1.1 Geography: The science of Where, How, and WhyGeography together a human body of Knowledge

Geography look for to prize the “where,” “why,” and also the “how.” Simply knowing where a country is located is indeed helpful, but geographers destruction deeper:

Why is it situated there?Why does it have actually a particular shape, and also how does this shape impact how the interacts through its neighbors and its access to resources?Why execute the world of the nation have certain social features?Why go the country have a specific style of government?How execute we analyze trends in human-environment interactions?

The perform goes on and also on, and as you might notice, incorporates a range of historical, cultural, political, and also physical features. This synthesis of the physical world and also human task is at the heart of the regional geographic approach.

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The ax “geography” comes from the Greek ax geo- meaning “the earth” and also – graphia an interpretation “to write,” and also many beforehand geographers did exactly that: castle wrote about the world. Ibn Battuta, because that example, was a scholar indigenous Morocco and also traveled extensively throughout Africa and also Asia in the 14th century CE. Eratosthenes is typically considered to it is in the “Father of Geography,” and in fact, he quite literally composed the book on the topic in the third century BCE. His three-volume text, Geographica, contained maps the the entire known world, including various climate zones, the places of hundreds of different cities, and a coordinate system. This to be a revolutionary and highly regarded text, particularly for the time period. Eratosthenes is additionally credited together the very first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. Numerous early geographers, like Eratosthenes, were mostly cartographers, referring to human being who scientifically study and create maps, and early maps, such together those used in Babylon, Polynesia, and the Arabian Peninsula, were often used for navigation. In the middle Ages, as academic inquiry in Europe decreased with the fall of the roman Empire, Muslim geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi produced one the the most progressed maps that pre-modern times, inspiring future geographers from the region.

Geography today, though using more advanced tools and also techniques, paint, etc on the foundations laid by these predecessors. What unites every geographers, even if it is they room travelers writing about the world’s cultures or cartographers mapping brand-new frontiers, is an fist to the spatial perspective. As geographer injury deBlij as soon as explained, there room three main ways to look at the world. One method is chronological, together a historian might examine the succession of human being events. A second way is systematical, as a sociologist can explore the societal equipment in ar that aid shape a given country’s structures of inequality. The third way is spatially, and this is the geographic perspective. Geographers, when confronted with a an international problem, instantly ask the questions “Where?” and also “Why?” Although location is a vast discipline that contains quantitative methods like statistics and also qualitative methods like interviews, all geographers share this common way of looking at the people from a spatial perspective.

A Spatial body of Knowledge

At the heart of the spatial view is the inquiry of “where,” however there room a variety of different means to prize this question. Relative location describes the ar of a ar relative to various other places, and we generally use relative location when offering directions to people. Wemight instruct lock to rotate “by the gas station on the corner,” or say that us live “in the dorm throughout from the fountain.” Another method to explain a location is by referring to its absolute location. Absolute location references an accurate point top top Earth and also commonly uses details coordinates favor latitude and longitude. Lines of latitude and longitude room imaginary lines that circle the globe and form the geographic coordinate system. Currently of latitude operation laterally, parallel come the equator, and also measure ranges north or south of the equator. Lines of longitude, ~ above the various other hand, converge in ~ the poles and also measure distances east and also west of the element meridian.

Every location on earth has a precise location that can be measured with latitude and longitude. The ar of the White home in Washington, DC, because that example, is situated at latitude 38.8977 °N and also longitude 77.0365°W. Absolute location might additionally refer to details prefer elevation. The Dead Sea, located on the border of Jordan and Israel, is the lowest ar on land, dipping under to 1,378 feet listed below sea level.

Historically, most maps were hand-drawn, but with the introduction of computer an innovation came more advanced maps produced with the assist of satellite technology. Geographic information science (GIS), sometimes also referred come as geographical information systems, offers computers and satellite imagery come capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial data. GIS basically uses great of information and also is regularly used to do decisions in a wide variety of contexts. An metropolitan planner can use GIS to recognize the best location for a brand-new fire station, if a biologist could use GIS come map the migratory paths of birds. You might use GIS to obtain navigation directions from one place to another, layering ar names, buildings, and roads.

One challenge with map-making, also when using advanced technology, is that the planet is approximately a ball while maps are generally flat. When converting the spherical planet to a level map, part distortion always occurs. A map projection, or a representation of Earth’s surface on a flat plane, constantly distorts at least one the these four properties: area, shape, distance, and direction. Some maps keep three of these properties, while considerably distorting another, while other maps seek to minimize overall distortion however distort each residential property somewhat. So, i m sorry map forecast is best? That counts on the purpose of the map. The Mercator projection, while considerably distorting the dimension of areas near the poles, preservation angles and shapes, make it right for navigation.

The Winkel Tripel estimate is so-named due to the fact that its creator, Oswald Winkel, sought come minimize 3 kinds that distortion: area, direction, and also distance. It has actually been used by the nationwide Geographic culture since 1998 as the standard projection of world maps.

When representing the earth on a manageable-sized map, the actual dimension of ar is reduced. Scale is the ratio between the distance between two locations on a map and also the equivalent distance on earth surface. A 1:1000 scale map, for example, would median that 1 meters on the map equals 1000 meters, or 1 kilometer, on earth’s surface. Scale have the right to sometimes be a confusing principle for students, so it’s essential to remember that it describes a ratio. It doesn’t describe the size of the map itself, but rather, how zoomed in or out the map is. A 1:1 scale map of her room would be the precise same dimension of her room – plenty of room for far-reaching detail, but hard to fit into your glove compartment.

As through map projections, the “best” scale for a map relies on what it’s used for. If you’re going on a walking tour of a historical town, a 1:5,000 range map is generally used. If you a location student looking in ~ a map the the entire world, a 1:50,000,000 range map would be appropriate. “Large” scale and “small” scale refer to the ratio, not to the dimension of the landmass ~ above the map. 1 split by 5,000 is 0.0002, which is a bigger number 보다 1 divided by 50,000,000 (which is 0.00000002). Thus, a 1:5,000 scale map is considered “large” scale while 1:50,000,000 is considered “small” scale.

All maps have actually a purpose, even if it is it’s to overview sailing ships, help students produce a an ext accurate psychological map the the world, or tell a story. The map projection, shade scheme, scale, and labels room all decision made by the mapmaker. Some said that the widespread use of the Mercator projection, which made Africa watch smaller family member to phibìc America and Eurasia, led civilization to minimize the importance of Africa’s political and economic issues. Just as texts can be critiqued for their style, message, and also purpose, therefore too have the right to maps be critiqued because that the information and message they present.

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The spatial perspective, and also answering the question of “where,” encompasses more than just static places on a map. Often, answering the question of “where” relates to movement throughout space. Diffusion describes the spreading of something native one place to another, and also might relate to the physical activity of people or the spread of disease, or the diffusion the ideas, technology, or other intangible phenomena. Diffusion wake up for various reasons and at various rates. Simply as static functions of society and the physics landscape can be mapped, geographers can also map the spread of various characteristics or ideas to study just how they interact and change.