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Find an example of one of these maps (cylindrical, planar, conic, and pseudocylindrical) – can be from a printed source, an online sourceIn a paragraph (or two) describe which map projection is being used in your example and discuss the resulting distortion the audience is seeing. The description should be a minimum of 150 words.Attach the image of the map u described in the assignmentfind and discuss an example of a map projection not mentioned in the video or lecture (there are hundreds if not thousands of different types of map projections out there). Include an image and brief (additional 100 word minimum) description. Be sure to cite any sources used. are two video required to watch

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College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
Introduction to Earth
The goals and objectives of this lecture are to:

Develop an understanding of how geographers study the world and use science to explain and understand
the natural and cultural landscapes.

Develop an understanding of geographic inquiry and geography as a discipline.
What is Geography?
If you’re taking this course with the expectation that the study of geography is going to be about memorizing
names and places on maps, you’ll be disappointed.
Geographers study the location and distribution of things – tangible things such as rainfall, mountains, and
trees, as well as less tangible things such as language, migration, and voting patterns. In short, geographers
look for and explain patterns in the physical and human landscape1.
Throughout this course you’ll learn about fundamental processes and patterns that are components of what
we know to be culture (such as population, religion, politics, urbanization, food systems, etc.). We will also
examine some of the ways human activities are increasingly altering our environment. By the time you
finish this course, my hope is that you’ll have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Earth and
the cultural processes taking place on it.
The word geography comes from the Greek words meaning “Earth description.” Several thousand years
ago many scholars were indeed “Earth describers,” and therefore geographers more than anything else.
During this time, Chinese, Egyptian, and Phoenician civilizations were beginning to explore the places and
spaces within and outside their homelands. The earliest evidence of such explorations comes from the
archaeological discovery of a Babylonian clay tablet map that dates back to 2300 BCE 2. Click here to see an
image of this map as well as other early significant maps.
Over the centuries, there was a trend away from generalized Earth description toward more specialized
disciplines – such as geology, meteorology, economics, and biology – and so geography as a field of study
was somewhat overshadowed. Over the last few hundred years, geography has reaffirmed its place in the
academic world, and today geography is an expanding and flourishing field of study 1. Check out The
Association of American Geographers website to learn more about what geographers do as well as salary
data and trends.
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
Studying the World Geographically
Geographers study how things differ from place to place, i.e. the distributional and locational relationships
of things around the world (what is often referred to as the “spatial” aspect of things) 1. Geographers ask two
simple questions: where and why? If you are answering those two questions for any location, topic, process,
phenomena, etc., then you are using the discipline of geography.
Now, there are HUGE misconceptions of what geography actually is and what it entails.
{Inserting personal anecdote – when I meet someone for the first time and they ask me, “what do
you do for a living?” or “what did you go to school for?” and I reply and say “I’m a Geography
Instructor” or “I majored in geography”, usually the follow-up question is something along the lines
of “what’s the capital of Delaware?” or “what’s the name of that country next to Uzbekistan?”.
People assume that geography is locating and knowing names and places on a map. But as
mentioned earlier, this is not the case.}
A lot of these misconceptions stem from the fact that geography as a discipline is no longer taught in our K12 public school system anymore. It *sort of* gets lumped in with history (and usually involves drawing
locations on maps), but it’s rarely a separate class with its own separate curriculum. As a result, we tend to
associate geography with names on a map – otherwise known as place names. Place names are simple and
require no further skill other than basic memorization. Place names (such as the names and locations of the
50 states of the United States or the names and locations of the countries in Latin America or Africa or
Southeast Asia) are something we all should have learned in elementary and middle school when our brains
were at their peak in terms of memorization. Studies (such as this one) have shown that certain components
of our memorization skills begin to decline in early adulthood. There are of course exceptions to this, but
my point is that I am NEVER going to ask you to label the state of Arkansas on a blank map. Should you
know where Arkansas is? Absolutely. But you don’t need a college professor to teach you that. You can
simply print out a blank map and fill it in or you can buy a puzzle of the 50 states or the countries in Eastern
Europe or wherever (heck, there’s likely an app for that!). What I’m going to teach you is something that
