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Machu Picchu - A stunning 4 gigapixel view from "The Lost City of the Incas," taken by photographer Kyle Porter






What is Geography?

The science of geography is likely the oldest of all sciences. Geography is the answer to the question that the earliest humans asked, "What's over there?" Exploration and the discovery of new places, new culture, and new ideas have always been basic components of geography.

Geography is often called the "mother of all sciences" as studying other people and other places led to other scientific fields such as biology, anthropology, geology, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry and etc.

Geography looks at how things differ from place to place.

Geography has no unique body of facts or concepts it can call wholly its own. It is a very broad field of inquiry and borrows its concepts from related disciplines.RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GEOGRAPHY & THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

Geography is both a physical science and a social science and combines characteristics of both.

Geography is interested in interrelationships … in examining how various factors interrelate.

Students often have trouble with geographic names and terms. If you need/want to know how to pronounce something, try this link.

Audio Pronunciation Guide

The site doesn’t list everything but it does have the words with which you’re most likely to have trouble.

Other pronunciation sites (although not specific to Geography) include:

Audio Pronunciations: Merriam-Webster

Free online Dictionary of English Pronunciation

Macmillan Online Dictionary with Free Audio Pronunciation

Forvo: the pronunciation dictionary

VOA Pronunciation Guide

Audio pronunciations: Oxford Dictionaries

8 Online Audio Pronunciation Guides




Two Branches of Geography

o   physical / environmental geography: the natural features of the earth

o   human / cultural geography: human culture and its impact on the earth


Physical Geography

The Scientific Method

Observe phenomena that stimulates a question or problem

Offer an educated guess (hypothesis) about the answer

Design an experiment to test the hypothesis

Predict the outcome of the experiment

Conduct the experiment and observe the outcome

Draw conclusions and formulate rules based on the experiment

Earth is a closed system / sphere that we divide into 4 sub-spheres.

1. atmosphere


climate vs. weather

energy, heat and temperature

pressure and wind


storms and disturbances

climatic zones

2. hydrosphere

water properties

water distribution

water cycle: oceans, evaporation, sublimation, evapotranspiration, atmosphere, condensation, precipitation, ice and snow, snowmelt, runoff, stream flow, surface water, infiltration, ground water, discharge, springs

3. biosphere


actors that influence ecosystems

biogeochemical cycles

4. lithosphere


earth’s structure

plate tectonics


geological hazards


Human Geography

Vermeer’s The Geographer. Holland, 1669    Two ways to study Human Geography. We'll use both.

By Region (Regions linked at top)

Areas of the earth’s surface marked by certain properties

Devices that enable us to make spatial generalizations

Based on criteria we establish

Criteria can be human or physical properties or both

All regions have Area, Boundaries, Location


By Concept / Theme (Themes linked at top)

1. Physical (environmental) Geography: more problem oriented

atmosphere: atmospheric hazards, global warming

hydrosphere: distribution, use, flooding, oceans

biosphere: deforestation, desertification, food resources

lithosphere: geological hazards

2. Demography (population and settlement)

population size and distribution

population growth and change

demographic transition model

migration patterns

settlement patterns


3. Cultural (coherence and diversity) Geography

learned, shared behavior … way of life

cultural diffusion

cultural conflict


ethnic culture


4. Political (geopolitical) Geography




fragmentation and unity

international and supranational organizations

5. Economic (development) Geography

more / less developed

core-periphery model

indicators or economic development

indicators of social development

sustainable development









Need Help with Your Course? Try These Resources!

Geography Facts Everyone Keeps Getting Wrong

Atlapedia Online

BBC News Country Profiles

CIA Factbook

Countries and Their Cultures - World Culture Encyclopedia

Countries of the World (Infoplease)


Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Reports

Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) Country Data and Global Forecasting

ELDIS Regional and Country Profiles

One World - Countries and Regions

Earth's Population (02:36)

Measuring Economic Development (04:40)

Trade Patterns (04:34)

Untouchable: Life as an Outcaste (06:16)

Essentials of Faith: Buddhism (03:11)

Essentials of Faith: Christianity (02:09)

Essentials of Faith: Hinduism (01:56)

Essentials of Faith: Humanism (03:49)

Essentials of Faith: Islam (02:59)

Essentials of Faith: Judaism (02:39)

Essentials of Faith: Paganism (03:29)

Crossing Borders for Survival (06:12)

Natural Resources and War in Africa (02:17)

Islam in Africa (01:27)

Trade Relationships Bring Islam to Southeast Asia (02:54)

African Politics (01:44)

Global Economy: The Journey for Coffee (05:10)

Mesoamerican Civilizations (02:02)

Angkor Wat (03:12)

High Civilizations of the Andes (02:18)

Children of the Secret State: North Korea (02:07)

Developing Countries: Consequences of Debt (04:53)

Journey Along Inca Road (02:18)

Inca Highway (04:10)

The Lure of the City (02:22)

Mongolia: Wrestling with Change (03:14)

China's Migrant Workers (02:53)

Welcome to Dubai (01:04)

World’s Biggest Democracy (01:31)

Island Nation of Tuvalu (04:25)

Tibet: Religious State (03:54)

Ukraine: Trade Route Crossroads (04:11)

Taiwan: Democracy in Turmoil (05:13)

Saudi Royal Family (04:42)

United Arab Emirates' Rise to Wealth (04:03)

Overview of The Philippines (03:50)

Kashmir: A Nuclear Flash Point (02:35)

Kim Jong-Il: In His Father's Footsteps (03:32): Kim Jong-Il is now deceased and was succeeded by his son but the video is still a good look at North Korea.

