Graphical Techniques

We use graphs to identify differences, show/ decribe spatial patterns, identify relationships/ correlations/ anomolies and to classify data.

But what is the value and usefulness of various geographical techniques? Applications/ strengths/ weaknesses etc.

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  • Graphical Techniques
    • Arithmetic Line Graphs
      • Practical Applications
        • Demographic Transition Model (DMT) to show population change over time
          • Can show death rate, birth rate and total population
        • Population Change for a specific place e.g. Hull
      • Usefulness
        • Excellent for showing change over time including trends/ patterns for different data (DMT involves three sets)
        • Simple and easy to draw
        • Working out the appropriate scale on the x-axis (independant variable) can be difficult.
        • Both raw data and transformed data (e.g. % figures) can be plotted.
    • Logarithmic Line Graphs
      • Practical Applications
        • World population growth over time (scale would have to go to 7 billion)
        • Hjulstrom Curve
      • Usefulness
        • Excellent Technique for showing a large spread of data that is difficult to display otherwise
        • Can be easily misinterpreted at first glance. Two parallel lines may have very different trends.
        • Problems if plotted point crosses area where scale increments change
    • Bar charts/ graphs
      • Practical Applications
        • Average number of people visiting Beverley Town Centre on different days of the week.
      • Usefulness
        • Very easy to construct quickly
        • Easy to interpret
        • Can use for raw data and %
        • Works less well wih a wide data spread - largest bars are too big or the smallest to small
        • Bars can be comparative
    • Compound Bar Graph
      • Practical Applications
        • % breakdown by sector of primary, secondary, tertiary etc. (employment statistics)
      • Usefulness
        • More visually effective than a number of separate bars.
        • Doesn't work as well if bar is divided up into many sections e.g 10+
        • Works well with % as all values will add up to 100
    • Cross Sections
      • Practical Applications
        • Profile of a sand dune (psammosere)
      • Usefulness
        • Give a clear, visual, understanding of relief
        • Scale is crucial to prevent the cross section becoming distorted and misleading.
    • Kite Diagrams
      • Practical Applications
        • The % cover of sea couch along a sand dune transect
      • Usefulness
        • Good way of showing change over distance that is easy to interpret
        • Good for simple comparisons of distrabution e.g. plant species types.
    • Radial Diagrams
      • Usefulness
        • Useful for data with a directional component
        • Can only be used where the scale around the circumference is continuous e.g. bearings
      • Practical Applications
        • Showing traffic flow over time
    • Scattergraphs
      • Practical Applications
        • % marks in geography and physics.
      • Usefulness
        • Can only show two data sets
        • Easy to see anomolies
        • Easy to identify correllations/ relationships
        • Ineffecitve with large data spreads
        • Can use log scales
    • Triangular Graphs
      • Usefulness
        • Can only work with 3 variables - restictive
        • Hard to read/ construct
        • Excellent to see clusters of values
      • Practical Applications
        • Soil study - % clay, sand, loam in different areas


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