty ▫ Pollution of the environment Maps • The most important tool for geographers is a map. ▫ Two-dimensional or flat-scale model of Earth’s surface, or a portion of it. ▫ Cartography: the science of mapmaking. • Serve two purposes ▫ Tool for storing reference material. ▫ Tool for communicating geographic information. • Often the best means for showing the distribution of human activities or physical features, as well as thinking about reasons underlying a distribution. Projection • The method of transferring location on Earth’s surface to a flat map is called projection. • Earth’s spherical shape poses a challenge for cartographers because drawing Earth on a flat surface unavoidably produces distortion. Distortion • Four types of distortion ▫ Shape ▫ Distance ▫ Relative size ▫ Direction between points Examples of Map Projections Robinson Projection Azimuthal Projection Goode’s Interrupted Projection Map Scale • The scale of a map is the relation of a feature’s size on a map and its actual size on Earth’s surface. ▫ Fraction (1/24,000) ▫ Ratio (1:24,000) ▫ Written statement (1 inch equals 1 mile) ▫ Graphic bar scale Graphic Scale • A graphic scale usually consists of a bar line marked to show distances on Earth’s surface. • The bar line is used by measuring a distance on the map, then reading that distance along the bar line. • The appropriate scale for a map depends on the information being portrayed. Washington State (1:10 million scale) Western Washington (1:1 million scale) Seattle Region (1:100,000 scale) Downtown Seattle, Washington (1:10,000 scale) Scale Differences: Maps of Florida Fig. 1-3: The effects of scale in maps of Florida. (Scales from 1:10 million to 1:10,000) Spatial Association at Various Scales Fig. 1-13: Death rates from cancer in the U.S., Maryland, and Baltimore show different patterns that can identify associations with different factors. Contemporary Tools GIS • A geographic information system (GIS) is a highperformance computer system that processes geographic data. • Each type of information (topography, political boundaries, population density, manufacturing, etc.) is stored as an information layer. • GIS is most powerful when it is used to combine several layers, to show relations. Layers of a GIS Fig. 1-5: A geographic information system (GIS) stores information about a location in several layers. Each layer represents a different category of information. GPS Site vs. Situation Site: Lower Manhattan Island Fig. 1-6: Site of lower Manhattan Island, New York City. There have been many changes to the area over the last 200 years. Singapore Situation Fig. 1-7: Singapore is situated at a key location for international trade. Djibouti Pakistan World Geographic Grid Fig. 1-8: The world geographic grid consists of meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude. The prime meridian (0º) passes through Greenwich, England. World Time Zones Fig. 1-9: The world’s 24 standard time zones are often depicted using the Mercator projection. Formal and Functional Regions Fig. 1-11: The state of Iowa is an example of a formal region; the areas of influence of various television stations are examples of functional regions. Vernacular Regions Fig. 1-12: A number of factors are often used to define the South as a vernacular region, each of which identifies somewhat different boundaries. Vernacular Region Kurdistan What is Culture? • Your book defines culture as a body of customary beliefs, material trades, and social forms that together constitute the distinct tradition of a group of people. • The Latin root of culture is cultus, which means to care for. Example Agriculture (term for growing things) Diffusion • Diffusion is the process by which a characteristic spreads across space from one place to another over time. ▫ The place of origin of the characteristic is called the hearth. For example – US, Canadian, and many Latin cultures can be traced back to the European Hearth. • There are two basic types of diffusion: ▫ ▫ Relocation diffusion Expansion diffusion • Expansion Diffusion includes… ▫ ▫ ▫ Hierarchical diffusion Contagious diffusion Stimulus diffusion Space-Time Compression (1492–1962) Fig. 1-20: The times required to cross the Atlantic, or orbit the Earth, illustrate how transport improvements have shrunk the world. Cultural Ecology • Geographers also consider environmental factors as well as cultural factors, when looking at regions. • This is cultural ecology. ▫ Basically, this is the geographic study of human-environmental relations. • In the 19th Century – some geographers said that human actions were caused by environmental conditions. (environmental determinism) • This is rejected by modern geographers that say some environmental conditions limit human actions. (possibilism) • Of course now we are realizing that humans can actually adjust their environment. (For good or bad) Environmental Modification in the Netherlands Fig. 1-15: Polders and dikes have been used for extensive environmental modification in the Netherlands. Environmental Modification in Florida View of Miami Beach The barrier Island - Orchid Island. Fig. 1-16: Straightening the Kissimmee River has had many unintended side effects.