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Human Geography Class Notes.doc

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Sean Doherty

What is Human Geography? Fascination is not the same as understanding o Geographers try to understand the land around them o Connected through various sources, such as Google Maps/Streetview/Earth Geography is the examination of the spatial development of human features and activities o Within certain places, regions, globally o Agriculture, populations, pollution, cities, travel, diseases, etc Explanation Observation then Maps Statistical Models Diagrams Conceptual Models Tables Mathematical Models Etc. Etc Basic Tools and Concepts Mental Maps Location GPS GIS Maps Distance Space Accessibility Spatial Interaction Scale Mental Maps o Formal: Cognitive images representing a persons perceptions, ideas, and knowledge of a location o Practical: What you see in your minds eye when you think of a place Basic Elements of a Mental Map Landmarks Signs Memories Pathways/Roads Boundaries Buildings Names/Labels Orientation Weather People Terrain Nodes (gatherings) Districts Emotions What good are they? o Mental Maps influence human behaviour and activities Navigation Shopping Images of certain city districts Place marketing Emotional Attachments to places Sense of Identity and Belonging Location Names, regions, places Relative location Longitude, Latitude Latitude is the angle expressed in degrees & minutes North or South of the Equator Longitude is the Angle east or west of the Prime Meridian Geographers Tools Cartography (mapmaking) GIS (Geographic Information System) GPS (Global Positioning System) Qualitative techniques (Interview, Participant Observation, Textual Analysis) Quantitative techniques (Questionnaires, Statistics) What is a Map? 2-dimesional flat representation of a part of the Earths surface What is its purpose? Simplifies reality so we can comprehend reality All comes at a price o Selection, generalization, standards and conventions, etc. o Just shows simplified view; no textures, no specific details Cartography Art + Science of Mapmaking Traditionally, used for primary description Recently, used for analysis, explanation, prediction MAPS ARE NOT TRUE OR REAL Maps are created by people Maps are repositories of trust and controlled fiction Some publishers deliberately place in watermarks or mistakes to protect map copyrights Other methods of cover up is covering over parts of land with different types of land Decisions in Mapmaking Map Scale o How much do we want to show (area & detail)? Map Type o What do we want to show? (based on data) Map Projection o Which of the following do we want to show undistorted (area size, shape or distance)? Map Type o What do we want to show? Dot Map Raw values (basic locations) Discrete (countable) phenomena Exact locations Choropleth Map Derived values (percentages) Density, frequency Needs to show contrast between each level Globe Changed Tsunami (2001) made many islands disappear Shifted locations of islands and shorelines Greece (2006) was affected by an earthquake that moved it 6m closer to Africa Isoline (or Isopleth) Map Lines connect points of equal value Continuous phenomena Weather maps Proportional Symbol Map Symbol proportional to value of the phenomenon Cartogram Space distorted in proportion to mapped phenomenon GPS Global Positioning System Receives (transmits information) All based on receiving time, signals; closest satellite will send signals based on the time between when the signal is received Triangulation o Using 3 people to pinpoint location Location is retrieved by timing of signal and triangulation Errors were used by governments to give false/inaccurate signals Applications o To locate position, to track area o Espionage, military recon, judge enemy land o To navigate
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