AP Human Geography 1.1 Vocabulary

Absolute distance

A distance that can be measured with a standard unit of length, such as a mile or kilometer

Absolute location

the exact position of an object or place, measured within the special coordinates of a grid system


The theory and practice of making visual representations of Earth's surface in the form of maps

Distance Decay Effect

The decrease in interaction between two phenomena, places, or people as the distance between them increases

Global Positioning

A set of satellites used to help determine locations anywhere on Earth's surface with a portable electronic device

Human Geography

The study of the spatial variation in the patterns and processes related to human activity


The angular distance north or south of the equator, defined by lines of latitude or parallels (east to west)


The angular distance east or west of the Prime Meridian, defined by lines of longitude, or meridians (north to south)

Prime Meridian

An imaginary line passing through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, that marks the 0 degree line of longitude

Qualitative Data

Data associated with a more humanistic approach to geography, often collected through interviews, empirical observations, or the interpretation of texts, artwork, old maps, and other archives

Quantitative Data

Data associated with mathematical models and statistical techniques used to analyze spatial location and association

Reference Map

A map type that shows reference information for a particular place, making it useful for finding landmarks and for navigation

Relative Distance

A measure of distance that includes the costs of overcoming the friction of absolute distance separating two places. Relative distances often describe the amount of social, cultural, or economic connectivity between two places

Relative Location

The position of a place relative to the places around it


The absolute location of a place, described by local relief, landforms, and other cultural or physical characteristics


The relative location of a place in relation to the physical and cultural characteristics of the surrounding area and the connections and interdependencies within that system; a place's spatial context


relating to or occupying space.

Thematic Map

A type of map that displays one or more variables- such as population or income level- within a specific area

Time-Space Convergence

The idea that distance between some places is actually shrinking as technology enables more rapid communication and increased interaction among those places

Topographic Maps

Maps that use isolines to represent constant elevations. If you took a topographic map out into the field and walked exactly along the path of an isoline on your map, you would always stay the same elevation