HGAP - Topic 1.1-3 Vocab

absolute direction

A compass direction such as north or south.

absolute distance

Exact measurement of the physical space between two places.

Activity Space

the local areas within which people move or travel in the course of their daily activities; working space

Aerial Photography

taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated position off Earth's surface


a diagrammatic map type that represents the mapped area by distorting the geometry of the feature itself


the art and science of graphically representing a geographical area, usually on a flat surface such as a map or chart


counts the population of a nation, state, or other geographic region

Choropleth Map

uses colors, shades of one color, or patterns to show location of spatial data


a localized anomaly, usually an excess of something given the distribution or variation of something else

Compass Rose

a diagram of a compass showing direction

Dot Density/Distribution Map

thematic map that uses dots to represent the frequency of a variable in a given area


distance above sea level

Field Work

the process of observing and collecting data about people, cultures, and natural environments

Geospatial Information System (GIS)

a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on earth's surface

Global Positioning System (GPS)

used to find the exact location of things

Goode Homolosine Projection

an equal-area projection, which distorts the shape of objects in favor of accurately representing area. Divides the globe by continent and ocean to spread distortion equally across landmasses and bodies of water


lines drawn on a map connecting data points of the same value


distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees


distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees


a two-dimensional, or flat, representation of Earth's surface or a portion of it.

Map Projections

a way of representing the spherical earth on a flat surface particular place, making it useful for finding landmarks and for navigation

Map Scale

the relationship between the size of an object on a map and the size of the actual feature on earth's surface

Map Symbols

colors, lines, shapes, & symbols that represent information on a map

Mental Map

an internal representation of a portion of earth's surface based on what an individual knows about a place, containing personal impressions of what is in a place and where places are located

Mercator Projection

standard map projection used for nautical purposes because it correctly represents true direction everywhere on earth on a two-dimensional plane. Distorts size

Peter's Projection

an equal-area projection purposely centered on Africa in an attempt to treat all regions of earth equally. Cylindrical projection that maintains accurate sizes of the world's landmasses

Polar Projection

a cartographic projection of the sphere in which the point of sight is at the center and the plane of projection passes through one of the polar circles. Scale and area are both distorted and it's best for air navigation

Proportional or Graduated Circle Map

a map that uses symbols (such as circles or dots) of different sizes to represent numerical values

Reference Map

a map type that shows reference information for a layer but then map some physical, economic, or cultural phenomenon or top of that base layer

Relative Direction

left, right, forward, backward, up, down, directions based on people's surroundings and perception

Relative Distance

approximate measurement of the physical space between two places

Remote Sensing

the process of taking pictures of the earth's surface from satellites (or, earlier, airplanes) to provide a greater understanding of the earth's geography over large distances

Robinson Projection

shows the entire earth and distorts both shape and size slightly to make the two-dimensional representation look the most like the three-dimensional reality of the earth

Satellite Imagery

images of the earth taken from artificial satellites orbiting the planet


the physical gap or interval between two objects

Spatial Pattern

a way of thinking about how and why physical features or processes are positioned in geographic space

Spatial Perspective

perceptual structure, placement, or arrangement of objects on earth

Thematic Map

maps that tell a story about a place. thematic maps display the same geographical or political data shown on general maps as a base

Topographic Map

a map that shows the surface features of earth