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Modes of Analysis: Area Analysis

the study of physical and human features of particular areas, regions, or places; involves surveying, describing, and compiling data; regional geography
• Areal differentiation
• Site
• Situation
• Location
• Geographical grid and coordinate system
• Latitude
• Parallels
• Longitude
• Meridians

Area Analysis: Areal Differentiation

describing and explaining differences between places

Areal Differentiation: Site

absolute location of a place, can be described in terms of latitude and longitude or in terms of place characteristics

Areal Differentiation: Situation

location of a place relative to other places, how far or near, easy or difficult; influences accessibility to resources, roads, markets, etc.

Area Analysis: Location

where things are on Earth

Area Analysis: Geographical Grid and Coordinate System

a system of lines drawn on maps to help locate places on the Earth

Geographical Grid and Coordinate System: Latitude

angular distance North and South of the equator, 0-90 degrees; most important

Geographical Grid and Coordinate System: Parallels

horizontal lines connecting all points of same latitude

Geographical Grid and Coordinate System: Longitude

angular distance East and West from prime meridian, 0-180 degrees

Geographical Grid and Coordinate System: Meridians

vertical lines connecting all points of same longitude

Spatial Analysis

location analysis, seeks patterns in the distribution of physical and human phenomenon, and in movements across Earth's surface
• Distribution
• Density
• Concentration
• Pattern
• Region
• Formal region
• Functional region
• Vernacular region

Spatial Analysis: Distribution

position, placement, or arrangement of a phenomenon through space

Distribution: Density

the frequency of the occurrence of a phenomenon in relation to its geographical area, quantity (grads per square mile, etc.)

Distribution: Concentration

the distribution of a phenomenon within a given area (clustered, dispersed)

Distribution: Pattern

the arrangement of phenomenon within an area (linear, circular, irregular)

Spatial Analysis: Region

more or less bounded division of the Earth that is defined by one or more distinctive physical or human characteristics or features that distinguishes it from other regions (diet, religion, vegetation, etc.)

Region: Formal Region

defined by one or more common physical or human traits (climate, languages)

Region: Functional Region

defined by interaction between nodal (central) and surrounding places, centralized services (transit districts, newspaper delivery, etc.)

Region: Vernacular Region

based on perception, defined by shared subjective images, stereotypes, language, mental maps (The South, Bible Belt, etc.)

Geographical Systems Analysis

an approach which view Earth as a set of interrelated environmental and human systems
• Model
• System

Geographical Systems Analysis: Model

idealized, simplified representation of reality

Geographical Systems Analysis: System

an interdependent group of items that interact in a regional way to form a unified whole (ecosystem)

Five Themes of Regional Geography

all interdependent

Themes of Geography: Region

What physical features are similar?
What human features are similar?

Themes of Geography: Movement

Why and how do people travel from place to place?
How do people exchange goods and ideas?

Themes of Geography: Location

Where is it?
Where did it happen?

Themes of Geography: Place

What is it like?
What are the physical and human features of a place?

Themes of Geography: Interaction

How do people adapt to their environment? How do people change their environment?

Demographic Transition Model

a model of the historical explanation of population growth in countries that are rich today by tracking changes in crude birth and death rates;
• Does the DTM apply to underdeveloped countries?
• Statistical trends may indicate that TFR decreases in poor countries are fundamentally different from those in rich countries
• Theories of explanation focus on 3 new factors: family planning programs, contraceptive techniques, the role of mass media

N. America's 12 Major Physiographic Regions

• Atlantic Gulf
• Appalachian uplands
• Interior plains
• Pacific coast region
• Northwestern highlands
• Hudson bay lowland
• Southeastern coastal plain
• Rocky Mts.
• Interior Lowlands
• Yukon basin
• Canadian shield
• High arctic mts.

