The Five Themes of Geography

The study of the
distribution and
interactions of
physical and human
features on the earth.
Unlike historians,
geographers view the
world by looking at
the use of space on
the earth & the
interactions that take
place there.
Tools of geography
◦ Globe - the most
representation of the
◦ Maps – the most
efficient, and easy to
use, representation
of the earth.
Location –Where is it?
Place – What is it like?
Region – How are places similar or different?
Movement – How do people, goods, and ideas
move from one location to another?
Human Environment Interaction – How do
people relate to the physical world?
Absolute Location uses a
global grid system to
precisely locates a point
on the earth’s surface.
Latitude Lines –
Imaginary lines that
determine North and
South and run parallel to
the Equator.
Longitude Lines –
Imaginary lines that
determine east and west
and go around the earth
over the poles. Also
called Meridians
Relative Location describes how a
place is related to its
If you know that
Cairo, Egypt is
located near the
mouth of the Nile
River what sorts of
things does that tell
Place includes the physical and human
characteristics of a location.
All places on earth have physical
characteristics that set them apart such as
climate, vegetation and topography.
A region is an area of the earth’s surface with
similar characteristics.
Regions usually have more than one
characteristic that unifies them such as:
Formal Regions are
defined by a limited
number of related
The Sahel is a
desert region in
northern Africa that
is characterized by
climate, vegetation
and land use
A Functional region
is organized around
a set of interactions
and connections
between places.
The Bay Area is a
functional region
because highways,
railways and bus
lines move people
from the suburbs to
the city for jobs and
other activities.
Perceptual Region is a region in which people
perceive the characteristics of the region in
the same way. However, the set of
characteristics may not be precisely the same
for all people.
Human beings are the least specialized of all
animals, but are the most adaptable.
People learn to use what their environment
offers them and to change that environment
to meet their needs.
Geographer are interested in the ways people,
ideas and goods move from place to place.
Geographers analyze movement by looking at
three types of distance:
◦ Linear
◦ Time
◦ Perceptual
Linear distance simple means how far
something has to travel. How can physical
geography affect linear distance?
Time distance is the amount of time it takes
for a person, idea or product to travel. How
has time distance changes over the last 100
Psychological distance refers to the way
people view distance.
Studies show that the more familiar we are
with a place the closer we think it actually is.
Less familiar places see further away.
Psychological distance may influence
decisions about many different human

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