Geography The study of the distribution and interaction of physical and human features on the earth (p.5) Geo= Earth Graphy= to describe or write about
The Five Themes of Geography Location Where is it? Location can be described in two different ways…
Absolute Location To find absolute location, geographers use a system of imaginary lines crisscrossing the earth called lines of latitude and lines of longitude.
Latitude Lines of latitude run east-west across the globe. They are all parallel to each other and so are sometimes called ‘parallels.’
Note that the Equator is the 0o point. Every line north of the equator is designated as xoN. Every line south of the equator is designated as xoS.
There are 90 degrees of latitude per hemisphere.
Each degree is broken up into 60 minutes and each minute is broken up into 60 seconds.
Longitude Lines of longitude run north-south and they meet at the north and south poles. These are also called ‘meridians.’
The 0o longitude is called the prime meridian and it runs through Greenwich, England.
Every meridian to the east of it is called xoE and every meridian to the west of it is called xoW.
Why Greenwich? Because astronomers decided on it in 1884.
As the earth is a spherical object (it’s not a perfect sphere, mind you), there are a total of 360o of longitude with 180o in each of the two hemispheres, the eastern hemisphere and the western hemisphere.
Just like with latitude, there are 60 minutes in each degree and 60 seconds in each minute.
To help remember the difference between latitude and longitude, think of latitude as being like a ladder.
When describing the absolute location of a particular spot on the globe, you say the latitude first and then the longitude.
So you’d say, it’s at 48 degrees 12 minutes 45 seconds south latitude and 89 degrees 54 minutes 1 second east longitude. This is written as 48o12’45”S 89o54’1”E
About where is this? How about you? Where are you now?
Ah, there you are… sitting comfortably at about 29o30’45”N 95o12’31”W
Relative location Where something is relative to something else around it. In relation to Friendswood, Houston is to the north. In relation to Conroe, however, Houston is to the south. Chicago is on Lake Michigan
Place What is it like? This includes the physical features and cultural characteristics of a location that set it apart from other locations. What’s the climate? Dry, rainy, temperate? What’s the terrain? Mountains, plains? What’s the vegetation? Lush, sparse? Are there highways, houses, etc.?
Region How are places similar or different? What about a particular area unites it with similar characteristics? May be physical, political, economic, or cultural Regions are categorized in three ways
Formal Regions Regions defined by a limited number or related characteristics, e.g. a specific climate, vegetation, and land use. Such regions include East Asia, South Asia, the U.S. and Canada, and Latin America
Functional Regions Organized around a set of interactions and connections between places. There’s usually a hub that links other places. The Houston metro area is a functional region that includes Houston proper as the hub and all the suburbs, e.g. Conroe, Clear Lake, Friendswood.
Perceptual Regions A region that people perceive as being connected by certain characteristics, but individuals differ on the characteristics.
Human-Environment Interaction How do people relate to the physical world? People interact with their environment in different ways and for different purposes. Houstonians interact with their environment far differently in January than do folks in Anchorage, Alaska, for example. How do people interact with their surroundings?
Movement How do people, goods, and ideas move from one location to another? Three types: Linear distance: How far must something travel? What affects the distance (mountains, rivers, etc.)? Time distance: How much time does it take for something to travel from point to point? What affects this? Improved locomotion, better roads, etc.? Psychological distance: How far away do we perceive things to be, why do we perceive it this way, and how does it affect our choices?