N. America's Climate

• Temperature differences in N. America
• Lowest temperatures: high altitude, high latitude interior regions (-81 degrees F in Snag, Yukon, Canada 1934)
• Highest temperatures: low altitude, low latitude interior regions (134 degrees F in Death Valley, California 1913
• Air masses: large bodies of relatively stable air that develop over a source region which provides them with specific temperature and moisture characteristics
• Continental air masses: dry, extreme temperature changes, Central Plains
• Maritime air masses: moist, moderate temperature changes, coastal areas

Koppen Scale

classification system created in 1918 by Wladimir Koppen
• Plant distributions delineate climate region boundaries
• Uses letters to define climate types
• Six Major Climate Types:
A. Humid Low Latitude Tropical Climates
B. Dry Climates
C. Warm Midlatitude Climates
D. Cold Midlatitude Climates
E. Polar Climates
F. Highland Climates


daily variations in temperature, precipitation, etc.


the statistical summary of weather over time and space
• Weather conditions that define climates: both impacted by variations in latitudes, seasons, and events
• Variations in air temperature
• Impacted by topography, landforms, biodiversity, wind patterns, and proximity to large bodies of water
• Rule of thumb: 3.5 degree drop per 1000ft rise in elevation
• Cooler in mountains/inland
• Warmer in lowlands/near oceans and lakes
• Variations in Precipitation
• Varies over place and time (seasonal change impacts timing and amount of precipitation at different places
• Lower latitudes: more fluctuation and feature higher annual worldwide precipitation (ITCZ)
• Variations impact supply in water table and consumption in biosphere, magnitude of evapotranspiration
• Precipitation
• Transpiration: the use of water by plants, normally drawing it from the soil via their roots, evaporating it in their leaves and releasing it into the atmosphere
• Evapotranspiration: the sum of evaporation and transpiration
• Classifying Climates:
• Classification based on weather station data and observation
• Data analyzed and used by science, government, and industry
• Koppen Scale
• Climate change
• Natural and human influenced process
• Climatic variability greatest in Quarternary Period: last 2.5 million years (Earth 4.6 billion years old
• Pleistocene Epoch: first and longest epoch of QP, 2588-12000 years ago, 30% land glaciated at peak, 10-30 climate shift, 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, modern humans develop 200-50000 years ago
• Last major glacial melting 9000 years ago, origins of agriculture and northward human settlement
• Little ice age: between 1500 to 1750, when climates were 1-2 degrees cooler in northern
• Possible causes of climatic variation
• Astronomical hypothesis: fluctuation in Earth's orbit impacts amount of solar radiation surface
• Geologic hypothesis: continental drift, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, changes atmospheric circulation
• Human causes: CO2, burning fossil fuels and removing vegetation
• Global warming
• Greenhouse effect: accumulation of greenhouse gases in atmosphere (CO2 and methane) causes temperatures to rise, 0.5-18 Fahrenheit increase during the 20th century

N. America's Major Vegetation Patterns

tundra, forests, grassland, shrubland, and desert, distribution and characteristics of plant species are impacted by
• Latitude, landforms, soil, climate, culture, etc.
• Major tree distributions
• Arctic region: arctic willow
• Mountainous W.: coniferous trees, spruce, pine, fir
• Central region: deciduous hardwoods, maple, oak, elm
• Southern region: yellow pine

N. America's Landforms: Mountains

• 1/3 mountainous, north/south orientation
• East: Appalachians, lower elevations 480 million years old, 1500 miles by 100-300 miles wide, central Alabama-Newfoundland
• Sub-ranges: Cumberland Mts, TN; Blue Ridge Mts, VA; Alleghenies, PA; Catskills, NY; Green Mts, VT; White Mts, NH
• Highest point: Mt. Mitchell, NC 6684ft
• West: Rockies, higher elevations, 55-80 million years old, 3000 miles long by 70-300 miles wide, New Mexico-British Columbia
• Sub-ranges: Front Ranges, CO; Wasatch, UT-ID; Sangre de Cristo Mts, NM; Canadian Rockies
• Highest point: Mt. Elbert, CO 14433ft
• West Coast: Sierra Nevada, CA-NV, include Mt. Whitney 14505ft, highest in US; Pacific Coast Ranges, Alaska-Mexico, Cascades with 12 active volcanoes
• Mt. McKinley (Denali), Alaska Range, AK
• 20320ft highest in N. America, 3rd in world
• Formed by Subduction between Pacific and N. American Plates, 56 million years old
• 5 glaciers, 180 inches annual snowfall
• Denali National Park and Preserve

N. America's Landforms: Glaciation

• Northern part of the continent covered until 10000 years ago, above 35 degrees N
• Continental glacier extended south to Missouri, Columbia, and Hudson Rivers
• Created/shaped glacial lakes and rivers, antecedents to Niagara Falls, Great Lakes, Long Island, Ohio River, Mississippi River Basin, Great Basin, Hudson Bay
• Bering Glacier:
• Largest 3231 miles; longest 127 miles
• Up to 2600ft thickness
• Sub-polar, coastal south central Alaska, north of the Gulf of Alaska, south of the Yukon Ranges
• 17-25 year "surges"
• 7.5 mile retreat since 1900
• Islands, rivers, lakes, outwash plains, moraines