takes a higher skill set and required college-level thinking – spatial analysis, or the where and why of
Earth’s physical features.
Since geography is the study of where and why, you can imagine how broad this discipline is. You can study
ANYTHING with this discipline as long as you’re answering those two basic questions.
{Inserting personal anecdote – this is one of the things I love most about this discipline. When I
first started my undergraduate career (at a community college) I began as a biology major. This
wasn’t because I was particularly fond of the subject, it was because I was told, “you need to pick a
major.” I chose biology because I was always interested in science and biology was the subject I
always did the best in and felt I understood it well. During my first semester I took an English,
math, biology, philosophy, and astronomy class. What I realized that first semester is that while I
was interested in my biology class I was also really
interested in my philosophy class and my astronomy
class. The following semester I took English, world
religions, history, environmental science, and
geography. I experienced the same thing – I was
interested in everything. I discovered during the second
semester that I could study all of those topics (history,
religion, biology, global warming, etc.) within the
context or discipline of geography. I switched majors
that second semester and have never looked back.
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
Geography as a discipline is very broad, and as a result, has been divided into two main branches – physical
geography and cultural (or human) geography. Physical geography is the spatial analysis (i.e. the where and
why) of the physical process and elements that make up the environment. This would include landforms,
rocks and minerals, water, weather and climate, plants, animals, soil, etc. Cultural (or human) geography
is the spatial analysis (i.e. the where and why) of the human elements and processes that make up cultures,
places and societies1. This would include population trends, economic activities, languages, religions,
political systems, settlements, food and agriculture, etc. Within these two branches exists many, many other
sub-fields (such as historical geography, geomorphology, etc.) as demonstrated by the image below.
Geography, therefore, doesn’t have its own body of facts or objects that only geographers study. The focus
of geology is rocks, the attention of economics is economic systems, demography examines human
population, and so on. Geography on the other hand is much broader in scope than most other disciplines
and therefore qualifies as interdisciplinary (meaning that it relates to more than one branch of knowledge).
Geographers, too, are interested in rocks and economic systems and population – specifically, describing
and understanding their location and distribution. To provide other examples, a geographer cannot
understand the distribution of different soil types without knowing something about the rocks from which
the soils were derived, the slopes on which the soils developed, and the climate and vegetation under which
they developed. Similarly, it is impossible to comprehend the distribution of agriculture without an
understanding of climate, topography, soil, drainage, population, economic conditions, technology,
historical development, and many other factors, both physical and cultural. Because of its wide scope,
geography bridges the academic gap between the natural (or physical) and social sciences 1.
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
Geographic Inquiry
What makes geography different from other disciplines is its focus on spatial inquiry and analysis.
Geographers also try to look for connections between things such as patterns, movement and migration,
trends, and so forth. In order for geographers to determine the where and why, they use methodologies
that are quite similar to the scientific method, but again with a geographic or spatial emphasis. This method
can be simplified into a four step process:
Ask a geographic question. This means to ask questions about spatial relationships in the world
around you.
2. Acquire geographic resources. Identify data and information that you need to answer your
3. Explore geographic data. Turn the data into maps, tables, and graphs, and look for patterns
and relationships.
4. Analyze geographic information. Determine what the patterns and relationships mean with
respect to your question.
Knowing where something is, how its location influences its characteristics, and how its location
influences relationships with other phenomena are the foundation of geographic thinking. This mode of
investigation asks you to see the world and all that is in it in spatial terms. Like other research methods, it
also asks you to explore, analyze, and act upon the things you find. It also is important to recognize that this
is the same method used by professionals around the world working to address social, economic, political,
environmental, and a range of scientific issues3.
1 Hess,
D. (2014). “Introduction to Earth”. McKnight’s Physical Geography, 3rd California Edition.
M. (2006). “Introduction to Maps”. Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition.
3 Dastrup, A., Ramjoue, G. (2016). “Into to Physical Geography”. Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Physical
2 Pidwirny,
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
Portraying the Earth
The goals and objectives of this lecture/chapter are to:

Develop an understanding of the size and shape of the Earth.

