When geographers are studying locations, they describe their locations, characteristics, and its relation to other important locations. Here are different terms used to describe certain things about a location:
Absolute location: coordinates for a location, does not change
You tell your friend, “I live at 354 McMurray Dr.”
Relative location: location in relation to objects around it
When you are trying to tell your friend where you live, you could say, “I live by the McDonalds and Walmart and the YMCA”. Your friend will have an idea of where you live in relation to those land markers.
Place: a location that has meaning, the unique characteristic of a location
“Downtown” = more urban, skyscrapers, busy and lively
Time and distance decay: the farther sources are from each other, the less interaction they have
How likely are you to go to a Walmart in another state? Are you more likely to go to the Walmart in your town?
You go to the closest Walmart. As places are closer to you, you naturally interact with them more. As for the Walmart in another state, you are less likely to interact with it because there is more distance
Diffusion is how a characteristic spreads across space from one place to another
Geographers document the location where a characteristic develops and track it as it is carried everywhere over time. Characteristics can include clothing styles, diseases, music, innovative technology.
There are two different types of diffusion:
Relocation diffusion: when people emigrate out of a place, they take their culture and language with them into the new place.
Expansion diffusion: a characteristic spreads from one place to another, and each place develops it a little more and adds their unique touch
Hierarchical diffusion: spreads with the help of an important person, group, or organization
If the Kardashians sponsor a certain brand, other people will want to buy products from that brand
Contagious diffusion: quick, widespread diffusion of a characteristic throughout the population. Social classes do not matter
Think disease. Just like the flu is contagious and can quickly spread, characteristics are also contagious and quickly spread.
Slang is an instance of contagious diffusion. “Facts”, “Bae”, “On Fleek” came from communities across the country and eventually made its way to your hometown.
Spread of Christianity: as more Christians spoke about their faith and did missionary work, people converted.
Stimulus diffusion: the main idea is diffused, but slight changes are made
McDonalds in America sell hamburgers and fries. In India, Hindus do not eat beef, but McDonalds is still popular there. How come? This is because they sell veggie burgers instead. The common thread is both are McDonalds and both sell burgers. There are slight changes as the fast food restaurant diffuses.
🎥 Watch: AP HUG - Spatial Concepts and Vocab
Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP Human Geography exam.join now
Browse Study Guides By Unit