IB DP Geography Geographic Skills

Interpret, analyse and, when appropriate, construct tables, graphs, diagrams, cartographic material and images

Map

Isoline and isopleth maps

Example

A contour isoline map of the decline in the depth to groundwater in metres in the United Arab Emirates
A contour isoline map of the decline in the depth to groundwater in metres in the United Arab Emirates, along with the change in the salinity of the underlying aquifers. [Source]

Definition

Isolines are lines drawn on maps connecting data points of the same value. Isolines should have equal intervals between them numerically, and if shaded in a choropleth manner, the map can be known as an isopleth map.

carto.com

Possible DP Geography application

  • Contour lines
  • Travel times to/from a location

Last seen in a DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Urban environments
Map

Choropleth maps

Example

Definition

Choropleth Maps display divided geographical areas or regions that are coloured, shaded or patterned in relation to a data variable. This provides a way to visualise values over a geographical area, which can show variation or patterns across the displayed location.

The data variable uses colour progression to represent itself in each region of the map. Typically, this can be a blending from one colour to another, a single hue progression, transparent to opaque, light to dark or an entire colour spectrum.

datavizcatalogue.com

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Unit 3
  • N19 - Geophysical hazards, Food and health and Unit 3
  • N20 - Food and health
  • M21 - Unit 2
  • M22 - Unit 1
Map

Topological maps

Example

Link

The topologist’s world map

Definition

A topological map is a type of diagram that has been simplified so that only vital information remains and unnecessary detail has been removed.

Wikipedia

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Map

Dot maps

Example

Link

nbcnews.com - 500,000 lives lost [22 February 2021]

Definition

There are two types of Dot Map: one-to-one (one point represents a single count or object) and one-to-many (one point represents a particular unit, e.g. 1 point = 10 trees).

Dot Maps are ideal for seeing how things are distributed over a geographical region and can reveal patterns when the points cluster on the map. Dot Maps are easy to grasp and are better at giving an overview of the data, but are not great for retrieving exact values.

datavizcatalogue.com

Possible DP Geography application

  • Population distibution
  • The incidence of a disease case

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Map

Flow maps

Example

Link

flowmap.blue - Relocations between Swiss cantons in 2016

Definition

A type of thematic map that uses linear symbols to represent movement.

Wikipedia

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M22 - Oceans and coastal margins
Map

Thematic maps

Example

Projected wheat yield to 2050
Change in potential average yields for corn, potatoes, rice, and wheat in 2050 [Source]

Definition

A type of map that portrays the geographic pattern of a particular subject matter (theme) in a geographic area.

Wikipedia

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M19 - Oceans and coastal margins, Extreme environments and Unit 2
  • N19 - Extreme environments and urban environments
  • N20 - Freshwater and Food and health
  • M21 - Oceans and coastal margins and Extreme environments
  • N21 - Extreme environments and Geophysical hazards
  • M22 - Extreme environments
Map

Topographic maps

Example

[Source]

Definition

The distinctive characteristic of a topographic map is the use of elevation contour lines to show the shape of the Earth's surface.

USGS

Possible DP Geography application

  • Landform identification
  • Land use identification

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Freshwater
  • M19 - Urban environments
  • N19 - Oceans and coastal margins
  • N20 - Geophysical hazards
  • M21 - Food and health
  • M22 - Urban environments

Sources

Map

Proportional symbols

Example

The World’s Top Countries for Military Spending
The World’s Top Countries for Military Spending [Source]
Link

USGS - USGS Magnitude 2.5+ Earthquakes, Past Day

Definition

Proportional symbol maps scale the size of simple symbols (usually a circle or square) proportionally to the data value found at that location. They are a simple concept to grasp: The larger the symbol, the “more” of something exists at a location.

Axis Maps

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Unit 1
  • N20 - Oceans and coastal margin
Instagram

Aerial photographs

Example

Patterned ground
Extreme environments - Patterned ground

Definition

An aerial photograph, in broad terms, is any photograph taken from the air. Normally, air photos are taken vertically from an aircraft using a highly-accurate camera.

Concepts of Aerial Photography

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Oceans and coastal margins
  • M22 - Leisure, tourism and sport
Instagram

Ground-level photographs

Example

White desert

Definition

Ground photography is taken from a vantage point somewhere at ground level. It can produce close up, detailed images or wider angle shots, but within a much more limited scope than aerial photographs.

JRR Aerial Imaging

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Instagram

Satellite images

Example

Dark, flat-topped mesas stand out amid the surrounding lighter-toned landscape in northwest Sudan.
Eroded Beauty in the Sahara Desert [Source]

Definition

Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets captured by satellites.

