Chapter One

An Introduction to Human Geography
The Cultural Landscape, 9e
James M. Rubenstein
Chapter 1
Victoria Alapo, Instructor
Geog 1050
How Geographers Address
• Maps
Early mapmaking
Mathematical location (Longitude & Latitude)
Map scale
Maps of the Marshall Islands
A Polynesian “stick chart” depicts patterns of waves on the sea route between two South
Pacific islands. Modern maps show the locations of these Marshall Islands.
World Political Boundaries (2004)
National political boundaries are among the most significant elements of the cultural landscape
How Geographers Address
Location: Projections
How Geographers Address
Location (cont’d)
1) Mercator’s Projection
2) Goode’s Interrupted Projection
3) Robinson’s Projection: compromise
btw the 2.
Mercator’s Cylindrical Projection
Interrupted Projection
Robinson’s Projection
Mathematical location: Longitude
and Latitude
• Longitude
– Measures distance east or west around the globe beginning
at the Prime Meridian
– 2 most important lines: Prime Meridian & International Date
– 0-180 degrees East or West
• Latitude
– Location on the Earth’s surface between the equator and
either the north or south pole
– Also called parallels
– 0-90 degrees North or South
• See Greenwich Meridian Photos
The Geographic Grid
World Geographic Grid
The world geographic grid consists of meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude.
The prime meridian (0º) passes through Greenwich, England. See Photos.
World Time Zones
The world’s 24 standard time zones are often depicted using the Mercator projection.
Map Scale
• The relationship of a feature’s size on a map
to it’s actual size on earth (comparison).
• Different types e.g.
• A) Fractional scale – 1/24,000
• B) Ratio scale – 1:24,000
• C) Written scale – one inch represents
• D) Graphic scale (see textbook, e.g. pg 10)
• See Appendix, pg 502 for more information.
Map Scale (continued)
• Large and Small Scales:
– A large scale map has a small denominator and
shows more detail e.g. an architect’s blueprint
(e.g. 1:10, 1:100)
– A small scale map is the opposite e.g. a globe.
Less detail, large denominator (e.g. 1:1,000,000)
– Which is small and large scale on next slide?
– Which Seattle (pg 10) or Florida map is large or
small scale?
Scale Differences: Maps of Florida
The effects of scale in maps of Florida. (Scales from 1:10 million to 1:10,000)
How Geographers Address
Location (cont’d)
• Contemporary Tools for making maps:
– GIS (Geographic Info Systems); e.g. how a globe is
– Remote sensing is acquisition of data about Earth’s
surface from a satellite orbiting the planet or from
high-flying aircraft (see next slides)
– GPS (Global Positioning Systems i.e. satellites).
Layers of a GIS
A geographic information system (GIS) stores information about a location in several
layers. Each layer represents a different category of information.
areas are
most recent
Changes in land use in China
Uniqueness of Places and Regions
• Regions: Areas of unique characteristics
– Cultural landscape: anything man-made on the ground.
– Types of regions: Formal & Functional
– In a formal region, everyone shares common characteristics. E.g. in
Iowa, everyone obeys the same laws within that boundary.
Sometimes, in a formal region, xteristics are not universal, but
predominant. E.g. the “Wheat Belt”. It doesn't mean only wheat
grows there, just predominant. See next slides.
– A functional region is organized around a ‘node’ or focal point, but its
importance decreases outwards (e.g. TV, radio stations). Sometimes,
there’s overlap. “Distance decay effect”. (Next slide).
Formal and Functional Regions
The state of Iowa is an example of a formal region; the areas of influence of various
television stations are examples of functional regions. Read caption pg 22.
World Climate Regions
The modified Köppen system divides the world into five main climate regions: example
of a formal region.
Vernacular Regions
A number of factors are often used to define the South as a vernacular region, each of which
identifies somewhat different boundaries. More of a “cultural” definition of the south by different
Similarity of Different Places
• Scale: From local to global
– Globalization is a process that involves the
entire world. It makes places “homogenous”.
– Globalization of economy e.g. McDonald’s
– Globalization of culture e.g. jeans
– If time permits, see video
Globalization of the Economy
The Denso corporation is headquartered in Japan, but it has regional headquarters
and other facilities in North America and Western Europe.
Similarity of Different Places
• Connections between places
– Spatial interaction: interaction is even
faster today (e-mail, internet, etc). See
next slide.
– Diffusion: the process by which an idea or
something spreads over time and space.
See “Culture Hearths”. A hearth is a place
from which ideas or innovations originate.
Europe was never an EARLY culture
hearth. See the handout “the Kangnido”.
Space-Time Compression, 1492–1962
The times required to cross the Atlantic, or orbit the Earth, illustrate how transport
improvements have shrunk the world (see caption, figure 1-20, pg 36).