Basic Geography: What's a Location?

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Basic Geography: What's a Place
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We saw earlier about how to define a place. Basically, a place is a thing, like a building or a park.

But what's a location?

Well, we need to add an element to the definition of a place. A location is a description of a building or a park or some other kind of place in relation to something else.

Here's an example: The park is at the corner of Third and Elm Streets. The place here is the park. The location is at the corner of Third and Elm Streets.

See the difference? For the place, you need just one element. For the location, you need at least two.

Here are some more examples of locations:

  • in downtown Baltimore
  • behind the neighbors' garage
  • down by the river
  • behind a wall

Each one of these examples has two elements to it.

Why the difference between place and location? Geographers can describe things in more detail that way. They can also tell us a little more about a place and its surroundings. This is all a location really is: a place, together with a description of its surroundings.

So next time you're asked the difference between a place and a location, you'll know the answer. It's the difference between one element and two.

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David White