IGI Global

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M19 - Leisure, tourism and sport
  • N21 - Freshwater
Graph

Scatter graphs

Example

Definition

A scatter diagram (also known as scatter plot, scatter graph, and correlation chart) is a tool for analyzing relationships between two variables for determining how closely the two variables are related. One variable is plotted on the horizontal axis and the other is plotted on the vertical axis. The pattern of their intersecting points can graphically show relationship patterns.

online.visual-paradigm.com

Possible DP Geography application

  • Frequency of events during time periods
  • Amount spent (on food for example) vs percentage of total income spent on food
  • Number of deaths vs earthquake magnitude
  • River velocity vs distance from source

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M19 - Freshwater
  • N21 - Unit 3
  • M22 - Geophysical hazards
Graph

Line graphs

Example

Definition

A line chart (aka line plot, line graph) uses points connected by line segments from left to right to demonstrate changes in value. The horizontal axis depicts a continuous progression, often that of time, while the vertical axis reports values for a metric of interest across that progression.

chartio

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M19 - Unit 1
  • N20 - Unit 1 and Unit 2
  • N21 - Unit 3
Graph

Bar graphs

Example

Definition

A bar graph is a graphical representation of information. It uses bars that extend to different heights to depict value.

Bar graphs can be created with vertical bars, horizontal bars, grouped bars (multiple bars that compare values in a category), or stacked bars (bars containing multiple types of information).

Investopedia

Possible DP Geography application

  • The percentage of a population, living in informal settlements, for a number of (non sequential) years
  • The financial costs of hosting sports events at selected Summer and Winter Olympics

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Leisure, tourism and sport
  • M21 - Leisure, tourism and sport
  • N21 - Urban environments
  • M22 - Unit 3
Graph

Compound graphs

Example

Definition

A compound bar-chart (also known as a stacked bar-chart) is similar to a clustered bar-chart, but instead of placing the bars next to each other, they are placed on top of each other.

peterstatistics.com

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • N19 - Unit 1
  • M21 - Unit 3
  • N21 - Food and health
  • M22 - Freshwater
Graph

Triangular graphs

Example

Definition

Triangular graphs are used to show the relationship between 3 sets of data, and are used when the 3 sets of data combined add up to 100%.

Piggraphy Alevel Skills

Possible DP Geography application

  • Changes over time in the percentage of a population, from three different age groups, who play a sport

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • N20 - Leisure, tourism and sport

Support from the RGS

ZA-3g-A-Guide-to-Triangular-Graphs-WF

Graph

Logarithmic graphs

Example

The Hjulström Curve
The Hjulström Curve

Definition

On a logarithmic scale, numbers on the Y-axis don’t move up in equal increments but instead each interval increases by a set factor – it’s often 10 but could be a factor of 3 or 350 or 3,500, anything at all. It all depends on what is deemed to be the most effective way of interpreting the data in question. The Richter scale is logarithmic – an earthquake that measures 6 is 10- times more destructive than one that measures 5.

It “flattens out the rate of growth so it becomes easier to see,", he says. "On a logarithmic graph of COVID-19 infections, even though the overall numbers are still increasing, you can see the point at which the rate of growth starts to level off when that exponential growth has stopped."

World Economic Forum - What's a logarithmic graph and how does it help explain the spread of COVID-19? [3 April 2020]

Possible DP Geography application

  • Geophysical hazards - Earthquake magnitude
  • Freshwater - The Hjulström Curve

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M22 - Geophysical hazads
Graph

Bipolar graphs

Example

Response distributions for the bipolar scale survey question
[Source]

Definition

Bipolar survey -

A survey where a chosen aspect is rated using
polar opposite ratings (e.g. from -5 to +5).

PMT - Edexcel Geography A-Level

Bipolar analysis -

One way of displaying the results of the bi-polar analysis is to draw a bar chart with the bi-polar score on the x-axis and labels on the y-axis.

Field Studies Council

Possible DP Geography application

  • Probably more applicable to the Internal Assessment than the examination - but never say never!

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Graph

Pie charts

Example

Definition

A pie chart is a graphical representation of data that is used to show the proportion of different categories within a whole. It is often used in geography to compare the relative sizes of different regions or land uses. The chart is circular in shape and each category is represented by a slice or wedge, the size of which is proportional to the amount of data it represents. This type of visualization allows for a quick and easy comparison of the different categories and their relative sizes.

ChatGPT

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • N21 - Oceans and coastal margins
Graph

Flow diagrams/charts

Example

Definition

A flow chart is a type of diagram that represents a process or system, showing the steps and decisions involved. It uses symbols and shapes to connect the steps in a logical order, and is commonly used in geography to document and communicate processes such as land use change, population migration and other spatio-temporal processes.

