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Unit 1

1.6 What are Scales of Analysis?

2 min readseptember 13, 2021


Sana Fatah

AP Human Geography 🚜

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Scales of Analysis in Human Geography

Scales of analysis are one of the key ways to analyze a map, and it is much more than just the literal distance scale in the legend of a map. Scales of analysis are used by geographers to analyze relationships among and between places to reveal important spatial patterns. Scales of analysis refers to the relationship between the portion of Earth being studied and Earth as a whole. What parts of the earth is on the map? Where does the map end? What is the level of specificity in the map?
  • Scales of Analysis: how a map can be analyzed
  • Map Scale or Cartographic Scale Definition: When specifically applied to a map, scale refers to the relationship of a feature’s length on a map to its actual distance on Earth.


4 Types of Scales of Analysis

The 4 most common types of scales of analysis in AP HUG are local, national, regional, & global.
    • Examples:
      • Local Scale of Analysis: City with supermarkets highlighted
      • National Scale of Analysis: A Country color coded based on religion
      • Regional Scale of Analysis: Map of schools across a state
      • Global Scale of Analysis: World Map of COVID-19 Cases by variant
    • The size of the place (city vs country) and area of interest (religion, supermarket, schools) are various dimensions and scales of analysis

    What Do Scales of Analysis Reveal?

The most important aspect of the topic of scales of analysis in human geography has to do with helping support analysis.
  • Does a map of bitcoin servers in Italy tell us about bitcoin servers in Australia? No, because these are different regions. The map of Italy does not reveal information about Australia.
  • Does a map of poverty in your city reveal trends of poverty in your state? No, because the local scale of your city does not represent the regional scale of your state, even though they are connected.

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