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Geography, Mapping, and Cartography Essay

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Geography and Geographic Value Judgments

Geography can be defined as the science that studies the distribution of human and physical features over the Earth and explains the relations between them (Kimel & Khabongo 17). It can also be described as the study of lands, their characteristics and inhabitants (Garcia 14). The name of this science is derived from the Greek word γεωγραφία that can be translated into English as earth description (Garcia 14).

Geography does not only describe physical environment. In some cases geographers can make value judgments or statements about what should or should not be done (Gerber 81). For instance, a geographer may say that that government should regulate the work of mining companies because their activities lead to deforestation and erosion. Moreover, researchers can tell that economies should find alternative sources of energy because natural resources are depleted at a very fast rate. These are examples of geographical value judgments.

Geographic fields of specialization

Spatial Geography

There are various sub-fields of geography that study different questions. For example, one can mention spatial geography which is the science that studies the locations of places, cities, regions, and so forth (Calderon 209). For instance, this study can provide information about the distance between two locations like Manila and San Francisco (Calderon 209). Moreover, it is aimed at determining the location of a certain geographic area.

Physical Geography

In turn, physical geography is a quantitative and analytical study of various processes and patterns that exist in the natural environment (Briggs and Smithson 6). In particular, this science is aimed at examining such issues as moisture and heat in the atmosphere, streams and currents, or the factors that shape the climate in a certain region (Briggs and Smithson 6). These are some of the questions that physical geography is aimed at investigating.

Land-Use Planning

The land-use planning is an activity that is closely related to geography. Its purpose is to identify the most effective ways of using of land and natural resources so that the interest of the community can be best met (Jones 175). Land-use planning is supposed to serve many practical purposes, for instance, urban development, the construction of roads or airports, or the design of landscape.

Human Geography

One should also speak about human geography that examines the distribution of human communities on the surface of the Earth (March and Alagona 74). Human geography addresses such questions political structures formed by human being, religious peculiarities of different regions, their economic development, and so forth. In other words, this science examines the relations between physical areas and human activities.

Historical Geography

Such a discipline as historical geography investigates a set of different questions. First of all, it is the science that studies the way in which human beings interacted with the natural environment in the past (Guelke 21). For instance, geographers try to understand how contemporary cities such as London or New York looked a several centuries ago. Furthermore, historical geography investigates how natural environment affects the relations between states. This issue is particularly important for modern international relations since the policies of many countries are driven by need to get access to natural resources.

Mapping vis-à-vis Cartography

There are two notions that are closely related to geography, namely cartography and mapping. Cartography can be viewed as the science that provides technique for modeling and describing physical space (Haklay 38). It is based on aerial photographs, satellite images, field measurements and so forth. In turn, the term map-making refers to a variety of techniques by the creators of maps. Some of these techniques may not be based on scientific evidence, especially, if one is speaking about the maps created in the past.

The International Date Line

The International Date Line (IDL) can be regarded as an imaginary line that distinguishes one calendar day from another (Duka 21). In other words, a person, who crosses this border, can see that the time on the clock does not differ; however, the data changes (Duka 21). This line is located at 180 degree latitude (Duka 21).


Latitudes are a set of geographic coordinates that specify the north-south position of a certain physical object on the surface of the Earth (Larkin 83). Latitudes are represented by parallel horizontal lines.


In turn, longitudes are coordinates that are used to determine the east-west position of the point. These coordinates are expresses in degrees and minutes (Larkin 83).

The Equator

The equator is the imaginary line that crosses the Earth’s axis of rotation at a right angle and divides it into two equal parts. This line divides the planet into the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

The “absolute address” of the Kingdom of Tonga

The term absolute address or absolute location is determined by using a certain pairing of longitude and latitude (Crespi 4). For example, one can provide the absolute address of such as country as the Kingdom of Tonga. The latitude is 23,28 degrees South, while latitude is 179 degrees West.

Works Cited

Briggs, David, and P. Smithson. Fundamentals of Physical Geography, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1986. Print.

Calderon, John. Foundations of Education, New York: Rex Bookstore, Inc, 1991. Print.

Crespi, Jess. Exploring Ecuador With the Five Themes of Geography, New York: Rosen Classroom, 2005.

Duka, Charles. World Geography’ 2007, London: Rex Bookstore, 2007. Print.

Garcia, Camen. English for Geographers, Madrid: Editorial Club Universitario, 2011. Print.

Guelke, Leonard. Historical Understanding in Geography: An Idealist Approach, Cambridge: CUP Archive, 1982. Press.

Gerber Rod. International Handbook on Geographical Education, New York: Springer, 2002. Print.

Haklay, Muki. Interacting with Geospatial Technologies, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Print.

Jones, Carys. Strategic Environmental Assessment And Land Use Planning: An International Evaluation, New York: Earthscan, 2005. Print.

Kimel, Michael, and L. Khabongo. School Certificate Geography 1, Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 2004. Print.

Larkin, Frank. Basic Coastal Navigation: An Introduction to Piloting, New York: Sheridan House, Inc., 1998.

March, Meredith, and P. Alagona. Barron’s AP Human Geography, London: Barron’s Educational Series, 2010. Print.

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