ChatGPT - What is a flow chart → Please rewrite this for a geographer

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • Specimen paper - Extreme environments
  • M19 - Geophysical hazards
  • N19 - Geophysical hazards
  • M21 - Urban environments
Graph

Population pyramids

Example

World Population Pyramid

Definition

The population pyramid represents the breakdown of the population by gender and age at a given point in time. It consists of two histograms, one for each gender (by convention, men on the left and women on the right) where the numbers are shown horizontally and the ages vertically. The numbers by gender and by age depend on interactions between fertility, mortality and migrations. The shape of the pyramid and its variations over the years depend above all on the variations in fertility.

Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Graph

Lorenz curves

Example

Definition

Graphical Representation of the Gini Index (Lorenz curve)

The Gini index is often represented graphically through the Lorenz curve, which shows income (or wealth) distribution by plotting the population percentile by income on the horizontal axis and cumulative income on the vertical axis.

The further a Lorenz curve deviates from the perfectly equal straight line (which represents a Gini coefficient of 0), the higher the Gini coefficient and the less equal the society.

towardsdatascience.com - Clearly Explained: Gini coefficient and Lorenz curve [27 April 2020]

Possible DP Geography application

[11 October 2022]

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Map

Cross-profiles (sections)

Example

Definition

A [topographical] cross section is a representation of the land surface of an area, showing the elevation and relief of the land in a vertical, or cross-sectional, view. It is typically created using data from topographical surveys. The cross section will typically show the relative elevations of different parts of the land, as well as features such as valleys, hills, rivers, and other physical features.

ChatGPT

Possible DP Geography application

  • Extreme environments
    • Relief... characteristics that make environments extreme
    • How relief... present challenges for human habitation and resource development
  • Freshwater
    • River long profiles, channel cross-sections
  • Oceans and coastal margins
    • Sand dune transects

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No
Graph

Rose diagrams

Example

Link

windhistory.com

Definition

A type of chart used in geography to represent the distribution of data in terms of direction or orientation. It is similar to a bar chart, but instead of using bars to represent data, it uses wedges or sectors of a circle to represent the frequency or proportion of data in different directions. The data is usually grouped into a number of categories or bins, with each bin representing a specific range of angles or orientations. The size of each wedge corresponds to the frequency or proportion of data within that bin, while the angle or orientation represents the direction or azimuth of the data.

In geography, what is a rose diagram? - ChatGPT

Possible DP Geography application

  • Extreme environments - cirque / glacial landform orientation
  • Urban environments - Street orientation

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • N20 - Extreme environments
  • M21 - Extreme environments
Graph

Development diamonds

Example

Definition

A tool that visualises four different factors, that are considered crucial for development or for an index. Commonly a development diamond shows how one country (or place) compares to a global average score.

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No

Undertake statistical calculations to show patterns and summarize information

Totals

Example

Who emits the most CO2?

State the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by China and India combined, in billions of tonnes.

Definition

The result of adding.

Possible DP Geography application

  • Remember that students can not bring a calculator to the DP Geography examinations.
  • This skill would be linked to a table of data or a graph.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M21 - Leisure, tourism and sport

Averages (means, medians, modes)

Example

State the median number of visitors, in millions, for the 10 major tourist destinations, for 2014.

Definition

[4 March 2017]

Possible DP Geography application

  • Remember that students can not bring a calculator to the DP Geography examinations.
  • This skill would be linked to a table of data or a graph.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M21 - Freshwater [mode]
  • N21 - Leisure, tourism and sport [median]

Frequencies

Example

Identify which country has the most buildings between 540m and 700m in height.

Definition

[6 December 2017]

Possible DP Geography application

  • Remember that students can not bring a calculator to the DP Geography examinations.
  • This skill would be linked to a table of data or a graph.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M21 - Freshwater

Ranges of data

Example

[Source]

State the range of number of international visitors, in millions, for the 10 major tourist destinations, for 2014.

Definition

Differences between maximum and minimum.

Possible DP Geography application

  • Remember that students can not bring a calculator to the DP Geography examinations.
  • This skill would be linked to a table of data or a graph.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • M21 - Leisure, tourism and sport
  • N21 - Leisure, tourism and sport

Densities

Example

Definition

Density is the number of things—which could be people, animals, plants, or objects—in a certain area.

National Geographic Resource Library

Possible DP Geography application

  • Students need to understand densities and how they may be shown directly or indirectly on a map or in a data table.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No

Percentages

Example

Definition

A number or ratio expressed as a fraction of 100. For example - India's literacy rate for 2018 was 74.37%, a 5.07% increase from 2011.

Possible DP Geography application

  • Remember that students can not bring a calculator to the DP Geography examinations; therefore, it is unlikely that a question would require generating a percentage.

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No

Ratios

Example

Definition

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No

Interesting extras

Graph

Treemaps

Example

Definition

A method for displaying hierarchical data using nested figures, usually rectangles.

Wikipedia

Possible DP Geography application

Used in a recent DP Geography exam?

  • No.