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Introduction to Human
Chapter 1
Map forms
Choropleth maps
These maps, where each spatial unit is filled with a uniform
color or pattern. These types of maps are good for showing the
dominance of a certain trait. Here is a definition I found on
another website:Choropleth (colour shaded) maps. This is the
most common type, and is especially appropriate for showing
standardised data such as rates, densities or percentages. A
different colour is used for each of a number of bands, allowing
users to identify which areas have high, low or middling values.
So if you want to know which area has a higher divorce rate
versus areas that are less dominant with this trait. Choropleth is
the best version to go with.
Isopleth maps
Isopleth maps differ from choropleth maps in that the data is not aggregated to a
pre-defined unit like a political area (ie a county or a state). These maps can take
two forms:
Lines of equal attribute value are drawn such that all values on one side are higher
than the "isoline" value and all values on the other side are lower, or
Ranges of similar attribute value are filled with similar colors or patterns.
This type of map is used to represent continuous area data that varies smoothly
over space. Temperature, for example, is a phenomenon that should be mapped
using isoplething, since temperature exists at every point (is continuous), yet does
not change abruptly at any point (like tax rates do as you cross into another political
zone). Elevation maps should always be in isopleth form for this reason.
Simple Explanation: Isoline maps take an area
that has one value and draws a line around it.
For example if the temperature of Chicago's
lakefront was 80 today then that area would
have a line drawn around it. The area that went
higher than 80 would be on the other side of
that line. So each time you cross the line you
are changing temperature. The lines are drawn
to connect temperature zones. Isoline maps
are often used for weather or elevation and
each time you cross a line a number is going
up or down (height, depth, temperature, etc)
Dot maps
Used to represent themes that vary smoothly
over space but are discrete, dot maps create a
visual impression of density by placing a dot or
some other symbol in the approximate location
of one or more instances of the variable being
mapped. Dot maps should be used only for raw
data, not for data normalized or expressed as a
ratio. Appropriate themes for dot maps include
livestock farms, utility poles, and population
distribution in a region.
Dot maps help to show patterns and go along with
raw data. Let's say you are looking for where crimes
occur and how best to deal with them. A dot map
would show you if the crimes are occurring in alleys
or in parking lots or on certain streets. Each dot on
the map would be a precise location and the more
dots, the more the crimes are occuring in that area.
This helps you to understand where crimes are
occuring and to see a pattern. So dot maps go with
raw data and patterns.
Cell Towers in America
Map Scale
• What does map scale determine and how
does it determine it?
• The scientific method of transferring
locations on Earth's surface to a flat map
• What are the 4 key issues
• Look at Goode's Atlas
• The Land Ordinance of 1785 was adopted by the United States Congress on May
20, 1785. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress did not have the power
to raise revenue by direct taxation of the inhabitants of the United States.
Therefore, the immediate goal of the ordinance was to raise money through the
sale of land in the largely unmapped territory west of the original colonies
acquired from Britain at the end of the Revolutionary War.
• The 1785 ordinance laid the foundations of land policy in the United States of
America until passage of the Homestead Act in 1862. The Land Ordinance
established the basis for the Public Land Survey System. The initial surveying
was performed by Thomas Hutchins. After he died in 1789, responsibility for
surveying was transferred to the Surveyor General. Land was to be systematically
surveyed into square "townships", six miles (9.656 km) on a side. Each of these
townships were sub-divided into thirty-six "sections" of one square mile (2.59
km²) or 640 acres. These sections could then be further subdivided for sale to
settlers and land speculators.
• The ordinance was also significant for establishing a mechanism for funding
public education. Section 16 in each township was reserved for the maintenance
of public schools. Many schools today are still located in section sixteen of their
respective townships
Geographic information system
• A geographic information system (GIS), or geographical
information system, captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and
presents data that is linked to location.
• In the strictest sense, the term describes any information
system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and
displays geographic information. In a more generic sense, GIS
applications are tools that allow users to create interactive
queries (user created searches), analyze spatial information,
edit data, maps, and present the results of all these
operations. Geographic Information Science is the science
underlying the geographic concepts, applications and
systems, taught in degree and GIS Certificate programs at
many universities.
• GIS technology can be used for scientific investigations, resource
management, asset management, archaeology, environmental impact
assessment, urban planning, cartography, criminology, geographic
history, marketing, logistics, Prospectivity Mapping, and other purposes.