Become familiar with how geographers determine locations on Earth.

Know the basics of the Geographic Grid.

Explain what a map projection is.
The Size and Shape of the Earth
Our perception of Earth’s size, shape, and
topography is often distorted. Threedimensional wall maps and globes (such as
the example of Europe shown to the right)
exaggerate or emphasize landforms, such as
mountain ranges and valleys. These are often
exaggerated 8 to 20 times their actual
proportional dimensions.
The diameter of our planet is only about 13,000
kilometers (7,900 miles). Diameter is defined as a straight
line passing from side to side through the center of a body
or figure. The figure to the left illustrates Earths diameter
as measured from the North Pole to the South Pole and
from the equator. Note that the two measurements are not
equal (i.e. Earths diameter is slightly longer when
measured at the equator, as opposed to the North Pole
and South Pole. This will be addressed on page 3.
To put this in perspective, the Moon is 385,000 kilometers
(239,000 miles) from Earth and the Sun is 150,000,000,
kilometers (93,000,000 miles) away. The air travel
distance from San Francisco to New York City is about
4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles)1.
Earth’s surface varies in terms of elevation. The highest point on Earth, as measured from sea level, is
Mount Everest, which stands at 8.9 kilometers (5.5 miles). The lowest point on Earth, as measured from
sea level, exists on the seafloor. This is known as the Mariana Trench and it exists in the Pacific Ocean (east
of the Philippines and north of Guam). The trench is 11.03 kilometers (6.9 miles) below sea level. This
means that the total relief (or the total distance between the highest and lowest points on Earth) is only 19.9
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
kilometers (12.4 miles)1. Think about that for a minute. The distance between the highest and lowest points
on Earth is only 19.9 kilometers (12.4 miles). The distance from my house to the Oakland Airport is over
96.6 kilometers (60 miles) one way!
In terms of shape, Earth is almost, but not quite spherical. As mentioned previously, Earths diameter is
slightly larger when measured from the center of the Earth along the equator, then measured from North
Pole to South Pole. This means the surface of Earth flattens slightly at the North Pole and the South Pole
and bulges out slightly around the equator. Why does this happen? Enter Physics & Astronomy – any
rotating body has a tendency to bulge around its equator and flatten at the polar ends of its rotational axis 1.
Although the rock materials that make-up the Earth may seem quite rigid and immovable to us, they are
pliable and flexible (you’ll see further examples of this when we examine Earths tectonic plates in a couple
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
of weeks). What does all of this mean? Well, it means it is inaccurate to call our planet a perfect sphere. The
correct term for its shape (slight bulging in the center and flatter at the poles) is an oblate spheroid.
The Geographic Grid
As mentioned previously, geographers determine where and why. Where is usually the easier of the two
questions to answer, so this is where we will begin our fundamental geographic work. In order to determine
accurate locations on Earth, we have developed a grid system which consists of two sets of lines that
intersect at right angles. This allows the location of any point on the surface to be described by the
appropriate intersection. This grid system is known as The Geographic Grid or Latitude and Longitude.
Before we dive into latitude and longitude, it’s important to understand the difference between great circles
and small circles on a globe. Any plane that is passed through the center of a sphere bisects that sphere (i.e.
divides it into two equal halves) and creates what is called a great circle where it intersects the surface of
the sphere. The equator is an example of a great circle, because it cuts the globe equally in half. Planes
passing through any other part of the sphere produce what are called small circles where they intersect with
the surface (i.e. they do not cut the sphere/globe into two equal halves). See the images on the following
page for further details. Great circles have two properties of special interest for us:
1. A great circle is the largest circle that can be drawn on a sphere; it represents the circumference of
that sphere and divides its surface into two equal halves or hemispheres. As well see later in this
lecture/chapter, the dividing line between daytime and nighttime halves of Earth is a great circle.
2. A path between two points along the arc of a great circle is always the shortest route between those
points. Such routes on Earth are known as great circle routes (which will be discussed more in the
next chapter).
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
1. Latitude
Lines of latitude, also called parallels, are oriented in an east-west direction. Latitude lines always run
parallel to each other, and hence they are always equal distance apart. Latitude lines never converge or
cross. What are these lines measuring? When you see latitude values they are expressed as degrees (°). This
is because latitude lines are a description of location expressed as an angle north or south of the equator.
As shown in the image on the following page, we can project a line from any location on Earth’s surface to
the center of the Earth. The angle between this line and the equator is the latitude of that location. The
starting/beginning line of latitude is the equator or 0°. The equator is the starting line simply because it is
the largest parallel (i.e. a great circle) that can be drawn on the globe. In other words, the equator cuts the
globe into two equal hemispheres. All other parallels are small circles. The half of the globe north of the
equator is the northern hemisphere and the half south of the equator is the southern hemisphere. Lines of
latitude or parallels end at two specific points, the North and South Poles. These are represented at 90°N
(North Pole) and 90°S (South Pole). This means that the values for latitude range from a minimum of 0° to
a maximum of 90°. There is never a 91°N or a 200°S – 90 is the stopping point for latitude.
When determining the latitude of a location you must designate which hemisphere you are located in. As
you can see by the images below, the northern and southern hemisphere are mirror images of each other.
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
If I said I buried one hundred million dollars’ cash at 35° latitude, you have two choices – 35°N or 35°S.
This is not very accurate. If I said I buried one hundred million dollars’ cash at 35°N, then it gives you a
narrower focus and you know to look in the northern hemisphere along the 35°N parallel. The only time
you do not have to designate which hemisphere you’re in is when you are referring to the equator. The
degrees for the equator is always simply 0° latitude because you are at the line in-between both
The image to the right is illustrating how lines of
latitude are determined. For example, the 30°N
parallel is located where it is because the angle that
is created between the equator, the position on the
surface, and the center of the Earth is 30°, so the
latitude is 30°N. Same for the North Pole – the
angle that is creased between the equator, the
North Pole, and the center of the Earth is 90°, so
its latitude is 90°N
Remember, lines of latitude:

