CHAPTER 1

CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY

INTRODUCTION

 

INTRODUCTION

Geography comes from two Greek words:

 

•      Geo – refers to the earth and

 

•      Graphein – means picture or writing

 

INTRODUCTION

Geography examines, describes, and explains the Earth and the humans that occupy it.

 

Geography attempts to explain the variations from place to place and how or why places/people  change over time.

 

Geography is often called the spatial science because it is involved with recognizing, analyzing and explaining the variations, similarities or differences in phenomena on the Earth’s surface.

 

 

CULTURAL AND PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

Because geography studies the natural environment, geography is very much a physical science.

 

Because geography also examines the human relationship to the environment, it is a social science as well.

 

PHYSICAL AND HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

Physical Geography encompasses the study of the processes and features that make up the earth.

 

Cultural or Human Geography is the study of human activities and the results of those activities.

 

WHERE AND WHY?

Cultural Geographers study the spatial aspects of human phenomena and then make maps (Where?):

•       Culture,  Economics, Population (Ethnicity)

 

Geographers then ask Why?

 

 

 

LOCATION

Absolute Location - the identification of a place using a precise accepted system.

•      Latitude and Longitude

 

 Relative Location - the position of a place in relation to that of other places or activities.

•   United States and Russia

 

SITE AND SITUATION

Geographers make a distinction between the site and situation of a place.

Site refers to the physical characteristics and attributes of a place.

Situation refers to the external relations of a place.

•      New Orleans

 

DIRECTION

Absolute Direction refers to the cardinal points of the compass (North, South, East and West)

 

Relative Direction refers to the relative aspects of direction and are locationally and culturally variable.

•      “Up North” - “Down South”

•      “Out West” - “Back East”

 

DISTANCE

Absolute Distance refers to the spatial separation of two points as measured by some accepted standard unit (feet; miles).

 

Relative Distance transforms linear measurements into something more meaningful (time).

 

LANDSCAPE

The Natural Landscape is the physical environment unaffected by human activities.

 

The Cultural Landscape is the natural landscape as modified by human activities bearing the imprint of a culture group.

•      Also known as the Built Environment.

 

THE CHANGING ATTRIBUTES OF PLACE

Places constantly change!

•      Physical Changes (Glaciers)

•      Cultural Changes (People, Culture, Language, Religion)

 

Keep in mind that the situation of a place can (and usually does) change with time.

 

 

 

ACCESSIBILITY

Accessibility - How easy or difficult is it to overcome the “friction of distance”

•      Changes in technology/networks.

 

SPATIAL DIFFUSION

Spatial Diffusion is the process of dispersion of an idea or an item from a center of origin to more distant points which may be directly or indirectly connected.

 

•      “Cheeseheads”

•      Technology

 

 

REGIONS

Geographers attempt to synthesize many phenomena to explain the whole and to organize places as regions.

•      Regions verses Historic Eras

•      Physical Regions

•      Cultural Regions

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF REGIONS

1) Regions have location.

 

2) Regions have spatial extent.

 

3) Regions have boundaries.

 

4) Regions are hierarchically arranged.

 

 

TYPES OF REGIONS

Formal Regions are areas of uniformity in one or a limited combination of physical or cultural features.

 

A Functional or Nodal Region is a spatial system defined by interactions or connections.

 

A Perceptual Region is more subjective, reflecting feelings and images.

 

GLOBES AND MAPS

 

GLOBES

The globe is nearly a perfect model of our planet. It shows the relationships between landforms and water, relative sizes of features, accurate compass directions, and distances.

•      Globes have limitations

 

LATITUDE

Earth has two fixed reference points – the north and south poles – a great circle – the equator – lies exactly between them.

 

Using the equator we can measure the angle north or south of it. This is called latitude – measured in degrees – 0 degrees at the equator;  90 degrees at the poles.

 

LONGITUDE

Any great circle that goes through the north and south poles can be a line of longitude.

In 1884, by international agreement, Greenwich, England was chosen as the prime meridian or 0° longitude.

Longitude is the angular distance east or west of the prime meridian.

 

 

 

 

 

PROPERTIES OF THE GLOBAL GRID

1. Parallels of latitude are always parallel.

2. Parallels are evenly spaced.

3. Meridians of longitude converge at the poles.

4. Meridians and parallels always cross at right angles.

 

No map projection will maintain all of these properties.

 

MAPS

Maps are tools (models) to identify regions and to analyze their content.

 

The map has become the essential and distinctive tool of the geographer.

 

MAPS AND MAP PROJECTIONS

Advantages

·  Relatively cheap to reproduce

·  A lot of information – a picture is worth a thousand words

·  Flexible – able to show all sorts of spatial data

Limitations

·  Never can depict the Earth with complete accuracy – unlike globes, every map distorts the earth in some way.

 

 

MAP PROJECTIONS

There are three types of map projections including:

 

•      Cylindrical Projection

•      Planer Projection

•      Conic Projection

 

 

CARTOGRAPHY

Cartography is the science of map making.

 

Maps and globes are visual representations (models) of the earth.

•      Ancient Maps

•      Computer Cartography

 

SIZE AND SCALE

We can refer to the size of an area as local, regional or global.

We can refer to scale in the relative sense as:

•      Large scale - Small Areas, Greater Detail

•      Small Scale - Large Areas, Little Detail

 

 

 

 

 

MAP SCALE

Scale is the relationship between size or length of a feature on a map and the same item on the earth’s surface.

Scale can be shown three different ways on maps:

•      Representative Fraction

•      Graphic or Bar Scale

•      Verbal Scale

 

SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION

The arrangement of things on the Earth’s surface is called Spatial Distribution which can be analyzed by the concepts of:

•      Density - the number of items within a defined area.

•      Dispersion - the amount of spread of a phenomenon.

•      Pattern - the arrangement of things in an area.

 

HOW MAPS SHOW DATA

There are several ways that data can be shown on maps including:

•      Dot Maps

•      Isoline Maps

•      Choropleth Maps

•      Cartograms

•      Topographic Maps

 

U.S.G.S. TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS

United States Geologic Survey (U.S.G.S.) Topographic Maps show both physical and cultural features of the United States.

 

•      Urbanized Areas. (Shaded Pink)

•      Historical Development.. (Shaded Purple)

 

HUMAN USE OF SPACE

 

DISTANCE DECAY

Our lives and activities are influenced by the friction of distance.

 

Distance Decay describes the decline of an activity with increasing distance from its point of origin.

 

HUMAN SPATIAL BEHAVIOR

Territoriality is the emotional attachment and the defense of home ground

•      Street Gangs

 

Personal Space is the zone of privacy and separation from others.

•      Culture

•      Beach – Library

 

ACTIVITY SPACE

Activity Space is the area within which people move freely on their rounds of regular activity.

 

The size or shape of an individuals activity space is dependent on:

•      Stage in Life

•      Means of Mobility (Socio-economics)

•      Demands and/or Opportunities

 

AWARENESS SPACE

Awareness Space is the location or places about which an individual has knowledge even if the individual has not visited every part of their awareness space.

This is a persons activity space and beyond based on knowledge; real or perceived.

The size or shape of an individuals awareness space is dependent on:

•      Stage in Life

•      Means of Mobility

 

INFORMATION AND PERCEPTION

Place Perception is the awareness we have, as individuals, of areas that are close by or far away and the beliefs we hold about them.

 

Whether the perceptions are based on real information or not our behavior patterns will be based on our perceptions.

 

 

 

 

MENTAL MAPS

Mental Maps are images about an area that are individually developed based on information (real or perceived) or impressions.

 

•      Age.

•      Socioeconomics.