The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography - Chapter 1 Key Terms

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The key terms of chapter 1 from the eighth edition of "An Introduction to Human Geography" by James M. Rubenstein.

Agricultural density

The ratio if the number of farmers to the total amount of land suitable for agriculture.

Arithmetic density

The total number of people divided by the total land area.

Base line

An east-west line designated under the Land Ordinance of 1785 to facilitate the surveying and numbering of townships in the United States.

Cartography

The science of making maps.

Concentration

The spread of something over a given area.

Connections

Relationships among people and objects across the barrier of space.

Contagious diffusion

The rapid, widespread diffusion of a feature or trend throughout a population.

Cultural ecology

Geographic approach that emphasizes human-environment relationships.

Cultural landscape

Fashioning of a natural landscape by a cultural group.

Culture

The body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits that together constitute a group of people's distinct tradition.

Density

The frequency with which something exists within a given unit of area.

Diffusion

The process of spread of a feature or trend from one place to another over time.

Distance decay

The diminishing in importance and eventual disappearance of a phenomenon with increasing distance from its origin.

Distribution

The arrangement of something across Earth's surface.

Environmental determinism

A nineteenth- and early twentieth-century approach to the study of geography that argued that the general laws sought by human geographers could be found in the physical sciences. Geography was therefore the study of how the physical environment caused human activities.

Expansion diffusion

The spread of a feature or trend among people from one area to another in a snowballing process.

Formal (or uniform or homogeneous) region

An area in which everyone shares in one or more distinctive characteristics.

Functional (or nodal) region

An area organized around a node or focal point.

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and displays geographic data.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

A system that determines the precise position of something on Earth through a series of satellites, tracking stations, and receivers.

Globalization

Actions or processes that involve the entire world and result in making something worldwide in scope.

Greenwich Mean Time

The time in that time zone encompassing the prime meridian, or 0° longitude.

Hearth

The region from which innovative ideas originate.

Hierarchical diffusion

The spread of a feature or trend from one key person or node of authority or power to other persons or places.

International Date Line

An arc that for the most part follows 180° longitude, although it deviates in several places to avoid dividing land areas. When you cross the International Date Line heading east (toward America), the clock moves back 24 hours, or one entire day. When you go west (toward Asia), the calendar moves ahead one day.

Land Ordinance of 1785

A law that divided much of the United States into a system of townships to facilitate the sale of land to settlers.

Latitude

The numbering system used to indicate the location of parallels drawn on a globe and measuring distance north and south of the equator (0°).

Location

The position of anything on Earth's surface.

Longitude

The numbering system used to indicate the location of meridians drawn on a globe and measuring distance east and west of the prime meridian (0°).

Map

A two-dimensional, or flat, representation of Earth's surface or a portion of it.

Mental map

An internal representation of a portion of Earth's surface based on what an individual knows about a place, containing personal impressions of what is in a place and where places are located.

Meridian

An arc drawn on a map between the North and South poles.

Parallel

A circle drawn around the globe parallel to the equator and at right angles to the meridians.

Pattern

The geometric or regular arrangement of something in a study area.

Physiological density

The number of people per unit of area of arable land, which is land suitable for agriculture.

Place

A specific point on Earth distinguished by a particular character.

Polder

Land created by the Dutch by draining water from an area.

Possibilism

The theory that the physical environment may set limits on human actions, but people have the ability to adjust to the physical environment and choose a course of action from many alternatives.

Prime meridian

The meridian, designated at 0° longitude, which passes through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England.

Principal meridian

A north-south line designated in the Land Ordinance of 1785 to facilitate the surveying and numbering of townships in the United States.

Projection

The system used to transfer locations from Earth's surface to a flat map.

Region

An area distinguished by a unique combination of trends or features.

Regional (or cultural landscape) studies

An approach to geography that emphasizes the relationships among social and physical phenomena in a particular study area.

Relocation diffusion

The spread of a feature or trend through bodily movement of people from one place to another.

Remote sensing

The acquisition of data about Earth's surface from a satellite orbiting the planet or other long-distance methods.

Resource

A substance in the environment that is useful to people, is economically and technologically feasible to access, and is socially acceptable to use.

Scale

Generally, the relationship between the portion of Earth being studied and Earth as a whole, specifically the relationship between the size of an object on a map and the size of the actual feature on Earth's surface.

Section

A square normally 1 mile on a side. The Land Ordinance of 1785 divided townships in the United States into 36 sections.

Site

The physical character of a place.

Situation

The location of a place relative to other places.

Space

The physical gap or interval between two places.

Space-time compression

The reduction in the time it takes to diffuse something to a distant place, as a result of improved communications and transportation systems.

Stimulus diffusion

The spread of an underlying principle, even though a specific characteristic is rejected.

Toponym

The name given to a portion of Earth's surface.

Township

A square normally 6 miles on a side. The Land Ordinance of 1785 divided much of the United States into a series of townships.

Transnational corporation

A company that conducts research, operates factories, and sells products in many countries, not just where its headquarters or shareholders are located.

Uneven development

The increasing gap in economic conditions between core and peripheral regions as a result of the globalization of the economy.

Vernacular (or perceptual) region

An area that people believe to exist as part of their cultural identity.

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