Russia's Natural Resources (03:38)

Freedom Fighters: 25 Years in East Timor (03:02)

Laos: Overcoming the Consequences of the Vietnam War (04:57)

Thailand: Free and Independent (02:44)

Australia's Indigenous Peoples (03:28)

Human Population and Scale of Change (01:55)

Inequality of Production and Consumption (02:18)

Poverty in America (03:03)

Retail Prices vs. Cost of Personal Services (02:42)

Financial Globalization: A Controversial Issue (03:27)

Prelude: Uneven Legacy of NAFTA in Mexico (02:04)

Costs and Benefits of Government Regulations (04:52)

Globalization (02:28)

Population Explosion (02:01)

Controversy Over Malthusian Theory (01:36)

Megacities of the Future (02:25)

Culture (03:13)

Three Countries You Ought to Know About (iTunes audio podcasts, varying lengths)

The Geography of US Elections (online videos, varying lengths)

Led by Martin Lewis, this map-intensive YouTube course explores the geography of US elections (both past and present) and challenges the suggestion that we are simply divided into a Red America and Blue America. It's really much more complicated than that. The course was first offered by Stanford's Continuing Studies program in 2008. (The original posts – "the course will last five weeks," "includes a debrief after the election," "begins in October," "a new lecture will be posted each Wednesday" and etc – are still online. Ignore those. The course ended 2 years ago but all materials were left for public use.)

China: Traditions and Transformations (online videos, varying lengths)

Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and social revolution; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, coping with longstanding problems of economic and political management. Both images bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought. Harvard's China Studies video lectures cover these themes in order to understand China in the modern world and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean.

Economics, Politics and International Change (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This UCSD course examines the domestic and international sources of economic and political change. Topics include the rise of the nation-state, comparative economic development, authoritarian and democratic regimes, international and civil conflict, globalization and its domestic and international implications.

Global Politics of Food (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

The global economy is changing the way we think about food, from the kinds of things we eat, to the way food is grown and harvested. This special report from American RadioWorks includes three stories: Engineering Crops in a Needy World, A Bean of a Different Color and The Campaign to Humanize the Coffee Trade.

How Much Will Trade Liberalization in Rich Countries Help Africa?

Introduction to Development (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This Berkeley YouTube course provides an introduction to comparative development. The course assumes that students know little about life in Third World countries and are unfamiliar with the relevant theory in political economy of development and underdevelopment. The first part of the course covers the historical patterns of incorporation into an expanding world system and the different theories associated with these processes. The second part deals with a variety of micro and macro phenomena organized around land, labor and work.

Islam and the State (online video, 59 min)

UC Political Scientist Vali Nasr joins host Harry Kreisler for a discussion of the role of Islam in politics.

Latin American Briefing Series (online videos, varying lengths)

These YouTube conferences and lectures are part of the University of Chicago's CLAS Latin American Briefing Series.

The Roots of Poverty in Latin America

New Insights on Poverty and Life Around the World (online video, 19 min)

Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.

East vs. West: The Myths That Mystify (online video, 18 min)

Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West -- and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

Globalization (online course, varying lengths)

This Berkeley geography course attempts to answer a number of difficult questions. How and why are geographical patterns of employment, production and consumption unstable in the contemporary world? What are the consequences of NAFTA, an expanded European Community and post-colonial migration flows? How is global restructuring culturally reworked, locally and nationally?

Global Problems of Population Growth (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This Yale survey course introduces students to the important and basic material on human fertility, population growth, the demographic transition and population policy. Topics include: the human and environmental dimensions of population pressure, demographic history, economic and cultural causes of demographic change, environmental carrying capacity and sustainability. Political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility are also addressed. The lectures and readings attempt to balance theoretical and demographic scale analyzes with studies of individual humans and communities. The perspective is global with both developed and developing countries included.

Population Geography: World Population Distribution, Growth and Change (online PPT, 49 slides)

An excellent slide presentation covering some of the major topics in demography. Scroll down below the comments section to see the presentation transcript that accompanies the slides.





There are some great Frontline/World videos about countries we look at in human geography. If you are interested in watching any of them, they’re posted here.




Map Your Own Data Links (links for F2F sections only)

My Maps

Google Account

Google My Maps User's Guide


Damaged Road Signs

Who's to Blame for Bush?

Road Kill Around Delaware OH

Bob Marley's 1980 Uprising Tour

Leisure Activities of My High School Years

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Map of California

Haunted Places in Ohio

OWU Professors

The Police Reunion Tour 2007-2008

Plane Crashes from the Past 30 Years in the US

Where is the Internet?,-72.37793&spn=12.00944,22.324219&z=5,-93.339844&spn=28.939663,78.837891&z=4,-98.428574&spn=0.301588,0.615921&z=11,-87.258911&spn=1.836244,4.927368&z=8&iwloc=0004729a9d837c9e22845,-89.912109&spn=17.675137,32.387695&z=5,-95.20752&spn=7.675935,14.084473&z=6,-96.679687&spn=33.312757,56.337891&z=4





Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   02/15/2021   1800

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