Barron's AP Human Geography Chapter 1 vocab - Flashcard Maker (2022)

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Absolute distance

A distance that can be measured with a standard unit of length, such as a mile or a kilometer.

Absolute location

The exact position of an object or place, measured within the spatial coordinates of a grid system.


The relative ease with which a destination may be reached from some other place.


Human-induced changes on the natural environment.

Azimuthal projection

A map projection in which the plane is the most developable surface.

Breaking point

The outer edge of a city’s sphere of influence, used in the law of retail gravitation to describe the area of a city’s hinterlands that depend on that city for its retail supplies.

Choropleth map

A thematic map that uses tones or colors to represent spatial data as average values per unit area.

Cognitive map

An image of a portion of Earth’s surface that an individual creates in his or her min. Cognitive maps can include knowledge of actual locations and relationships among locations as well as personal perceptions and preferences of particular places.


The actual or potential relationships between two places, usually referring to economic interactions.

Dot maps

Thematic maps that use points to show the precise locations of specific observations or occurrences, such as crimes, car accidents, or births.

Earth System Science

A systematic approach to physical geography that looks at the interaction between Earth’s physical systems and processes on a global scale.

Friction of distance

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A measure of how much absolute distance affects the interaction between two places.

Fuller projection

A type of map projection that maintains the accurate size and shape of landmasses but completely rearranges direction such that the four cardinal directions–north, south, east, and west–no longer have any meaning.


the actual shape of the Earth, which is tough and oblate, or slightly squashed. Earth’s diameter is longer along the equator than along the north-south meridians.

Gravity model

A mathematical formula that describes the level of interaction between two places, based on the size of their populations and their distance from each other.


Pertaining to the unique facts or characteristics of a particular place.

Intervening opportunities

If one place has a demand for some good or service and two places have a supply of equal price and quality, the supplier closer to the buyer will represent an intervening opportunity, thereby blocking the third from being able to share its supply of goods and services. Intervening opportunities are frequently used because transportation costs usually decrease with proximity.


A map line that connects points of equal or very similar values.

Large scale

A relatively small ratio between map units and ground units. Large-scale maps usually have higher resolution and cover much smaller regions than small-scale maps.

Law of retail gravitation

A law stating that people will be drawn to larger cities to conduct their business since larger cities have a wider influence on the surrounding hinterlands.

location charts

On a map, a chart or graph that gives specific statistical information about a particular political unit or jurisdiction.

George Perkins Marsh

An inventor, diplomat, politician, and scholar, his classic work, “Man and Nature, or Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action,” provided the first description of the extent to which natural systems had been impacted by human actions.

Mercator projection

A true conformal cylindrical map projection, the Mercator projection is particularly useful for navigation because it maintains accurate direction. Mercator projections are famous for their distortion in area that makes landmasses at the poles appear oversized.

Natural landscape

The physical landscape or environment that has not been affected by human activities.


Concepts or rules that can be applied universally.

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Peters projection

An equal-area projection purposely centered on Africa in an attempt to treat all regions of Earth .equally.

Preference map

A map that displays individual preferences for certain places.

Proportional symbols map

A thematic map in which the size of a chosen symbol–such as a circle or triangle–indicates the relative magnitude of some statistical value for a given geographic region.

Quantitative revolution

A period in human geography associated with the widespread adoption of mathematical models and statistical techniques.

Reference map

A map type that shows reference information for a particular place, making it useful for finding landmarks and for navigation.

Regional geography

The study of geographic regions.

Relative distance

A measure of distance that includes the costs of overcoming the friction of absolute distance separating two places. Often relative distance describes the amount of social, cultural, or economic, connectivity between two places.


A map’s smallest discernable unit. If, for example, an object has to be one kilometer long in order for it to show up on a map, that map’s resolution is one kilometer.

Robinson projection

A projection that attempts to balance several possible projection errors. It does not maintain area, shape, distance, or direction completely accurately, but it minimizes errors in each.

Sense of place

Feelings evoked by people as a result of certain experiences and memories associated with a particular place.

Small scale

A map scale ratio in which the ratio of units on the map to units on the earth is quite small. Small-scale maps usually depict large areas.

Spatial perspective

An intellectual framework that looks at the particular locations of specific phenomena, how and why that phenomena is where it is, and, finally, how it is spatially related to phenomena in other places.

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Thematic layers

Individual maps of specific features that are overlaid on one another in a Geographical Information System to understand and analyze a spatial relationship.

Thematic map

A type of map that displays one or more variables–such as population, or income level–within a specific area.

Time-space convergence

The idea that distance between some places is actually shrinking as technology enables more rapid communication and increased interaction between those places.

Topological space

The amount of connectivity between places regardless of the absolute distance separating them.


The costs involved in moving goods from one place to another.


Use of sophisticated software to create dynamic computer maps, some of which are three dimensional or interactive.


A type of thematic map that transforms space such that the political unit with the greatest value for some type of data is represented by the largest relative area.


The theory and practice of making visual representations of the Earth’s surface in the form of maps.

Cultural ecology

The study of the interactions between societies and the natural environments which they live in.

Cultural landscape

The human-modified natural landscape specifically containing the imprint of a particular culture or society.


The head librarian at Alexandria during the third century B.C.; he was one of the first cartographers. Performed a remarkably accurate computation of the earth’s circumference. He is also credited with coining the term “geography.”

Functional region

Definition of regions based on common interaction (or function) for example, a boundary line drawn around the circulation of a particular newspaper.

Geographic Information Systems

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A set of computer tools used to capture, store, transform, analyze, and display geographic data.

Map projection

A mathematical method that involves transferring the earth’s sphere onto a flat surface. This term can also be used to describe the type of map that results from the process of projecting. All map projections have distortions in either area, direction, distance, or shape.

Perceptual region

Highly individualized definition of regions based on perceived commonalities in culture and landscape.


Roman geographer-astronomer and author of “Guide to Geography” which included maps containing a grid system of latitude and longitude.


A territory that encompasses many places that share similar attributes (may be physical, cultural, or both) in comparison with the attributes of places elsewhere.

Relative location

The position of a place relative to the places around it.

Remote sensing

The observation and mathematical measurement of the earth’s surface using aircraft and satellites. The sensors include both photographic images, thermal images, multispectral scanners, and radar images.


The absolute location of a place, described by local relief, landforms, and other cultural or physical characteristics.


The relative location of a place in relation to the physical and cultural characteristics of the surrounding area and the connections and interdependencies within that system; a place’s spatial context.

Geographic Scale

The scale which the geographer analyzes a particular phenomenon, for example: global, national, census tract, neighborhood, etc. Generally, the finer the scale of analysis, the richer the level of detail in the findings

W.D Pattison

He claimed that geography drew from four distinct traditions : the earth science tradition, the culture environment tradition, the locational tradition, and the area analysis tradition.


The system of used to transfer locations from Earths surface to a flat map

Carl Sauer

Geographer from University of California at Berkley who defined the concept of cultural landscape as the fundamental unit of geographical analysis. The landscape results from from the interaction between humans and the physical environment. Sauer argued that virtually no landscape has escaped alteration by human activities.


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