Introduction To Geography
I. Thinking Like A Geographer
A) Geography Skills
1) Asking Geographic Questions
2) Acquiring Geographic Information
3) Organizing Geographic Information
4) Analyzing Geographic Information
5) Answering Geographic Questions
B) Latitude, Longitude and Location
1) Latitude
2) Longitude
3) The Global Grid
Section I Study Questions:
1) What are some tools for acquiring geographic information?
2) What tools are used to organize geographic information?
3) What tools can be used to analyze geographic information?
4) What is the Global Grid?
II. From Globes To Maps
A) Globes – 3 Dimensional Scale Model of the Earth
B) Maps – 2 Dimensional Representation of the Earth
C) From 3D to 2D: Globe = Fruit; Map = Peel
D) Map Projections: Planar, Cylindrical, Conic.
Section II Study Questions:
1) What is a projection & how are they made?
2) What are the advantages of the 3 main
types of projections?
3) What is a “Great Circle Route”?
III. Common Map Projections
A) Winkel Tripel: Balance between size & shape, little distortion Section III Study Questions:
B) Robinson Projection: Minor distortions at center and poles
1) Compare and contrast the four
most common projections.
C) Goode Projection: True size & shape, distorted distances
is a Geographic
D) Mercator: Distortions toward poles, accurate distances.
Information System (GIS)?
IV. Reading a Map
A) Key: A List of Symbols
B) Compass Rose: defines directions
C) Cities: Dots of differing sizes. Star for Capital
D) Scale Bar: defines distances
1) Small Scale: Map that shows a large area
2) Large Scale: Map that shows small area in greater detail
E) Absolute vs Relative Location
V. Types of Maps
A) General Purpose Maps
1) Physical Map: Topography, physical features
2) Political Map: Countries, states, boundaries, etc.
B) Special Purpose Maps
Economics, Population Density, Climate, Religion, etc.
VI. Graphs, Charts & Diagrams
A) Graphs
1) Line
2) Bar
3) Circle/Pie
B) Charts & Tables
Data organized in rows and columns
C) Diagrams
Drawings that illustrate objects or ideas.
Section IV Study Questions:
1) What purpose do the key,
compass rose and scale bars
on a map serve?
2) Explain the difference between
absolute and relative location
Section V Study Questions:
1) Explain the difference between a
physical and political map?
2) Give examples of special purpose
maps and how they are used
The Five Themes in Geography
1. Location: Position on the Earth's Surface (Absolute/Relative).
Geographic study begins with the location of places on the earth. Places have absolute locations
that pinpoint them on the earth, and relative locations that place each location in respect to other
locations. For example, Wisconsin has an absolute location that can be pointed to on any basic
map. It also has a relative location. in that it has a location within the economic system, based
on its characteristics and location within the world market.
2. Place: Physical and Human Characteristics.
Place have physical and human characteristics that make them what they are. Geography
emphasizes the understanding of both of these factors and their integration together.
3. Human/Environment Interactions: Shaping the Landscape.
The landscape of the earth is no longer a purely physical feature. Human have impact every area
of the earth, but in varying ways. The geography of places is influenced by the degree to which
humans have impacted their local environment.
4. Movement: Humans Interacting on the Earth.
The postmodern world is one of great interaction between places. This movement is inherently
geographic, whether it is by telecommunications or ship.
5. Regions: How They Form and Change. T
The essential geographic feature is the region. A region is any unit of space that is unified by the
presence of some characteristic. The Corn Belt, stretching from Indiana to eastern Nebraska, is
an area in which corn is a dominating product. The Corn Belt is a region within the United

Geography Skills Study Guide