For example, GIS might allow emergency planners to easily calculate
emergency response times in the event of a natural disaster, GIS might
be used to find wetlands that need protection from pollution, or GIS can
be used by a company to site a new business location to take advantage
of a previously under-served market.
• Map information in a GIS must be
manipulated so that it registers, or fits, with
information gathered from other maps.
Before the digital data can be analyzed, they
may have to undergo other manipulations—
projection and coordinate conversions, for
example—that integrate them into a GIS.
• Geocoding is interpolating spatial locations
(X,Y coordinates) from street addresses or
any other spatially referenced data such as
ZIP Codes, parcel lots and address locations.
A reference theme is required to geocode
individual addresses, such as a road
centerline file with address ranges. The
individual address locations are interpolated,
or estimated, by examining address ranges
along a road segment. These are usually
provided in the form of a table or database.
• Geostatistics is a point-pattern analysis that
produces field predictions from data points.
It is a way of looking at the statistical
properties of those special data.
• Remote sensing is the small or large-scale acquisition of information of
an object or phenomenon, by the use of either recording or real-time
sensing device(s) that is not in physical or intimate contact with the
object (such as by way of aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, buoy, or ship). In
practice, remote sensing is the stand-off collection through the use of a
variety of devices for gathering information on a given object or area.
Thus, Earth observation or weather satellite collection platforms, ocean
and atmospheric observing weather buoy platforms, monitoring of a
pregnancy via ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron
Emission Tomography (PET), and space probes are all examples of
remote sensing. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of
imaging sensor technologies including but not limited to the use of
instruments aboard aircraft and spacecraft, and is distinct from other
imaging-related fields such as medical imaging.
• The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a global navigation satellite
system (GNSS) developed by the United States Department of Defense
and managed by the United States Air Force 50th Space Wing. It is the
only fully functional GNSS in the world, can be used freely, and is often
used by civilians for navigation purposes. It uses a constellation of
between 24 and 32 medium Earth orbit satellites that transmit precise
radiowave signals, which allow GPS receivers to determine their current
location, the time, and their velocity. Its official name is NAVSTAR GPS.
Although NAVSTAR is not an acronym,[1] a few backronyms have been
created for it.[2]
• Since it became fully operational in 1993, GPS has become a widely
used aid to navigation worldwide, and a useful tool for map-making,
land surveying, commerce, scientific uses, and hobbies such as
Key Question:
What is Human Geography?
Human Geography
• The study of how people make places, how
we organize space and society, how we
interact with each other in places and
across space, and how we make sense of
others and ourselves in our locality, region,
and world.
Geographers use fieldwork to
understand linkages among places
and to see the complexities of issues
Why do
grow tea
and coffee
instead of
cash crops?
A set of processes that are:
- increasing interactions
- deepening relationships
- heightening
without regard to
country borders.
A set of outcomes that are:
- unevenly distributed
- varying across scales
- differently manifested
throughout the world.
Imagine and describe the most remote place on
Earth you can think of 100 years ago. Now,
describe how globalization has changed this
place and how the people there continue to
shape the place – to make it the place it is
Key Question:
What are Geographic
Geographic inquiry
focuses on the spatial:
- the spatial arrangement of places
and phenomena (human and
- how are things organized on Earth?
- how do they appear on the landscape?
- why? where? so what?
Spatial distribution
What processes create and sustain the pattern of a distribution?
Map of Cholera Victims
in London’s Soho District
in 1854.
The patterns of victim’s
homes and water pump
locations helped uncover
the source of the disease.
Five Themes of Geography
• Location
• Human-Environment
• Region
• Place
• Movement
Sense of place: infusing a place with meaning
and emotion.
Perception of place: belief or understanding of
what a place is like, often based on books,
movies, stories, or pictures.
of Place
Where Pennsylvanian
students prefer to live
Where Californian
students prefer to live
Spatial interaction: the interconnectedness
between places depends upon:
Cultural Landscape
The visible human imprint on the landscape.
Religion and
diffuse with
Hindu migrants
from India to
Sequent Occupance
Layers of imprints in a cultural landscape that
reflect years of differing human activity.
Athens, Greece
ancient Agora
surrounded by
modern buildings
Sequent Occupance
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
African, Arab, German, British, and Indian layers to the city.
