INTRODUCTORY UNIT: GEOGRAPHY AS A SCIENCE. MAPS AS THE MAIN TOOL IN GEOGRAPHY.
Science dealing with the study of the distribution of any phenomena in the Earth's surface, as well as the interaction of human beings with the environment.
- NATURAL SCIENCES deal with the study of nature, whereas SOCIAL SCIENCES deal with the study of societies and human activities.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY focuses on geography as an Earth Science and therefore a natural science. It is concerned with the physical characteristics and processes of the lithosphere, hidrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
HUMAN GEOGRAPHY focuses on geography as a social science. It is concerned mainly with human activities, overall those related to the interaction of humans with the environment.
- APPROACHES TO GEOGRAPHICAL STUDIES:
SYSTEMATIC (GENERAL) GEOGRAPHY is concerned with the formulation of general laws and principles applied to all the Earth, e.g. the study of erosion processes.
REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY analyses regions in order to understand or define their unique characteristics, e.g. the study of the Extremadura peneplain (penillanura).
- DEFINITION (map):
A flat representation of the Earth's surface made at scale.
- MAKING MAPS:
- The Earth is a sphere (a non-developable surface), so it cannot be represented in a plane.
- The Earth is too large to be represented in a map.
- The Earth's surface has 3D, while a map is 2D.
- The Earth' s surface is complex with a huge amount of info to represent in a small map.
- CARTOGRAPHIC PROJECTIONS.
- CONTOUR LINES.
- CARTOGRAPHIC GENERALIZATION (USE OF SYMBOLS).
ARE THE SOLUTIONS DEFINITIVE?
- No. Some distortions always remain in any type of projection. The smaller the scale, the largest the distortions.
- Almost definitive: height is exact in contour lines, but not in the space between them.
- Non definitive, but symbols are useful for most purposes.
INFORMATION FOR MAPS CAN BE OBTAINED BY...
- DIRECT OBSERVATION (FIELDWORK).
- INDIRECT OBSERVATION (AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH & REMOTE SENSING).