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

The study of geographic phenomena by visiting places 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 processes of globalization transcend state boundaries and have outcomes that vary across places and scales.
physical geography
One of the two major divisions of systematic geography; the spatial analysis of the structure, processes, and location of the 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 a spatial distribution (i.e. scattered or concentrated)
medical geography
The study of health and disease within a geographic context and from a geographical perspective. Among other things, medical geography looks at sources, diffusion routes, and distributions of diseases.
An outbreak of a disease that spreads worldwide
An outbreak of a disease that spreads worldwide.
spatial perspective
Observing variations in geographic phenomena across space.
five themes of geography
Developed by GENIP and include location, human-environment, region, place and movement.
The geographical situation of people and things.
location theory
A logical attempt to explain the location pattern of an economic activity and the manner in which its producing areas are interrelated. The agricultural location theory contained in the von Thünen model is a leading example.
human environment
Reciprocal relationship between humans and environment.
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 certain character.
perception of place
Belief or 'understanding' about a place developed through books, movies, stories or pictures.
The mobility of people, goods and ideas across the surface of planet.
spatial interaction
See complementarity and intervening opportunity.
Measurement of the physical space between two places.
The degree of ease with which it is possible to reach a certain location from other locations. Accessibility 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. The landscapes are comprised of a combination of natural and human-induced influenced.
cultural landscape
The visible imprint of human activity and culture on the landscape. The layers of buildings, forms, and artifacts sequentially imprinted on the landscape by the activities of various human occupants.
sequent occupance
The notion that successive 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 reference, typically latitude and longitude.
thematic maps
Maps that tell stories, typically showing the degree of some attribute or the movement of a geographic phenomenon.
absolute location
The position or place of a certain item on the surface of the Earth as expressed 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 (a suburb of London).
global positioning system (GPS)
Satellite - based system for determining the absolute location of places or geographic features.
A hunt for a cache, the Global Positioning System coordinates which are placed on the Internet by other geocachers.
relative location
The regional position or situation of a place relative to the position of other places. Distance, accessibility, and connectivity affect relative location.
mental map
Image or 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 actives occur.
remote sensing
A method of collecting data or information through the use of instruments that are physically distant from the area of object of study.
Geographic Information Systems (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.
functional region
A region defined by the particular set of activities or interactions that occur within it.
formal region
A type of region marked by a certain degree of homogeneity in one or more phenomena; also called uniform region or homogeneous region.
perceptional region
A region that only exists as a conceptualization or an idea and not as a physically demarcated entity. For example, in the United States, "the South" and "the Mid-Atlantic region" are perceptual regions.
The sum total of the knowledge, attitude, and habitual behavior patterns shared and transmitted by the members of a society. This is anthropologist Ralph Linton's definition; hundreds of others exist.
culture trait
A single element of normal practice in a culture, such as the wearing of a turban.
culture 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 certain 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 - analogous to the communication of a contagious illness.
hierarchical diffusion
A form of diffusion in which an idea or innovation spreads by passing first among the most connected places or peoples. An urban hierarchy is usually involved, encouraging the leapfrogging of innovations over wide areas, with geographic distance a less important influence.
stimulus diffusion
A form of diffusion in which a cultural adaptation is created as a result of the introduction of a cultural trait from another place.
relocation diffusion
Sequential diffusion process in which the items being diffused are transmitted by their carrier agents as they evacuate the old areas and relocate to new ones. The most common form of relocation diffusion involves the spreading of innovations by a migrating population.
geographic concept
Ways of seeing the world spatially that are used by geographers in answering research questions.
environmental determinism
The view that the natural environment has a controlling influence over various aspects of human life, including cultural development. Also referred to as environmentalism.
Geographic viewpoint - a response to determinism - the holds that human decision-making, not the environment, is the crucial factor in cultural development. Nonetheless, possibiliists view the environment as providing a set of broad constraints that limits the possibilities of human choice.
cultural ecology
The multiple interactions and relationships between a culture and the natural environment.
An area on the Earth's surface marked by a degree of formal, functional, or perceptual homogeneity of some phenomenon.
Political ecology
As an approach to studying nature - society relations that are 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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