Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (2024)

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (1)

Reference Maps: Regular maps showing cities, boundaries, mountains, or roads

This is also a good time to take a look attime zonesaround the world. If you refer back to the map above, you can see the different time zones in the various colors. Since the earth rotates 360 degrees in a 24 hour period, the earth rotates 15 degrees every hour. In an ideal world, each time zone would follow lines of longitude every 15 degrees (7.5 degrees in each direction from the center of the time zone). But because of political boundaries, time zones are not divided up so perfectly and vary greatly in shape and width.

Greenwich, England was chosen in the mid-nineteenth century as the starting point of time worldwide. The reason was because at the time, England was the superpower of the time both militarily and economically. So the meridian that ran through Greenwich became zero degrees or theprime meridian. Because of the earth’s rotation in reference to the prime meridian, locations east of the new meridian meant time was ahead while locations west of the meridian were behind in time in reference to Greenwich, England.

Ultimately, when you combine parallel and meridian lines, you end up with ageographic grid systemthat allows you to determine your exact location on the planet.

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (2)

Many think that latitude is a line connecting points on the earth and it's not.Latitudeis actually an angular measurement north or south of the equator (image on the left). So 30 degrees north means a point that is 30 degrees north of the equator. Latitude is also expressed in degrees, minutes, and seconds; 360 degrees in a circle, 60 minutes ( ' ) in a degree, and 60 seconds ( " ) in a minute. When you use Google Earth, the coordinate locations are in this degrees/minutes/seconds format. Latitude varies from 0 degrees (equator) to 90 degrees north and south (the poles).

A line connecting all points of the same latitude is called aparallel, because the lines run parallel to each other. The only parallel that is also a great circle is the equator. All other parallels are small circles. The following are the most important parallel lines:

  • Equator, 0 degrees
  • Tropic of Cancer, 23.5 degrees N
  • Tropic of Capricorn, 23.5 degrees S
  • Arctic Circle, 66.5 degrees N
  • Antarctic Circle, 66.5 degrees S
  • North Pole, 90 degrees N (infinitelysmall circle)
  • South Pole, 90 degrees S (infinitelysmall circle)
Latitude is also sometimes described aszones of latitude. Some of these zones of latitude include:
  • Low latitude - generally between the equator and 30 degrees N
  • Mid-latitude - between 30 degrees and 60 degrees N and S
  • High latitude - latitudes greater than about 60 degrees N and S
  • Equatorial - within a few degrees of the equator
  • Tropical - within the tropics (between 23.5 degrees N and 23.5 degrees S
  • Subtropical - slightly pole-ward of the tropics, generally around 25-30 degrees N and S
  • Polar - within a few degrees of the North or South Pole
Longitudeis the angular measurement east and west of the Prime Meridian (image on the right). Like latitude, longitude is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Lines connecting equal points of longitude are calledmeridians. But unlike parallels, meridians do not run parallel to each other. Rather they are farthest apart from each other at the equator and merge toward each other toward the poles. The problem with longitude is that there isn't a natural baseline like the equator is for latitude. For over a hundred years, nations used their own "prime meridian" which proved problematic for trade. But in 1883 an international conference in Washington D.C. was held to determine a global prime meridian. After weeks of debate, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England was determined as theGreenwich Meridianor also called theprime meridianfor the world. So today, longitude starts at the Prime Meridian and measures east and west of that line.

At 180 degrees of the Prime Meridian in the Pacific Ocean is theInternational Date Line. The line determines where the new day begins in the world. Now because of this, the International Date Line is not actually a straight line, rather it follows national borders so that a country isn't divided into two separate days (and we think hour time zones are a pain). If you look at the map above, the International Date Line is to the right in a dark, black line. Note how it is drawn to make sure nations are not divided by the International Date Line.

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (3)

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (4)

Much of Earth's grid system is based on the location of the North Pole, South Pole, and Equator. The poles are an imaginary line running from the axis of Earth's rotation. Theplane of the equatoris an imaginary horizontal line that cuts the earth into two equal halves. This brings up the topic of great and small circles. Agreat circleis any circle that divides the earth into a circumference of two equal halves. It's also the largest circle that can be drawn on a sphere. The line connecting any points along a great circle is also the shortest distance between those two points. Examples of great circles include the Equator, all lines of longitude, theline that divides the earth into day and night called thecircle of illumination, and theplane of ecliptic, which divides the earth into equal halves along the equator.Small circlesare circles that cut the earth, but not into equal halves. Examples of small circles include all lines of latitude except the equator, the Tropical of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, the Arctic Circle, and Antarctic Circle.