Apartment in Mumbai, India
Apartment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Geographers who practice fieldwork keep their
eyes open to the world around them and through
practice become adept at reading cultural
landscapes. Take a walk around your campus or
town and try reading the cultural landscape.
Choose one thing in the landscape and ask
yourself, “what is that and why is it there?” Take
the time to find out the answers!
Key Question:
Why do Geographers use Maps,
and What do Maps Tell Us?
Two Types of Maps:
Reference Maps
- Show locations of
places and geographic
- Absolute locations
Thematic Maps
- Tell a story about the
degree of an attribute,
the pattern of its
distribution, or its
- Relative locations
What are reference
maps used for?
What are thematic maps
used for?
What story
about median
income in the
Washington, DC
area is this map
Mental Maps:
maps we carry in our minds of places we
have been and places we have heard of.
can see:
terra incognita, landmarks, paths,
and accessibility
Activity Spaces:
the places we travel to routinely in our
rounds of daily activity.
How are activity spaces and mental maps related?
a collection of
computer hardware
and software that
permits storage and
analysis of layers of
spatial data.
a method of
collecting data by
instruments that
are physically
distant from the
area of study.
Give a friend or family member a blank piece of
paper. Ask the person to draw a detailed map of
how he or she gets from home to the place
where most of his or her weekdays are spent
(work, school). Note the age of the person and
the length of time he or she has lived in the
place and traveled the route. Analyze the map
for terra incognita, landmarks, paths, and
accessibility. What does the map reveal about
the person’s lifestyle and activity space?
Key Question:
Why are Geographers Concerned
with Scale and Connectedness?
Scale is the territorial extent of something.
The observations we make and the context
we see vary across scales, such as:
- local
- regional
- national
- global
Scale is a powerful concept because:
- Processes operating at different scales
influence one another.
- What is occurring across scales provides
context for us to understand a
- People can use scale politically to change
who is involved or how an issue is
- e.g. Zapatistas rescale their movement
- e.g. laws jump scales, ignoring cultural differences
Formal region: defined by a commonality,
typically a cultural linkage or a physical
e.g. German speaking region of Europe
Functional region: defined by a set of social,
political, or economic activities or the
interactions that occur within it.
e.g. an urban area
Perceptual Region: ideas in our minds, based
on accumulated knowledge of places and
regions, that define an area of “sameness”
or “connectedness.”
e.g. the South
the Mid-Atlantic
the Middle East
The meanings of regions are often contested. In Montgomery,
Alabama, streets named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis
and Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks intersect.
Photo credit: Jonathan Leib
Culture is an all-encompassing term that
identifies not only the whole tangible
lifestyle of peoples, but also their prevailing
values and beliefs.
- cultural trait
- cultural complex
- cultural hearth
Diffusion: the process of dissemination, the
spread of an idea or innovation from its
hearth to other areas.
What slows/prevents diffusion?
- time-distance decay
- cultural barriers
Types of Diffusion
• Expansion Diffusion – idea or innovation
spreads outward from the hearth
• Contagious – spreads adjacently
• Hierarchical – spreads to most linked people or
places first.
• Stimulus – idea promotes a local experiment or
change in the way people do things.
Because Hindus believe cows are
holy, cows often roam the streets in
villages and towns. The McDonalds
restaurants in India feature veggie
Types of Diffusion
• Relocation diffusion –
Paris, France
movement of individuals who carry
an idea or innovation with them to
a new, perhaps distant locale.
Photo credit: H.J. de Blij
Photo credit: A.B. Murphy
Once you think about different types of diffusion,
you will be tempted to figure out what kind of
diffusion is taking place for all sorts of goods,
ideas, or diseases. Please remember any good,
idea or disease can diffuse in more than one
way. Choose a good, idea, or disease as an
example and describe how it diffused from its
hearth across the globe, referring to at least
three different types of diffusion.
Key Question:
What are Geographic Concepts,
and How are they used in
Answering Geographic Questions?
Geographic Concepts
Ways of seeing the world spatially that are
used by geographers in answering research
Old Approaches to
Human-Environment Questions:
• Environmental Determinism (has been
rejected by almost all geographers)
• Possibilism (less accepted today)
New Approaches to
Human-Environment Questions:
• Cultural ecology
• Political ecology
Create a strong (false) statement about a people
and their environment using either
environmental determinism or possibilism.
Determine how the statement you wrote is false,
taking into consideration the roles of culture,
politics, and economy in human-environment