THE FIVE THEMES OF GEOGRAPHY WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY? Geography comes from a Greek word that means “to describe the earth” Geography – study of the distribution and interaction of physical and human features on earth In plain English, geography is the study of the earth and how people live in it. There are 5 main themes of geography. THEME #1: LOCATION There are 2 types of location: 1) Absolute location – the exact place where something is. 2) Relative location – describes a place in relation to other places around it. EXAMPLE: The absolute location of Owensboro, KY is 37.75 degrees North, 87.11 degrees west) The relative location of Owensboro is, south of the Ohio River, 40 miles from Evansville, close to Louisville, etc. THINK ABOUT IT: What is the difference between absolute and relative location? THEME 2: PLACE Place includes the physical features (climate, landforms, vegetation), and cultural landscape (types of people, population, etc.) Place can change over time because people may change the physical environment or the culture of an area. THINK ABOUT IT: How might people change places? Example: Map of Owensboro, Kentucky by MapQuest THEME #3: REGION A region is an area of the earth that is defined by shared characteristics. There are 3 types of regions 1) Formal region – areas defined by similar styles and that are close (continents, countries) 2) Functional region – organized around a set of interactions and connections around a center, usually called a hub (the “Tri-State area”) 3) Perceptual region – a region which people perceive the characteristics of a region in the same way (the South, the ghetto) THEME #4: HUMAN-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION How people use the environment and interact with it. People can either learn to live with their environment (wearing a coat if you live in Alaska) or they can change the environment (building a house with a heater). THEME #5: MOVEMENT Geographers look at three types of distance: linear, time, and psychological Linear distance means how far ideas, people, or products travel. Time distance is how long it takes an idea, person, or product to travel. Psychological distance describes the way people view distance. Example: When you become more familiar with a place, you think that it is closer than it actually is.