N. America's Landforms: Soil

interface between lithosphere and biosphere, porous mineral/organic layer in which plants thrive
• 12 major types on US Soil Map
• Generally productive for agriculture
• 6 principal components:
• Rocks and rock particles
• Humus (organic matter)
• Dissolved substances (non-organic nutrients)
• Organisms
• Rainwater
• Air

Geomorphological Processes

• Geomorphology: the study of landforms and the processes that create them
• Changes in landforms influenced by:
• Natural and human processes
• Time and place
• Key processes: affect Earth's surface (physical geography) in the form of landforms, topography, climates, and biodiversity; final product of both processes results in mountains, valleys, water bodies, deltas, forests, deserts
• Endogenic processes: forces within Earth that create crust and shape its surface (weathering, mass movement, erosion, deposition)
• Exogenic processes: forces originating above Earth's surface, aided by gravity, that reshape the surface (plate tectonics, rock formation, isostatic adjustments)

Population Geography: Native American Influence

• Native American Settlement Patterns and Cultural Imprints
• Physical geography shaped native migration and settlement
• 1st settlements 3-16500 years ago
• Theories of early migration:
• Bering land bridge theory, 16500 years ago, big game hunters
• Navigation to E. and W. coasts (Asians, Africans)
• N. to S. interior migration, E. and W. dispersal
• Native Americans transformed N. America's physical landscape into cultural landscape
• Hunter/gatherer/fisher and agricultural societies developed technology and knowledge to obtain terrestrial and aquatic food sourced, materials for clothing, shelter, etc.
• Native settlement patterns and cultural landscape
• Settlements dispersed across continent
• Preference for open areas, prairies, coasts, rivers, lakes with abundant animals (Great Plains, coastal plains)
• 2/3 of NA settled by agriculturalists, plant and animal domestication, highest hunter-gatherer population in CA
• Hundreds of languages, over 75 in CA before 1769
• Features of native cultural landscapes
• Domesticated plants and animals: maize, beans, squash
• Music, art, sports
• Architecture: stone, reeds, wood, mud brick
• Metallurgy and tools: stone, bone, antler, wood
• Crafts: basketry, looms, pottery
• Trading networks and centers
• Modes of transportation: canoes, cradleboards
• Religions: beliefs, rituals, sacred sites, lodges, mounds
• Political organization: The Iroquois Confederacy; clan-village system of democracy, based on collective ownership of the land/agriculture
• Native population transition
• Up to 112 million pre 1492
• US/Canada: 2 million>530000 by 1900
• Today under 1% of total population
• Communicable diseases: small pox, influenza, measles, typhus
• War, slavery, political acts (Indian Removal Act 1830, Dawes Act 1887, Curtis Act 1888)
• Reservations: 1st in 1658, VA; 310 today
• Indian Citizenship Act 1924

Population Geography: European Influence

• European Settlement in N. America
• European migration to and settlement of the Americas since 1500s is most significant recent redistribution that shaped current migration and population patterns
• 2 waves of European migration
• 17th-18th centuries: 400000-1 million mostly from N. and W. Europe
• Late 19th-early 20th centuries: over 30 million, mostly from S. and E. Europe
• 40 million Europeans in N. America by 1950
• 4.5 million in Latin America
• Age of exploration 1400s-1600s: opened NA to European colonization, migration, settlement, and contact with Native Americans and Africans
• Preceded by Vikings around 1000CE in Vinland
• Columbus 1492: landed in Bahamas
• Santo Domingo 1st permanent European settlement in Americas
• 1500s: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese (primarily in SA)
• Pull factors: trade routes to Asia, silk, spices, gold
• Push factors: trade with Asia blocked
• 1565: St. Augustine, Spanish settlement in Florida, oldest continually occupied European settlement
• African Diaspora: the movement of Africans and their descendents to places throughout the world
• Slave Trade: 16th-19th centuries: chattel slavery, buying and selling of kidnapped Africans to Americas, external and internal
• Distribution
• 1526-1870, 10-12 million total, 645000 in US, 2000 in Canada, some estimates higher
• 1619 Jamestown 1st permanent English settlement, 20 indentured servants; 1860 4 million in US
• Concentrated in plantation areas of S.E.
• Shaped by trade, slave laws, and Underground Railroad
• Great Migration: internal migration rural S. to urban N.

