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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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geospatial

Five Tips and Strategies on How to Interpret a Satellite Image

What do you do when presented with a new satellite image? Here’s what the Earth Observatory team does to understand the view.

  1. Look for a scale
  2. Look for patterns, shapes, and textures
  3. Define the colors (including shadows)
  4. Find north
  5. Consider your prior knowledge

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Aerial photography can be quite beautiful, as can satellite imagery. These are more than just pretty pictures; interpreting aerial photography and satellite imagery is not easy; here is a great article that gives an introduction on how to interpret satellite imagery. With a little training, satellite images become rich data sources (instead of some visually meaningless data).  Using Stratocam, you can explore and tag some of the amazing place on Earth. 

 

Tags: mapping, perspective, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciples.

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Maya civilization was much vaster than known, thousands of newly discovered structures reveal

Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya.

 

Archaeologists have spent more than a century traipsing through the Guatemalan jungle, Indiana Jones-style, searching through dense vegetation to learn what they could about the Maya civilization. Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya: defense works, houses, buildings, industrial-size agricultural fields, even new pyramids.

The lidar system fires rapid laser pulses at surfaces and measures how long it takes that light to return to sophisticated measuring equipment. Doing that over and over again lets scientists create a topographical map of sorts. Months of computer modeling allowed the researchers to virtually strip away half a million acres of jungle that has grown over the ruins. What’s left is a surprisingly clear picture of how a 10th-century Maya would see the landscape.

Tags: lidar, spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 GeoPrinciplesGuatemala, Middle America.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Choosing a Map Projection

“Cartographers at National Geographic discuss how they select an appropriate map projection for the September 2012 magazine map supplement. –World maps usually center on the land, with the Pacific Ocean divided as bookends. To show each ocean as a whole with the least distortion for our ‘Beneath the Oceans’ supplement map, we used a map projection called an interrupted Mollweide centered on the Pacific.”

Source: www.youtube.com

There is no one perfect map projection that fits all circumstances and situations. Think of a situation in which this map projection would be an ideal way to represent the Earth and in another situation that same projection would give you an incredibly limited perspective.  This video provides good insight into how to choose a map projection for a cartographic project. Here is National Geographic’s lesson using this video.

Tags: cartography, K12, geospatial, NationalGeographic, water.

Esri GeoInquiries™ for World History

“The Esri Education Outreach team is pleased to announce the release of a sample pack from the forthcoming GeoInquiries™ collection for World History classrooms.  The sample pack includes the first four activities supporting high school World History instruction with ArcGIS Online.  Eleven additional activities will be released over the coming weeks.”

Source: education.maps.arcgis.com

ESRI has produced GeoInquires for Earth Science, US History, Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, 4th grade, and has recently released a now has a set for World History.

Tagsmappinggeospatialempire, historical, ESRI, K12, edtech.

The Geography Teacher’s Introduction to OpenStreetMap

“Wed, Mar 15, 2017 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, the NCGE will be offering a free webinar for educators on the OpenStreetMap project and how you can incorporate it into your class.”

Source: attendee.gotowebinar.com

My students and I join OpenStreetMap (OSM) projects, especially when there is a major humanitarian need…it’s a great way to make service learning and geospatial technologies come together. If you are interested learning more about OSM projects for the classroom, sign up for this NCGE webinar seminar as soon as possible, since this event is right around the corner (the webinar program is one of the many great reasons to become a member of NCGE). 

 

TagsNCGE, mappingedtech, cartography, geospatial, disasters, STEM.

 

A More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Japanese Design Award

“To design a map of the world is no easy task. Because maps represent the spherical Earth in 2D form, they cannot help but be distorted, which is why Greenland and Antarctica usually look far more gigantic than they really are, while Africa appears vastly smaller than its true size. The AuthaGraph World Map tries to correct these issues, showing the world closer to how it actually is in all its spherical glory.”

Source: mentalfloss.com

This just shows how subjective the concept of “accurate” can be. First off, this is a fabulous map that nicely minimizes distortions (distance, direction, area, and shape) of the land on our planet. Any criticism of the map just shows the impossibility of making an accurate 2D map of a 3D Earth, but I still think that there is plenty of room to discuss the flaws/distortions that were chosen instead of others. It is interesting to note that a Japanese contest awarded this map with it’s top honor (I doubt a Brazilian organization would feel the same way about this map). This map does make with some traditional cartographic conventions in its representation of Earth.  

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some elements of this map that are different from more traditional maps? This map claims to be more accurate; does that make it more useful?    

 

Tags: visualization, mapping, cartography, geospatial, technology.

27 stunning satellite images that will change how you see our world – Geoawesomeness

“The images come from the amazing book called “Overview: A New Perspective of Earth”. that just hit the stores around the world. The book is a stunning and unique collection of satellite images of Earth that offer an unexpected look at humanity, derived from the wildly popular Daily Overview Instagram account followed by almost 0.5 million people.”

 

Hagadera, seen here on the right, is the largest section of the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya and is home to 100,000 refugees. To cope with the growing number of displaced Somalis arriving at Dadaab, the UN has begun moving people into a new area called the LFO extension, seen here on the left. Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world with an estimated total population of 400,000.

Source: geoawesomeness.com

The most detailed 3D world model

“How to create a detailed 3D topographic model of the entire Earth? As you could suspect the only feasible way to do it is using satellites. But a regular satellite scan will not be detailed enough to give you a meter-level accuracy. Instead of using a single satellite they’ve launched to an orbit two satellites orbiting next to each other capturing stereoscopic scans of the surface of the Earth (that scan the same areas from slightly different angles). Now this data has been processed into a seamless 3-dimensional world map of unprecedented accuracy of 1 meter. The data and the press release are publicly available.”

 

Tags: geospatial, images, remote sensing.

Source: geoawesomeness.com

Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis

“Spatial analysis has always been a hallmark of GIS, the ‘numerical recipes’ which set GIS apart from other forms of computerized visualization and information management. With GIS we pose questions and derive results using a wide array of analytical tools to help us understand and compare places, determine how places are related, find the best locations and paths, detect and quantify patterns, and even to make spatial predictions.”

Source: blogs.esri.com

GIS is a key tool in spatial analysis, but it can also be a driving force in using math, science, technology and (yes) geography as interdisciplinary ways of teaching the curriculum.  StoryMaps can be rich with images and videos, but also filled with data at a variety of scales.  ESRI has share a “Maps we love” page with excellent examples of Story Maps and carefully explains WHY these maps work and HOW they were made.  Are you new to using the Analysis tool in ArcGIS Online?  Try this exercise on analyzing flood risk to guide you through some of the steps to learn what is possible for a project of your own.  What stories can you tell in this rich, visual format?  What visual template shown might lend itself best for that sort of project? 

 

Tagsmapping, GISESRIgeography education, geospatial, edtech.

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