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Geographical analysis

Geography (Year 12) - Geography Knowledge

Adrienne Reeder

Location is one of the most significant aspects of this subject, which is a position of an object that could be put on a map. That location doesn’t need to be on the Earth’s surface; it can be below, within the oceans, the atmosphere, or even in space. Location can also be divided into nominal, relative, and absolute. Nominal locations are the names of a place. Examples include Brisbane, the Snowy Mountains, Uluru, and New Zealand. Nominal locations specify a location’s name, and their scale can vary.  A relative location is a prevalent form of a location. How often have you given directions to your house using landmarks rather than just your address? Relative location is the location of something comparable to other features. You can understand a lot about a place based on its surroundings. The third kind of location is called absolute location, which is the particular location of something. This is usually based on a geographic coordinate system like latitude and longitude. If you think about it, many navigation GPS systems use relative and absolute locations. If you type in an address and use your current location as the starting point in a mapping system like Google Maps, it will give you the location of your destination and a few relative pathways to get there.

Quantitative data is numbers-based, countable, or measurable. Qualitative data is interpretation-based, descriptive, and related to language. Quantitative data tells us how many, how much, or how often in calculations. Qualitative data can help us to understand why, how, or what happened behind certain behaviours.


Distance is a mathematical concept that uses a measuring unit to determine the space between two or more features. A simple example would be using Google Maps to determine the distance from Perth CBD, Western Australia, to Sydney CBD, New South Wales. Geographers are also concerned with issues of space. In particular, they are concerned with what exists between areas. Are the features between the spaces related, similar, or dissimilar? The 1st Law of Geography states they are likely related, but that isn’t always true. Networks are concerned with the movement or flow of an object through space and time. This can apply to transportation, migration, trade, the flow of rivers, glaciers, the atmosphere, and cyber networks.


Geography is about spatial understanding, which requires an accurate grid system to determine absolute and relative locations. The final location is the exact x- and y- coordinate on the Earth. Relative location is the location of something close to other entities. For example, when you use your GPS in your smartphone or car, say Google Maps, you put it in an absolute location. But as you start driving, the device tells you to turn right or left relative to objects on the ground: "Turn left on exit 202"is close to the other exit points. Or if you give directions to your house, you often use relative locations to help them understand how to get there. These concepts are essential to understanding spatial interaction and spatial behaviour, the dynamics of human population growth and movement, patterns of culture, economic activities, political organisation of space, social issues, and human settlement patterns (i.e. urbanisation).

A pattern is the arrangement of objects on Earth’s surface about other things.  Pattern refers to distribution – how they are spaced.

  • Linear pattern – along straight lines – rivers, streets, railroad tracks

  • Centralised pattern – objects circle other objects – Islamic city (houses and public buildings may circle mosque)

  • Random pattern – no regular distribution can be seen.

  • Rectilinear or grid pattern – reflects a rectangular system of land – farmland or early township survey systems.

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