AP Human Geography Vocabulary Unit 1

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Changing attributes of a place- built landscape, occupance

Built Landscape- an area of land represented by its features and patterns of human occupation and use of natural resources Occupance- The building of culture from an old society to a new one. This shows how people react to their environment.

Cultural Attributes- Cultural Landscapes

Cultural features such as region, language, religion. Also economic features such as industry and agriculture. Pysical features such as climate and vegetation.

Density- Arithmetic, Physiological

Density- The frequency in which something is found in a place. Arithmetic Density- The number of objects in an area. EX: #ppl/KM Physiological Density- Number of people that could be sustained by agriculture in an area.

Diffusion- Hearth, Relocation, Expansion, Hierarchical, Contagious, Stimulus.

Diffusion- Process of a characteristic spreads across one place to another. Hearth Diffusion- Place in which Innovation originates Relocation Diffusion-The spread of an idea physically from one person to the next. Expansion Diffusion- The spread of a trend or feature among people from one area to another. Hierarchical Diffusion- The spread of an idea from people of authority to other places of authority. Contagious Diffusion- Fast moving diffusion throughout the population. Stimulus- The Spread of an underlying principle.

Direction- Absolute, Relative

Absolute Direction- Compass direction reading such as North or South. Relative Direction- Left, right, forward, backward, up, down, directions based on peoples surroundings and perception.

Dispersion/Concentration- Dispersed/Scattered, Clustered/Agglomerated

Dispersion- The spacing of people within geographic population boundaries. Concentration- The spread of a feature over space. Dispersed/ Scattered- If objects are relatively far apart. Clustered/ Agglomerated- If objects are close/grouped together.

Distance- Absolute, Relative

Distance- How far apart objects are. Absolute Distance- The distance that can be measured with a standard length. KM/MI Relative Distance- The distance between two places based on known places.


The arrangement of features in space. Density, Concentration, Pattern.

Environmental Determination

The belief that the environment determines the patterns of human culture and societal development.

Location- Absolute, Relative, Site, Situation, Place Name

Location- The position that something occupies on earth’s surface. Absolute Location- The geographical location of something given in coordinates. Relative location- The location of a place in relation to another. Site- A physical character of a place, such as climate, topography, soil, vegetation, latitude, and elevation. Situation- the location of a place relative to other places. Place name- A title given to a place on earth. Place could be names after a person, founder, or famous person. Places names change.

Pattern- Linear, Centralized, Random

Pattern- The geometric or regular arrangement of something in an area. Linear Pattern- Straight pattern such as houses on a street. Centralized Pattern- Clustered or concentrated at a certain place. Random Pattern- A pattern with no specific order.

Physical Attributes- Natural Landscapes

Physical Attributes/ Natural Landscapes- A physical landscape or environment that has not been affected by human activities.


The theory that the physical environment may set limits on human actions, but people have the ability to adjust to the physical environment and choose a course of action from many alternatives.

Region- Formal/Uniform, Functional/Nodal, Perceptual/Vernacular

Region- An area of earth distinguished by a distinctive combination of cultural and physical features. Formal/Uniform Region- An area where everyone shares a common one or more distinctive characteristics. Functional/Nodal Region- An area organized around a focal point. Perceptual/Vernacular- A place that people believe exists as part of their cultural identity.

Scale- Implied by degree of generalization

Scale- Relationship between the portion of earth being studied and the earth as a whole.


A point on earth’s surface.


Pertaining to space on or near earth’s surface.

Spacial Interaction

the movement and flows involving human activity.


The alteration of the original shape..

Geographic Information System

A computer system that can capture, store, query, analyze and display geographic data.

Global Positioning System

A system that determines accurately the precise position of something on earth.

Grid-North/South Pole,Latitude, Parallel, Equator, Longitude, Meridian, Prime Meridian, International Date Line

Latitude- The angular distance of a place north or south of the equator. Parallel- Imaginary line around the world to the equator. Equator-Imaginary line that divides the earth north and south. Longitude- Numbering system that calculates distance east and west of the prime meridian. Meridian- An arc drawn between the north and south poles that measures longitude. Prime Meridian- Located at the observatory in Greenwich, England at 0 degrees longitude. International Date Line- an imaginary line through the pacific ocean that marks one day earlier than to the west.


A visual representation of an area.

Map Scale

The ratio of a distance on a map to the corresponding distance on the ground.

Mape Types- Thematic, Statistical, Cartogram, Dot, Chropleth, Isoline

Thematic Map- A type of map that is designed to represent a specific geographic area’s theme. Statistical Map- A special type of map in which the variation in quantity of a factor such as rainfall, population, is indicated. Cartogram Map- A map that has been simplified to present a single idea. Dot Map- A thematic map in which a dot represents some frequency of the mapped variable. Choropleth Map- A thematic map in which ranked classes of some variable are depicted with shading patterns or colors for predefined zones. Isoline Map- A thematic Map with lines that connect points of equal value.

Mental Map

An internal representation of a portion of earths surface.

Model-Demographic Transition, Epidemiological Transition, Gravity, Von Thunen, Weber, Stages of Growth, Concentric Circle, Sector, Multiple Nuclei, Central Place

Model- A simplified abstraction of reality, structured to clarify casual relationships. Demographic transition- The process of change in a society’s population from a condition of high crude birth, death rates, and low rate of natural increase to a condition of low crude birth and death rates. Epidemiological Transition- Distinctive causes of death in each stage of the demographic transition model. 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. Von Thunen Model- Model of agricultural land use. Max Weber- German sociologist that regarded the development of rational social orders as humanity’s greatest achievement. Stages of growth- Five stage economical model of development by a pioneering advocate. Concentric Circle- A model of the internal structure of cities in which social groups are spatially arranged in series of rings. Sector- A model of the internal structure of cities in which social groups are arranged around a series of sectors, or wedges, radiating out from the central business district. Multiple Nuclei- A model of the internal structure of cities in which social groups are arranged around a collection of nodes of activities. Central Place- A theory that explains the distribution of services, based on the fact that settlements serve as centers of market areas fro services.


The scientific method of transferring locations on earth’s surface to a flat map.

Remote Sensing

A device that can gather data about earth’s surface from a satellite orbiting earth or from other long-distance methods.

Time Zones

An area that uses the same clock time. Earth is divided into 24 time zones, and in the 24, they are divided into smaller time zones.

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