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


a specific point on earth distinguished by a particular character


an area of Earth distinguished by a distinctive combination of cultural and physical features


the relationship between the portion of Earth being studied and Earth as a whol


The physical gap or interval between two objects.


Relationships among people and objects across the barrier of space


the science of making maps

map scale

the relationship of a feature's size on a map to its actual size on Earth


The scientific method of transferring locations on Earth's surface to a flat map

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.


a square 6 miles on each side

principal meridians

a north-south line designated in the Land Ordinance of 1785 to facilitate the surveying and numbering of townships in the united states

base lines

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


a square normally 1 mile on a side. the land ordinance of 1785 divided townships in the United States into 36 sections


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

remote sensing

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


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


The position of anything on Earth's surface.


The physical character of a place


the location of a place relative to other places


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


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


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°).

prime meridian

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


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

Greenwich Mean Time

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

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.

cultural landscape

fashioning of a natural landscape by a cultural group

regional studies

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

formal region

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

functional region

An area organized around a node or focal point

vernacular region

a place that people believe exists as part of their cultural identity

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.


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

cultural ecology

Geographic approach that emphasizes human-environment relationships.

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.


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.


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


A piece of land that is created by draining water from an area.

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