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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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unit 1 geoprinciples

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

Lights of Human Activity Shine in NASA’s Image of Earth at Night

NASA scientists have just released the first new global map of Earth at night since 2012. This nighttime look at our home planet, dubbed the Black Marble, provides researchers with a unique perspective of human activities around the globe. By studying Earth at night, researchers can investigate how cities expand, monitor light intensity to estimate energy use and economic activity, and aid in disaster response.

Source: www.youtube.com

NASA scientists are releasing new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet.  You can download the image at a good resolution (8 MB jpg) or at a great resolution (266 MB jpg) to explore at your leisure.  

 

Tags: mapping, perspective, images, geospatial.

Environmental Determinism: Crash Course #1

Today we’re talking about how Human Geography has been practiced in the past, how it hitched its wagon to some really bad ideas, and how that kind of thinking still persists in the world today. Basically, we’re starting with a lesson in how not to Human Geographize. Which I don’t think is a real word.

Source: www.youtube.com

This isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when I heard news of that Crash Course was producing a series of human geography videos, but still has tons of value.  This video on environmental determinism will raise as many questions as it answers.  Personally, I think it is too dismissive of geographers (such as Jared Diamond) than is fair, but there is lot of good in the video and enough in it to feel that this series has some strong potential for the future.  For APHG, it also make be feel optimistic about the future that “we’ve made it to the big leagues” in others eyes and are here to stay.    

 

Tags: crash course, environmental determinism, unit 1 GeoPrinciples, environmentAPHG, video.    

Drones and Geospatial Data

Without sophisticated sensor packages, drones would just be expensive RC airplanes. In this video, Avweb looks at some of the things they can carry.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video gets deep into the specs of sensor packages and the commercial side of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), but it shows how emerging technologies are using and creating geographic data.  This is also a reminder that geography can be incredibly useful in a diverse range of economic sectors and has far-reaching applications in the real world–geography can be incredibly cutting edge.      

 

Tags: geospatial, video, technology.

Most Young Americans Can’t Pass a Test on Global Affairs—Can You?

A new survey finds that even college-educated Americans have a lot to learn about the world around them. Take our quizzes to see how much you know.

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

In a joint initiative from National Geographic and the Council on Foreign Relations, they polled college-educated Americans and (not surprisingly) they found that their global literacy was lacking (see the full report here).  This is why geography courses are needed in all general education programs–you can’t be a competent world citizen without understanding the basic geography and global affairs. 

 

Tagsgeography education, unit 1 GeoPrinciples, National Geographic.

Map Men: teaching geography through comedy

Mark Cooper-Jones and Jay Foreman, the Map Men, tap into a rich vein of geographical quirks to teach through comedy

Source: geographical.co.uk

Why am I just now finding out about this resource?!?  This new YouTube channel is full of promise for geography teachers…fun, quirky, full of interesting trivia, but most importantly, these videos are rooted in geographic concepts. 

 

Tags: mappingfun, videoAPHG, geography education, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.

Olympic Races, in Your Neighborhood

“What would Olympic races look like if they took place near you? Enter your address below to find out, or keep clicking the green button to explore races that begin in where you live.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

I thought I was done with the Olympics, but this just sucked me right back in…in the most geographically relevant way possible.  Scale and distance are important geographic concepts and realizing JUST HOW FAST these Olympians are on the TV can be deceptive when they are paired up with other great Olympians.  Seeing how far in your own neighborhood you would have to go to beat the 400m champion–or the 5000m.  Since the United States doesn’t use the metric system, this map is a good way to contextualize these measurements and try to run the race in your own backyard.  Let the Backyard Games begin!!

 

Tags: mappingfunscaledistance, sport, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.  

Petra, Jordan: Huge monument found ‘hiding in plain sight’

“Two archaeologists, who recently published their findings in the American Schools of Oriental Research, used Google Earth satellite images and drone photography to identify the outline of an enormous monument buried beneath sand and time at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Jordan.”  —Motherboard

Source: www.bbc.com

When in the Mexican state of Veracruz as a grad student, I saw a startling mountain covered by the dense tropical rain forest; this mountain had a consistent slope with hard angles.  I was awestruck to realize that it was an uncovered (but not undiscovered) pyramid and I wondered just how many archeological sites are waiting to be unearthed. 

 

Why is a geographer an important member of an interdisciplinary team? This discovery shows that spatial thinking, geographic tools, and a keen eye for usually patterns in unexpected places are critical for many disciplines and fields of research.

 

Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, MiddleEast, Jordan, googleunit 1 GeoPrinciples.  

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