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AP Human Mid-Term Study Guide

Geographic Information System (GIS)

A computing program that stores geographic data and produces maps to show the data.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Uses satellites to determine the exact location on the global grid.

International Date Line

An imaginary line on the surface of the earth following (approximately) the 180th meridian. 180 longitude.


An imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator.


Two sets of lines that cross each other, as on a map.


The process of map making.

Cardinal Directions

North, South, East, West

Intermediate Directions

Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast.

Relative Directions

Right, Left, Up, Down

Robinson Projection

Displays the world with slight distortions on all four properties. Projection that attempts to balance several possible projection errors. It does not maintain completely accurate area, shape, distance, or direction, but it minimizes errors in each.

Mercator Projections

Projects the shapes accurately but distorts the size. Examples include Greenland which is the size of Africa.

Peter Projections

A cylindrical map projection that attempts to retain the accurate sizes of the world's landmasses.

Equal Area Projections

Maps maintain area but distort other projections.

Conformal Projections

Maps that maintain shape but distort other properties.

Azimuthal Projections

Maps that maintain direction but distort other properties.

Equidistant Projections

Maps that maintain distance but distort other properties.

Cognitive Map

Maps drawn from memory.

Activity Space

The space within which daily activity occurs.

Remote Sensing

A collection of information from satellites and distant collection systems.

Map Scale

Compares a distance on a map with a distance in the real world.

Reference Map

Shows common features such as boundaries, roads, highways, mountains, and cities.

Thematic Map

Focuses on one feature, such as climate, city size, or number of alligators.

Isoline Thematic Map

Shows elevation level by displaying lines that connect points of equal value.

Choropleth Thematic Map

Shows a pattern of some variable, such as population density by using a variety of colors and shading.

Proportional Symbolic Thematic Map

Uses a symbol to display the frequency of a variable. The larger the symbol on the map the higher the frequency.

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