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Vocabulary for the Human Geography textbook by H. J. De Blij, Alexander B. Murphy, and Erin H. Fouberg. Chaoter One.


the study of geographic phenomena by visiting and observing how people interact with and thereby change those places.

Human Geography

One of the two major divisions of Geography; the spatial analysis of human population, its cultures, activities, and landscapes.


the expansion of economic, political, and cultural processes to the point that they become global in scale and impact. The process of _______ transcend state boundaries and have outcomes that vary across places and states.

Physical Geography

One of the two major divisions of systematic geography; the spatial analysis of the structure, processes, and location of Earth's natural phenomena such as climate, soil, plants, animals, and topography.


pertaining to space on the Earth's surface; sometimes used as a synonym for geographic.

Spatial Distribution

physical location of geographic phenomena across space.


the design of spatial distribution.

Medical Geography

the study of health and disease within a geographic context and from a geographical perspective. Among other things, _______ _______ looks at sources, diffusion routes, and distributions of diseases.


An outbreak of a disease that spreads worldwide.


Regional outbreak of a disease.

Spatial Perspective

Observing variations in geographic phenomena across space.

Five Themes

Developed by the Geographic Educational National Implemention Project (GENIP), the _____ ______ of geography are location, human-environment, region, place, and movement.


The first theme of Geography as defined by the GENIP; the geographical situation of people and things.

Location Theory

A logical attempt to explain the ______ional pattern of the economic activity and the manner in which its producing areas are interrelated. The agricultural _____ _______ contained in the von Thünen model is a leading example.


The second theme of geography as defined by the GENIP; reciprocal relationship between humans and environment.


The third theme of Geography as defined by the GENIP; an area on the Earth's surface marked by a degree of formal, funtional, or perceptual homogeneity of some phenomenon.


The fourth theme of Geography as defined by the GENIP; uniqueness of a location.

Sense of Place

State of mind derived through the infusion of a place with meaning and emotion by remembering important events that occurred in that place or by labeling a place with a certian character.

Perception of Place

Belief or "understanding" about a place developed through books, movies, stories or pictures.


The fifth theme of Geography as defined by the GENIP; the mobility of people, goods and ideas across the surface of the planet.

Spatial Interaction

Both Complementarity ( A condition that exists when two regions, through an exchange of raw materials and/ or finished products, can specifically satisfy each other's demands) and Intervening Opportunity (The presence of a nearer opportunity that greatly diminishes the attractiveness of sites farther away).


Measurement of the physical space between two places.


The degree of ease with which it is possible to reach a certian location from other locations. ________ varies from place to place and can be measured.


The degree of direct linkage between one particular location and other locations in a transport network.


The overall appearance of an area. Most _______ are comprised of a combination of natural and human-induced influences.

Cultural Landscape

The visible imprint of human activity and ______ on the ________. The layers of buildings, forms, and artifacts sequnetially imprinted on the ______ by the activities of various human occupants.

Sequent Occupance

The notion that succesive societies leave their cultural imprints on a place, each contributing to the cumulative cultural landscape.


The art and science of making maps, including data compilation, layout, and design. Also concerned with the interpretation of mapped patterns.

Reference Maps

Maps that show the absolute location of places and geographic features determined by a frame of _______, typically latitude and longitude.

Thematic Maps

Maps that tell stories, typically showing the degree of some attribute of the movement of a geographic phenomenon.

Absolute Location

The position of place of a certian item on the surface of the Earth as expresed in degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitude, 0° to 90° north or south of the equator, and longitude, 0° to 180° east or west of the Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich, England.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Satellite-based system for determining the absolute location of places or geograpic features.


A hunt for a cache, the GPS coordinates which are placed on the Internet by other _______ers.

Relative Location

The regional position or situation of a place relative to the position of other places. Distance, accessibility, and connectivity affect ____ ____.

Mental Map

Image of picture of the way space is organized as determined by an individual's perception, impression, and knowledge of that space.

Activity Space

The space within which daily activity occurs.

Generalized Map

"When mapping data, whether human or physical geographers, cartographers, the geographers who make maps, generalize the information the present on maps." (de Blij, Murphey, Fouberg, ph 16)

Remote Sensing

A method of collecting data or information through the use of instruments that are physically distant from the area or object of study.

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A collection of computer hardware and software that permits spatial data to be collected, recorded, stored, retrieved, manipulated, analyzed, and displayed to the user.


Involvement of players at other scales to generate support for a position or an initiative (e.g., use of the Internet to generate interest on a national or global scale for a local position or initiative).

Formal Region

A type of _______ in which the housing stock predominantly reflects styles of building that are particular to the culture of the people who have inhabited the area.

Functional Region

A ______ defined by the particular set of activities or interactions that occur within it.

Perceptual Region

A ______ that only exists as a conceptualization or an idea and not as a physically demarcated entity.


The sum total of the knowledge, attitudes, and habitual behavior patterns shared and transmitted by the members of a society.

Cultural Trait

A single element of normal practice in a culture, such as the wearing of a turban.

Cultural Complex

A related set of cultural traits, such as prevailing dress codes and cooking and eating utensils.

Cultural Hearth

Heartland, source area, innovation center; place of origin of a major culture.

Independent Invention

The term for a trait with many cultural hearths that developed independent of each other

Cultural Diffusion

The expansion and adoption of a cultural element, from its place of origin to a wider area.

Time-Distance Decay

The declining degree of acceptance of an idea or innovation with increasing time and distance from its point of origin or source.

Cultural Barrier

Prevailing cultural attitude rendering certian innovations; ideas or practices unacceptable or unadoptable in that particular culture.

Expansion Diffusion

The spread of an innovation or an idea through a population in an area in such a way that the number of those influenced grows continuously larger, resulting in an expanding area of dissemination.

Contagious Diffusion

The distance-controlled spreading of an idea, innovation, or some other item through a local population by contact from person to person.

Hierarchial Diffusion

A form of _____ in which an idea or innovation spreads by passing first among the most connected places or peoples. An urban ________ is usually involved, encouraging the leapfrogging of innovations over wide areas, with geographic distance a less important influence.

Stimulus Diffusion

A form of _______ in which cultural adaptation is created as a result of the introduction of a cultural trait from another place.

Relocation Diffusion

Sequential ________ process in which the items being ________ are transmitted by their carrier agents as they evacuate the old areas and relocate new ones.

Geographic Concept

Ways of seeing the world spatially that are used by geographers in answering research questions.

Environmental Determinism

The view that the natural ______________ has a controlling influence over various aspects of human life, including cultural development.


Line on a map connecting point of equal temperature values.


Geographic viewpoint- a response to determinism- that holds that human descision making, not the environment, is the critical factor in cultural development.

Cultural Ecology

The multiple interactions and relationships between a culture and the natural environment.

Political Ecology

An approach to studying nature-society relations that is concerned with the ways in which environmental issues both reflect, and are the result of, the political and socioeconomic contexts in which they are situated.

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