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Why do Geographers use Maps?


... Purpose/ Reference Maps Show basic ... Remote Sensing How geographers monitor the Earth ... Dot/Graduated Dot Maps Remote Sensing GIS GPS ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why do Geographers use Maps?

Why do Geographers use Maps?
AP Human Geography
Why do Geographers use Maps?
  • All maps simplify the world
  • Cartographers generalize information they present
    on maps

Maps VS. Globes
  • Maps
  • Globes
  • Most accurate
  • Scale model of the earth, shows actual shapes,
    relative sizes, and locations of landmasses and
    bodies of water.
  • Accurate information about distances and
    directions between two points.
  • Very small representations of the earth.
  • Not much detail.
  • Difficult to carry around
  • You can look at only one half of a globe at any
    one time.
  • Maps are flat representations of the curved
    surface of the earth.
  • Can be shown in a book.
  • Can be folded up and used for planning trips.
  • Can show large areas or small areas.
  • They are flexible tools that can provide large
    amounts of information very efficiently.
  • Not as accurate as globes.
  • Flat representation of the curved surface of the
    earth, something has to be distorted

Map Projections
  • Used to portray all or part of the round earth on
    a flat surface
  • Cannot be done without some distortion
  • Every projection has its own advantages and
  • Cartographers select the projection best suited
    to their needs
  • Maps or parts of the map show one or more of the
    following, but never all
  • True directions
  • True distances
  • True areas
  • True sizes (shape)

Parts of a Map
  • Title-What? Where? When?
  • Explains what map potrays
  • Map Key-AKA Legend
  • What the symbols/colors mean
  • Orientation
  • At least North arrow
  • Cardinal Directions (N,S,E,W)
  • Intermediate Directions (NE, NW, SE, SW)
  • Scale
  • Distance on the map (1in1mi)/ a ratio
  • Large scale small area. Very Detailed
  • Small scale Large area. Less Detail (Earth)
  • Grid
  • Location Tool
  • Coordinate system
  • Latitude- runs east to west (Equator)
  • Longitude-runs north to south meets at poles
    (Prime Meridian)

Complete List of Map Parts D-ate O-rientation G-ri
d S-cale T-itle A-uthor I-ndex L-egend S-ources
Map Parts by Importance T-itle O-rientation D-ate
A-uthor L-egend S-cale I-ndex G-rid S-ources
A Few Types of Maps
General Purpose/ Reference Maps
  • Show basic information.
  • Such as location of
  • landforms
  • political boundaries
  • water
  • cities
  • Absolute Location
  • Use of coordinate system that allows you to plot
    where on Earth something is
  • Do not change
  • Relative Location
  • Describes a place in relation to other human and
    physical features
  • Constantly change over time
  • Examples
  • Political Maps
  • Physical Maps
  • Road Maps

Political Maps
  •  No topographic features
  • Focuses on boundaries of a place.
  • They also include the locations of cities
  • large and small, depending on the detail of the
  • Example
  • 50 U.S. states and their borders along with the
    United States' north and south international

Physical Maps
  •  Shows the physical landscape features of a
  • Focus on mountains, rivers and lakes
  • water is always shown with blue
  • Mountains and elevation changes are usually
    shown with different colors and shades to show
  • Example
  • Hawaii

Mental Maps
  • Maps in our minds of places we have been and
    places we have just heard of
  • Activity spaces
  • Places we travel to routinely in our rounds of
    daily activity
  • Geographers study mental map formation of all
    types of people, and all show differences in
    their formation of mental maps

Mental Map of the Americas
Example Mental Map
Thematic Maps
  • Shows particular themes connected with geographic
  • Show different, very specific topics
  • Examples
  • average rainfall distribution for an area
  • distribution of a certain disease throughout a

What is a Choropleth Map?
  • A type of thematic map
  • Areas are colored or shaded to reflect the value
    of the mapped phenomena or to display classes of

Examples of Choropleth Maps
Choropleth Maps
  • Thematic mapping variables are substituted for
    land area or distance
  • The space of the map is distorted in order to
    convey the information
  • http//www.worldmapper.org/index.html

Single Dot/Graduated Dot Maps
  • Dot maps employ dots to convey information about
    a distribution.
  • A single dot may represent one occurence of
    something (an earthquake) or more than one (a dot
    might represent 100,000 people, for example).
  • Graduated circle maps also use a point symbol,
    but the symbols have different sizes in
    proportion to some qualtity that occurs at that
    point. The populations of different cities are
    frequently depicted on graduated circle maps.

Remote Sensing
  • How geographers monitor the Earth using
    technology that is a distance away from the place
    being studied
  • Data is collected using satellites and aircraft
  • Google Earth

  • Geographic Information Systems used to organize,
    translate, disaggregate geographic data

Satellite Image converted to contour or elevation
  • Global Positioning System mobile device used to
    provide exact coordinates
  • http//www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/tech/2009/

  • New hobby!
  • People are using their GPS units to play a
    treasure hunt game all over the world
  • http//www.geocaching.com/
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