What is Human Geography?

Human Geography is the study of how people make places, how we organize space and society, how we interact with each other in places across space, and how we make sense of where we are.


To use Geography one needs to understand the idea of location and there are two types of location: Absolute location and relative location. Absolute location is a precise location using a coordinate system like GPS to know longitude and latitude. Relative location is location in relation to something else. Relative location changes over time with changing circumstances.

Dr. Snow and Cholera

Human Geography (6)

This is a map from our textbook that helps us understand the tools geographers use. Geographers usually get this data to make maps by doing fieldwork. Geographers then use the data they collected and usually put it in a GIS or geographic information science. GIS ” uses a computer program to assimilate and manage many layers of map data, which then provide specific information about a given place. GIS data are usually in digital form and arranged in layers. The GIS computer program can sort or analyze layers of data to illustrate a specific feature or activity.” ( https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_world-regional-geography-people-places-and-globalization/s04-01-geography-basics.html ) In Dr. Snow’s case he had no GIS. Geographers then ask the questions: where, pattern, why there, and so what? The wherein Dr. Snow’s case is the Soho district of London, England, in 1854. The pattern, in this case, is by certain pumps there are more people affected by cholera. The why there in Dr. Snow’s case is because some of the pumps are obviously contaminated with cholera. The so what in Dr. Snow’s case is because tons of people are dying and suffering from cholera.

Scale and How Maps Can Lie

Scale is the territorial extent of something. The varying scales of observation are: local, regional, national, and global.


Sometimes maps lie. Some maps like the Mercator projection project that Greenland is a similar size to Africa. The more maps you go through the sooner you notice all maps are lying in small ways because our planet which is a globe cannot be put onto a flat map with four corners. If you were to make a map on a globe there would be no room for flaws.

What does it mean to Think Geographically?

For one to think geographically one needs to understand their perception of place. To understand perception of place one needs to understand: cultural landscape, sequent occupance, mental maps, and activity places. Cultural landscape is the visible human imprint, the material character of a place. Sequent occupance is the layers of imprints in a cultural landscape reflecting years of architecture. Mental maps are maps we carry in our minds of places we have been and places we have heard of. Activity spaces are the places we travel to routinely like someone’s work. My mental map of my neighborhood is vivid as I can travel routinely around my neighborhood knowing where I am going. My mental map of Saint Norberts is not as vivid or descriptive and most of the time I still do not know where I am going. My mental map of Saint Norberts hopefully will become super vivid and descriptive the longer I go to school here. My mental map of the world is incredibly vague but I still believe I can point out seventy-five percent of the nations of the world if given a blank map.


Diffusion is how we human beings distribute throughout the world. There are two types of diffusion: expansion diffusion and relocation diffusion. Expansion diffusion is the idea or innovation spreading outward from the hearth. Relocation diffusion is the movement of individuals who carry an idea or innovation with them to a new perhaps distant location.

Example of Expansion Diffusion

Map of the spread of the bubonic plague in Europe.


Example of Relocation Diffusion

Map of transatlantic slave trade.


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