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Lecture 4

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Walter Peace

September 19, 2012 Introduction - "The end result and final goal of all geographic investigations, explorations, and surveys is the depiction of the Earth's surface: the map. The map is the basis for geography. The map shows us what we know about our Earth in the best, clearest, and most exact way." - August Petermann Geographer - Map: a geographic representation of a part of the Earth's surface - Essential quality of maps - they are representations of a locality or place, i.e., maps are locational images - Questions: (1) What do maps tell us? (2) How should we read maps? (3) Why are maps so important to geographers? The Elements of Maps 1. The Global Grid - Key reference points which enables us to determine "where" something is located on the Earth - North Pole - South Pole - Equator (Each of these is given in nature) - Prime Meridian (Agreed upon by cartographers as the meridian of longitude which asses through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England) - Given these four reference points and the fact that a circle (Earth) contains 360 degrees, then: - The distance between the poles is 180 degrees, and the distance between the equator and each pole is 90 degrees. - Latitude (1) Measure of distance north and south of the equator (2) Parallels of latitude run east-west (3) All parallels of latitude are parallel to each other and to the equator (4) Parallels decrease in length close to the poles - Longitude (1) Measure of the angular distance east/west of the Prime Meridian (2) Meridians of longitude run north-south (3) All meridians are of equal length, and each meridian is one-half the length of the Equator (4) All meridians converge at the poles - Combining lines (parallels) of latitude with lines (meridians) of longitude, we get a grid in which: (1) Meridians and parallels intersect at right angels (2) The scale (see below) on the surface of the earth is the same in every direction* * Only the globe itself retains these characteristics. When the grid is projected onto a flat surface, distortion occurs. 2. Scale: The relationship or ration between the size of a feature on a map and the same feature on the Earth's surface. - Example: A 1:50,000 scale means that 1 inch on the map represents 50,000 inches on the Earth's surface - Note: - (1) The smaller the scale, the larger the area being represented on the map? (Why is this the case?) - (2) A smaller scale map is more generalized (less detailed) than a large scale map (which is more detailed) Types of map scales: (1) Graphic line scales (2) Verbal scale - "1 cm on the map represents 1km on the Earth" (3) Representative fraction 1:50,000 3. Projection - Critical challenge facing cartographers: How to display the curved surface of the earth on a flat sheet of paper? - Map Projectio
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