AP Human Geography : Using Maps

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Using Maps

Which country is bordered only by the two most populous nations on Earth?

Possible Answers:

Bhutan

Bangladesh

Laos

Nepal

Burma

Correct answer:

Nepal

Explanation:

Nepal is a landlocked Asian country bordered only by China and India, which happen to be the two most populous nations on Earth.  Nepal is bordered to the north by China, and to the south, east, and west, by India.  Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Siliguri Corridor, which is part of India.

Example Question #2 : Using Maps

Which term describes the angular distance of points north and south of the Equator?

Possible Answers:

Poles

Mercator

Longitude

Latitude

Planar

Correct answer:

Latitude

Explanation:

Lines of latitude, also called "parallels," measure the angular distance of points north and south of the Equator. On maps, they appear as horizontal lines across the surface of the Earth.

Example Question #3 : Using Maps

If you wished to pinpoint and reveal the distribution of federal prisons across the United States, which of the following maps would best serve your purpose?

Possible Answers:

Choropleth map

Isoline map

Conic map

Proportional map

Dot map

Correct answer:

Dot map

Explanation:

A dot map may easily be used to demonstrate the distribution of a particular item across a space. Here, dots may be used to represent each federal prison and its location across a map of the United States.

Example Question #2 : Using Maps

Which of these best describes why it is so difficult to produce an accurate map of the world?

Possible Answers:

None of these answers is correct; the world can be perfectly mapped since the advent of geospatial technologies.

It is impossible to project a two-dimensional object onto a three-dimensional surface without some distortion.

Technological limitations prevent geographers from agreeing on the shape and composition of the Earth’s landmasses.

It is impossible to project a three-dimensional object onto a two-dimensional surface without some distortion.

Political concerns constantly interfere with the efforts of cartographers.

Correct answer:

It is impossible to project a three-dimensional object onto a two-dimensional surface without some distortion.

Explanation:

Whilst it is true that political concerns can sometimes impede the pursuit of an accurate depiction of the world this is not the primary reason why it is so difficult to produce an accurate map. The primary reason is that the world is a three-dimensional object (a sphere) and a map is a two-dimensional object (usually a rectangle). When a three-dimensional object is reproduced on a two-dimensional surface some aspects are naturally, and unavoidably, distorted. The challenge for many mapmakers is how to reduce this distortion, or rather how to provide the most accurate depiction of the world.

Example Question #3 : Using Maps

Which of the following terms best describes another name for lines of longitude?

Possible Answers:

Lines of latitude

Parallels

Outliers

Meridians

Perpendiculars

Correct answer:

Meridians

Explanation:

Geographers use a coordinate system to describe the location of any particular place on Earth. The coordinate system is made up of lines of longitude and lines of latitude. Lines of longitude—also called “meridians”—begin at the North Pole and make their way “up and down” the Earth to the South Pole. All lines of longitude eventually meet at the poles (i.e. time zones such as Eastern Standard Time or Greenwich Mean Time). On the other hand, lines of latitude make their way around the Earth and never intersect with each other; they are often also called “parallels” (i.e. the equator). 

Example Question #6 : Using Maps

Isolines are used to demonstrate ___________.

Possible Answers:

population distribution

terrain

elevation

cultural diffusion

climate

Correct answer:

elevation

Explanation:

“Isolines” are used primarily in topographical maps. The topography of a region refers to its elevation and the changes in its elevation; therefore, isolines are used to demonstrate elevation.

Example Question #4 : Using Maps

Which of these map projections is notable for trying to as accurately as possible reflect distance, relative size, compass direction and other variables, but failing to achieve complete accuracy in any of these areas?

Possible Answers:

The Peters Projection

The Robinson Projection

The Eratosthenes Projection

The Mercator Projection

The Ptolemy Projection

Correct answer:

The Robinson Projection

Explanation:

The Ptolemy Projection and The Eratosthenes Projection are not actual map projections so neither of these could be correct answers. The Mercator Projection specifically emphasizes accurate direction, but in doing so distorts land size. The Peters Projection is an attempt to accurately reflect the land size of all continents equally, but in doing so it distorts distance and direction. The Robinson Projection is something of a compromise in that it attempts to minimize errors in distance, relative size, and compass direction but does not accurately depict any one of these factors wholly.

Example Question #8 : Using Maps

In which of the following map projections do the areas of landmasses become increasingly distorted the further they are from the equator?

Possible Answers:

The Robinson Projection

The Meridian Projection

The Mercator Projection

The Fuller Projection

The Peters Projection

Correct answer:

The Mercator Projection

Explanation:

The Mercator Projection was an attempt to create a two-dimensional map that maintained accurate and reliable compass points, and in this it succeeded, but, unfortunately, in doing so it distorted the area of continents and landmasses relative to each other. In the Mercator Projection as you get further from the equator the landmasses become larger and larger compared to how they would accurately be projected. This means that Antarctica and Greenland look much larger than they should appear.

Example Question #9 : Using Maps

The international dateline falls on which of these lines of longitude?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The “international dateline” is on the opposite side of the planet to prime meridian. Whereas prime meridian is found at 0’, the international dateline is found at 180’. The international dateline is the point where each day begins for the first time, it is found in the Pacific Ocean.

Example Question #10 : Using Maps

The “resolution” of a map refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

the ratio between map distance and actual distance

the smallest thing that can be recorded on the map

None of these answers is correct.

the purpose of the map; why it was created

the individual interpretation of a map; how it is received

Correct answer:

the smallest thing that can be recorded on the map

Explanation:

The “resolution” of a map refers to the smallest thing that can be recorded on the map. For example a map of the United States might only show cities with a population of five hundred thousand or more, so a city with a population of four hundred thousand would fall outside of the resolution of the map. The ratio between map distance and actual distance is known as the “scale.”

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