Population Geography: French Settlement

• Jacques Cartier 1534, exploration of St. Lawrence River
• New France 1534-1763: from Newfoundland to Rocky Mts., Hudson Bay to Gulf of Mexico
• Distribution
• Population 1692, 10000; mid-1700s, 70000
• Key settlements: drainage areas of St. Lawrence and Mississippi Rivers, concentrated near Quebec
• Dispersed rural population., seigneurial landholdings formed linear pattern of farms

Population Geography: Russian Settlement

• Vitus Bering, 1741, crew 1st Europeans on W. coast
• Russian America 1799-1867: coastal Alaska to N. CA
• Distribution
• Population: 400 ethnic Russians at peak, 40000 native Aleuts
• Largest settlements: Kodiak, Sitka, Ft. Ross
• Dispersed by fur trading routes, forts, some agriculture
• Alaska Purchase 1867, $7.2 million

Population Geography: Dutch Settlement

• Henry Hudson 1609, NE, Dutch E. India Co.
• New Netherland 1614-1667: NY, NJ, CT, DE, PA, RI
• Distribution
• Key settlements : Hudson Valley, W. Long Island
• Population: 1624 270; 1667 5000
• Concentrated near Ft. Orange (Albany), New Amsterdam (Manhattan), dispersed in rural areas, organized by patroonship landholdings, fur trade, fishing

Population Geography: British Settlement

• Christopher Newport 1606, Chesapeake Bay, VA Co.
• British America, 1607-1783, territory: E. coast to the Mississippi River, Canada
• Jamestown 1607 VA 1st permanent English settlement
• Distribution
• Key settlements: Atlantic coast, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore
• Population: 1700s 250000; 1800s 2.4 million; 90% farmers
• Organized by Metes & Bounds

Types of Cities

• Urban
• Suburban
• Large Metro Areas

Types of Cities: Urban

• Historical geography of urbanization
• 18th century: commercial port cities, Boston, N.O., NYC
• 19th century railroad cities, Chicago , Omaha, Indianapolis, Columbus, Topeka, Santa Fe
• 20th century: industrial cities, Manufacturing Belt

Types of Cities: Suburban

• Suburbs: the residential area located on outskirts of city or large town within commuting distance
• US phenomenon beginning late 19th century
• Historical geography of suburbanization:
• 1900s: streetcar suburbs, wealthy preferred rural living
• 1950s: spread, returning WWII veterans, growing middle class, FHA loans, cheap land, interstate highways, Keynesian response to economic crisis, white flight
• Today: increase in ethnoburbs? Suburbs with growing non-white population, and growing urban population, gentrification
• Economic stagnation in rural regions, Great Plains, Appalachia, Deep S.

N. America's Culture Hearths

• Correspond with location of homogenous European settlement areas; European culture traits diffused from hearth areas with westward expansion of settlements
• Canada 2 hearths
• St. Lawrence Valley
• N. Atlantic E. Coast
• US 4 hearths
• S. New England
• Chesapeake Bay area
• Middle Colonies
• The South

European Westward Expansion

• Methods of acquiring land changed over time and place
• Conquest (French and Indian War, Indian Wars, War of 1812), dispossession, charters, grants, treaty (Treaty of Paris 1763, 1783), purchase (Louisiana Purchase 1803, Florida 1819, Alaska 1867), land policy
• Ideology: Manifest Destiny
• Historical population geography
• 19th century ½ of US population S. of Mason/ Dixon line, E. of Appalachians
• 1920 ½ of US population urbanized
• Distribution shaped by resource geography, homesteading, transportation routes (railroads and rivers)
• Homestead Acts 1862, 1909, 1916, ended 1976, Alaska 1986
• Dominion Lands Act 1872 Canada
• Public Land survey system: introduced by Land Ordinance of 1785 to control survey, sale, and settling of new lands
• Township and range system: rectangular grid pattern, 36 sq. mi. townships, subdivided into smaller ranges and sections
• Shaped spatial organization of population, housing, roads, economy, social relations, etc.

