- the study of the interaction between human beings and their
environment and the spatial organization of human activities
First law of geography
- Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related
to each other than distant things.
- Greece initiated two major geographic traditions
o Literary: Written descriptions of the known world. Eratosthenes
(aka the Father of Geography) coined this term
o Mathematical: Ptolemy utilized the longitude and latitude system,
but Hipparchus invented the system. All recent maps use the
th th mathematical approach.
5 -15 Century Geography
- The European Decline
o Medieval Europeans believed that god had designed the earth for
humans – TELELOGY
o They knew little about their immediate surroundings. Rather than
use the Greek literary and mathematical system, they used a “T-O
Map” which is based on the cross/religious theory.
- During this time, other countries were formulating their own ideas of
15 -17 Century Geography
- European Resurgence
o Creation of map printing technology and the establishment of
centers of geographic analysis are factors that contributed to the
resurgence. At this time, Europeans are using the Ptolmec map.
o Exploration amongst their immediate surroundings called for
better/detailed maps that were based on actual geography and not
- Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal
o Initiated the exploration of Africa
o Exploration is not geography per se, but they are definitely related.
- MERCATOR projection (1569)
o Flat rectangle with a grid of latitude and longitude lines.
o EVERY single map we came up with derived from the Mercator
Fantasy and propaganda in exploration
- As these earlier maps were being developed, they helped reinforce the
notion of xenophobia (fear of people from other regions). Things like
“here be dragons” or “the Nigroe, whose king hath but one eye” were
placed on maps.
- The beer ads of the 17 century. Women were being portrayed on maps,
reinforcing the idea of virgin territories that were ready to be penetrated 1650-1800: Broadening Vistas
- Map making and exploration continues, but these advances called for a
wide range of geographic issues
o Unity of the human race
o The role of the physical environment as a cause of civilization
o The relationship between population density and productivity
- Immanuel Kant: Asserted that geography and history together comprised
of all knowledge. (First person to “integrate” humans and geography
- Full-fledged academic disciple by 1903 (first North American University
- Ratzel: The founder of human geography “Anthropogeography” – focus on
the human made landscape
- Paul Vidal de la Blache: introduced a geographic method: “geographie
Vidalienne” – relations between humans and land, human-made
- Royal Geographic Society: exploration, mapping and description;
influenced first geography dept. at oxford.
1903 – 1970: Prelude to Present
- Environmental determinism – The belief that the physical environment
largely determined the cultural landscape. This is WRONG (racist…
- 3 main themes
o Humans and Land
“Landscape school” – Human made, cultural landscapes and
“possibilism” – reaction to environmental determinism,
people make choices not determined by physical
o Regional studies –
Study and definition of regions – “Aeral Definition”
o Spatial Analysis
Search for principles of spatial organization
Measurement and analysis (led to majority of current geog)
- Remember that maps always distort reality.
- “all maps are white lie” Monomier
- the only way maps work is if their users are aware of their strengths,
limitations and diversity.
- Best representation of the earth is a globe. Something is always wrong
with 2D maps because they distort reality. Globe properties
o Equator… “parallels” lines that run east to west as circles which
are parallel to the equator
o Longitude (prime meridian) – Angular distance lines directly east
or west of the prime meridian running north to south
All meridians are equal length; each one is half of the
All meridians converge at the poles and are true
Parallels decrease in length as one nears the poles
Meridians and parallels intersect at right angles
o Lines of longitude appear parallel, lines of latitude get further
apart the higher or lower you go.
o Characterized by straight meridians and then curved parallels
o Shows direction and scale from a single point to all other points on
- EVERY map distorts at least 3 of the following properties: Shape, area,
- Classification of by preservation of a metric property
o Conformal: No map can preserve the shape of large areas on the
globe. These maps preserve the shape in small areas, but not the
rest. (Size of Greenland on some maps)
o Equal area: These projections show the areas of all regions on the
map in the same proportion to their true areas on the globe. Area
is similar but the shape is NOT
o Equidistant: No map can show the correct distance between every
point on the map, but only from one or two points.
- Robinson projections
o Neither equal area or conformal
- Winkel-Tripel projection
o Best suited for mapping the entire world
Maps for human geography
- Thematic map – Maps that are designed to represent the spatial
dimensions of conditions, processes or events. (Example: dot map for
- Cloropleth map – Thematic map using color to indicate density of a
particular phenomenon (example: Overweight/obesity percentage)
- Isopleth maps – lines are used to connect locations of equal data value.
Can be used for social data as well - Proportional symbol maps: Graduated circles = frequency of occurrence.
The bigger the circle, the more things that are going on in that area.
- Cartogram maps – some thematic mapping is substituted for land area or
distance etc. (for example, population map where india and china are
more expanded than all of north America to show population)
- Original design in 1931 by Harry Beck
GIS and remote
- A Geographic Information System is a computer based tool that combines
the storage, display, analysis and mapping of spatially referenced data
- Two types of GIS data:
o Raster based – Area mapped is represented in pixels, includes
aerial satellite imagery (google earth view)
o Vector based – three types – polygon, line (or arc) and point data
o “Nadar” First balloon photography over Paris 1858
No photographs of his were recovered
o James Wallace Black, 1860, first clear aerial photo of the city.
o 1-41 cm resolution for the government but others cannot legally
see it past 0.5m resolution.
Researching process for HGP
- Deductive reasoning
o Top down logic. Theory first then to confirmation
- Inductive reasoning
o Bottom down logic. Observations first and then theory
- Clarifying the problem
- Collecting data
- Analyzing data
- Making conclusions
- We know through experience and experience only, those things that
o Sensory experience: objectivity and facts
o Describe rather than theorize
o Fundamental assumption of positivism
- Rigorous and formal; in principle, clear and straightforward
- Hypothesis, law, theory
- Human geography needs to be objective; the personal beliefs of the
geography should not influence research activity
- Human geography can be studied ju