Are known as parallels

Run in an east-west direction

Measure distance north or south from the equator

Are parallel to one another and never meet
➢ Get shorter toward the poles; the equator is the only
great circle
College of Alameda
GEOG 2: Cultural Geography
Professor Bow
There are seven significant parallels or lines of latitude you should familiarize yourself with:
1. North Pole = 90°N
2. Arctic Circle = 66.5°N
3. Tropic of Cancer = 23.5°N
4. Equator = 0°
5. Tropic of Capricorn = 23.5°S
6. Antarctic Circle = 66.5°S
7. South Pole = 90°S
Note: The North Pole and South pole are points,
rather than lines (or you can think of them as
indefinitely small parallels. We will discuss the
significance of these shortly.
2. Longitude
Lines of longitude, also called meridians, are oriented in a north-south direction. Unlike lines of latitude,
meridians are not parallel. They do not cross, but they do converge at the North Pole and South Pole. Lines
of longitude extend from pole to pole and cross all parallels at right angles. Any pair of meridians is farthest
apart at the equator, becoming increasingly close together northward and southward and finally converging
at the poles. What are these lines measuring? When you see longitude values they are expressed as degrees
(°), same as parallels. This is because longitude lines are a description of an east-west location as measured
from the Prime Meridian.
The Prime Meridian has an interesting history. The
equator is the natural baseline from which to m …
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