N. America's Economic Structure

• US, world's largest economy
• GDP $15.094 trillion (2011) 25% global GDP
• Labor force: over 154.9 million
• Exports: Canada 19%, Mexico 12%, China 7%, Japan 5% (2009)
• Capital goods 49%, industrial supplies 27%, consumer goods 15%, agricultural exporter, $108.6 billion 2010, agriculture 1.2% of GDP
• Four economic sectors
• Primary (pre-industrial)
• Secondary (industrial)
• Tertiary (post-industrial)
• Quaternary
• Types of employment
• Basic: jobs that produce exports
• Non-basic: jobs that serve needs of basic jobs
• Multiplier effect: basic jobs multiply non-basic jobs; basic and non-basic jobs are found in all economic sectors

Economic Structure: Primary Sector

extraction (US workers in the past)
• Agriculture: a human invented system of cultivating land, raising croops and livestock; farming
• Before 1900 NA 80% workers, 2010 under 3% workers
• Commercial agriculture dominates
• Capital intensive-investment in machinery, chemicals, improved seeds, pesticides
• Large farm size
• Products sold to agribusiness companies
• Fewer family owned farms
• Farm subsidies: state financial aid to farmers and agribusiness, impacts productivity and supply and price
• 180 billion dollars in 2009
• Iowa, Illinois, Texas
• Corn 35.4%, output: 256.9 million metric tons, 24.4 billion dollars a year
• US corn ethanol subsidies, $5.5-$7.3 billion per year
• Media: food or fuel, corn exports, prices

Economic Structure: Secondary Sector

manufacturing (US workers in the past)
• Manufacturing: processing of raw materials into finished goods
• Declining since 1960s, increasingly surpassed by service sector
• US still important in high-tech manufacturing (aerospace
• 22.2% of GDP
• Where is manufacturing located and why? How is it distributed?
• Answer requires examining locational factors, features of site and situation
• The geography of manufacturing
• Locational determinants of manufacturing
• Expanding global trade has decreased importance of local factors, easier to relocate capital
• Transport costs have decreased, and value of labor and raw materials is shrinking in its percentage of total value of goods
• Capital
• Technology
• Regulation
• Political stability
• Inertia
• Types of manufacturing
• Heavy industry
• Light Industry
• High-Tech Industry

Secondary Sector: Heavy Industry

high value production commodities, more raw materials and environmental impact, difficult to transport (cars, machines, aircraft, appliances)
• Distribution: Manufacturing Belt, N.E. US and S.E. Canada to Great Lakes; key cities Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto
• Rapid growth during the late 19th century

Secondary Sector: Light Industry

low value consumption commodities, less raw materials and environmental impact, easier to transport (clothing, food processing, furniture, consumer electronics, household items)
• Distribution: areas surrounding Manufacturing Belt

Secondary Sector: High-Tech Industry

cutting edge, heavily dependent on recent laboratory discoveries, high investment, risk ,and profits (microchips, pharmaceuticals, robotics, biotechnology, telecommunications, energy, etc.)
• Distribution: dispersed (Route 128, Mass; Tech Valley, NY; Silicon Valley; near research universities, UC Berkeley and Stanford U.)

Economic Structure: Tertiary Sector

services (US workers today)
• Service industry: intangible goods (security, transportation, retail, accounting, medical care, business consulting, real estate management, tourism, etc.)
• Distribution: historically evenly distributed, small firms with local ties; 20th century multi-locational corporate service providers, severed local ties (chain stores, amusement parks, resorts)
• US world's leading exporter of services

Economic Structure: Quaternary

management (US workers today)
• Intellectual services industry: knowledge base (information technology, consultation, education, research and development, financial planning, entertainment, media)
• Distribution: concentrated in capital cities, military bases, media centers, university communities, mainly E. and W. coasts, Sunbelt states

N. American Hydrology

mechanical and chemical fluvial processes, weathering, transportation, and deposition of sediments
• Drainage systems in N. America: provide external and internal drainage, largest systems drain east of Continental Divide
• Great Lakes-St. Lawrence System: drains SE Canada and NE/N. Central US, main transport artery from interior to Atlantic Ocean
• Mississippi-Missouri System: drains S. Canada and S. Central US, main transport artery from Central US to Gulf of Mexico
• Great Basin: internal drainage between Rockies and Pacific coast ranges (rivers, lakes, aquifers, Bear River, Lake Tahoe, includes Mojave Desert)

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