1B.2: Use landscape analysis to examine the human organization of space.

LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS (e.g., field observations, photographic interpretations) provides a context for understanding the location of people, places, regions, and events; human-environmental relationships; and interconnections between and among places and regions.

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (5)

One organization that is using LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS is the World Health Organization (part of the United Nations). They are mapping and analyzing the topography (shape of the land), soil analysis, etc., in order to determine how to increase the nutritional level especially for children. From their site it says: "The Landscape Analysis focuses on countries with high level of chronic undernutrition. Initially, the 36 high-burden countries* identified by the Lancet Nutrition Series (January 2008) to be home to 90% of the world's stunted children. However more recently additional countries have undertaken in-depth country assessments."

AP Focused Response Question (2003, #2)

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (6)

Module 1.3: Geographic Skills (2024)


Is human Geo a hard class? ›

AP Human Geography is often labeled as moderately to highly difficult, primarily for its unique course content. While the concept of human geography may seem foreign to many students, chances are they've already explored some of the course's tenets on their own.

What is a geographic skill? ›

Geographical skills are those which are taught almost uniquely within the geography curriculum. They include: Map skills and spatial skills. This includes the skills to interpret maps, globes and atlases as well as aerial photography, satellite imagery and digital mapping.

What is pattern AP human geography? ›

PATTERN. A PATTERN is the arrangement of objects on Earth's surface in relation to other objects. PATTERN refers to DISTRIBUTION – how they are spaced. LINEAR PATTERN – along straight lines – rivers, streets, railroad tracks.

What is a high latitude AP Human Geography? ›

Some of these zones of latitude include: Low latitude - generally between the equator and 30 degrees N. Mid-latitude - between 30 degrees and 60 degrees N and S. High latitude - latitudes greater than about 60 degrees N and S. Equatorial - within a few degrees of the equator.

What is the hardest AP class? ›

The hardest AP class is AP Physics 1, covering topics like Newtonian mechanics and electrical charge and force. Students also spend about 25% of their class time performing college-level lab experiments and writing reports.

Is AP Human Geography the easiest AP class? ›

Is AP Human Geography Easy Or Hard? AP Geography is considered quite easy, with class alumnae rating it 4.3/10 for overall difficulty (the 24th-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is lower than other AP classes, with 54% graduating with a 3 or higher.

Is AP Human Geography curved? ›

The AP Human Geography exam scores are curved to ensure uniformity and standardization across paper, digital, and timed exams. AP exam scores are then translated into college credits, where applicable.

Is AP Human Geography weighted? ›

The AP® Human Geography exam covers seven total units. Units 2-7 all carry the same weight at 12-17% of the exam. The first unit, Thinking Geographically, carries a lower weight at 8-10% of the exam.

What is site AP HuG? ›

Site is the exact location of a city, you can find it on a map. The situation of a city relates to its surrounding features, both human-made and natural. The site of a city has features that are inherent to its location.

What level is AP Human Geography? ›

APHG mirrors a typical undergraduate level Introduction to Human Geography course and covers the following seven units: The geographic perspective. Population. Cultural patterns and processes.

How does GPS work in AP Human Geography? ›

Explanation: GPS stands for Geographic Positioning System. This system uses data from satellites to pin-point a location on earth and help people find their way to a destination.

Is human geography an easy class? ›

AP Human Geography is a challenging exam. Roughly half of all students who take the exam fail to pass.

How do you pass human geography? ›

  1. Don't procrastinate! ...
  2. Focus on specific themes. ...
  3. Pay attention to keywords and commands in the question. ...
  4. Don't skip any questions! ...
  5. Take lots of practice tests. ...
  6. Don't spend too much time on any one question. ...
  7. Know the types of multiple-choice questions. ...
  8. Practice previous free-response essay questions.

Is AP Human Geo the easiest AP class? ›

Calculus BC, Biology, and English Literature have tough reputations in a lot of schools since there is more material to cover. US Government, Psychology, Human Geography, and Environmental Science tend to be easier since there is comparatively less to cover before the exam.

Is human geography paper 1? ›

There are three AQA A-Level Geography papers: Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 3. Paper 1 covers Physical Geography, Paper 2 covers Human Geography, and Paper 3 covers Geographical Debates.


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