# Introduction to Geography on the Web

Introduction to Geography on the Web

Paper details:

Directions:
1. To complete this lab you will need your Goodes Atlas a ruler and a computer with an internet connection.
2. Read through this entire handout.
3. Answer each question in a separate write-up.
4. Paste the write-up into the Java-script window under the assinment called “Introduction to Geography on the Web”. You can find this under next week’s material.
Introduction to Geography on the Web
Directions:
1. To complete this lab you will need your Goodes Atlas a ruler and a computer with an internet connection.
2. Read through this entire handout.
3. Answer each question in a separate write-up.
4. Paste the write-up into the Java-script window under the assinment called “Introduction to Geography on the Web”. You can find this under next week’s material.
Part 1: Maps
Maps are an essential tool for geographers. We use maps to locate phenomena, to show relationships, to prove ideas and to ask questions. You have probably looked at and used maps before, but the following is designed to help you look at maps with a geographer’s eye. The following introduces the essential elements of scale, resolution, themes, andcoordinate systems used to describe our world.
Map Scale
The ratio of distance on a map to distance on the ground
* Map scale is generally expressed as a ratio, such as 1:100,000
* This means that one unit on the map is equal to 100,000 units on the ground; one length of your index finger on the map is equal to 100,000 of your index fingers on the ground, or the map is 1/100,000th of the real world!
* Map scale can also be expressed as a ratio of common measuring distances, such as 1 inch to 250 miles, meaning that 1 inch on the map is equal to 250 miles on the ground. However, for this class we will be using the unitless measure such as 1:250,000
One way that I find useful to visualize map scale is to think about it in terms of a map of the world (see pages 18-19 in Goodes World Atlas — or pages 2-3 in the 21st edition). The length of the equator at different scales is a good way to think about the actual size of a map at that scale. The table below lists the distance on the map (if you were to lay a ruler along the map and measure the equator) for each map scale. As you can see, a 1:400,000,000 scale map would probably fit across two pages of an ordinary book, while a 1:10,000,000 scale map would take a wall of your classroom. At a 1:1,000 scale, a map of the would stretch across the county!
Map Scale Length of the Earth’s equator on the Map (meters)
1:400,000,000 0.10002
1:40,000,000 1.0002
1:10,000,000 4.0008
1:1,000,000 40.008
1:100,000 400.078
1:10,000 4,000.78
1:1,000 40,007.8
Another way to describe map scale is to talk about ‘large scale’ or ‘small scale’ maps. This terminology can be very confusing, because it is the opposite of what our intuition says it should be. When geographers talk about a ‘large scale map’ they are speaking about a map of a small area, like the college campus or a small city (1:24,000 to 1:100,000). When geographers talk about a ‘small scale map’ they are speaking about maps of large areas such as all of California, Europe or the world (1:250,000 and up). This terminology makes the most sense if you consider that scale is a ratio, or a fraction. So if you had two (very large!) pies, one cut into 100 pieces and one cut into 500,000 pieces, would you want the 1/100th of a pie (the larger piece) or the 1/500,000th of a pie (the smaller piece)? Thus, 1:100 is a large scale and 1:500,000 is a small scale.
Measuring distance using map scale
You can find the distance between two locations using a ruler and the scale of your map. You can do this through either one of two methods:
Method 1: Turn to pages 174-175 in your atlas (p. 154-155 in Goodes 21st edition). Measure the distance between two cities, for example, from Paris, France to Warsaw, Poland. The distance is 3.25 inches. The map scale says that 1 inch equals 250 miles, so 3.25*250=812.5 miles. (you should round to one decimal place, or to one tenth)
Method 2: If your map does not list the relationship between inches and miles, you can still figure out distance using the ratio scale: For example, if your map had a scale of 1:500,000 and your two cities were 4 inches apart, just set up a simple equation:
1in/500,000in = 4in/Xin, so 4*500,000 =1X, X=2,000,000inches. You can convert this to miles by recalling: 12 inches = 1 foot, 5,280 feet = 1 mile, so 2,000,000 inches = 31.6 miles (you should round to one decimal place, or to one tenth)
When you make your measurements, be aware of theprecision, or how exact your measurements are. Precision is a way of stating how sure you are of the exact value of your results. If you are really sure, you might have a very high precision, perhaps to the nearest hundredth or thousandth (0.01 or 0.001). It is important to be as precise as your measuring device allows. Round your work to the degree of precision specified. So if you are told to be precise to the nearest tenth, and you plug your values into a calculator and come up with 123.45678, your answer would be 123.5
1. (4 points) Turn to page 118 in your atlas. What is the distance in miles between Sacramento CA and Las Vegas NV? (precision to nearest whole number) Note that this is the ‘as the crow flies’ (straight line) distance, NOT the driving distance as Google maps would calculate for you. Show your work.

2. (4 points) Turn to page 163 in your atlas (p. 189 in Goodes 22nd ed). What is the distance in miles between Cairo, Egypt and Istanbul, Turkey? (precision to nearest whole number) Show your work.

3. (5 points) You are given a map that is 1:500,000 scale. City A and City B on the map are 3 inches apart. How many miles apart are they in the real world? (precision to nearest tenth) Show your work.

4. (5 points) You are given a map that is 1:100,000 scale. City R and City S on the map are 6.5 inches apart. How many miles apart are they in the real world? (precision to nearest tenth) Show your work.
Part 2: Google Earth and Latitude and Longitude
Google Earth shows high resolution satellite imagery of our planet, coupled with map overlays and user-added points of interest (you can even add stuff!). It is an amazing tool for Geographers. Later labs will also have a Google Earth option, so you will be able to use this download again.
Coordinate Systems
Another key element of representing data on the map is thecoordinate system. The coordinate system relates every location on the map to a location on the earth through a defined system. This is also called georeferencing. One major type of georeferencing is latitude and longitude, which divides the earth into a grid-like coordinate system. Turn to page 8 in Goodes atlas and observe the following:
Latitude
Latitude lines are parallel to the earth’s equator. Latitude lines run from 90ºN at the north pole to 0º (the equator) to 90ºS at the south pole. Lines of latitude are noted as being either NORTH, or SOUTH, meaning north or south of the equator. So, for example, the Longitude lines are equidistant lines (they are all the same length) that run from the north pole to the south pole.
Longitude
Longitude lines run from 180ºE to 0º (at the prime meridian which runs through Greenwich, England) to 180ºW. Lines of longitude are expressed as being either EAST or WEST, meaning east or west of the prime meridian. The international date line is located where 180ºW meets 180ºE.
How we divide latitude and longitude
Latitude and longitude lines are expressed in degrees ( º ), minutes ( ‘ ) and seconds ( ” ) with a directional notation (N, S, E or W). Minutes and seconds run from 0 to 60 (e.g. 60 seconds equals one minute, 60 minutes equals one degree). For example, something that was 120 degrees, 10 minutes and 30 seconds west longitude would be denoted 120º10’30″W. The ‘squares’ defined by latitude and longitude are really not squares at all because they are on the spherical earth (though they look like squares on a flat map!).
Open your atlas to pages 2-3. See the grid of lines on the atlas. The horizontal lines are latitude lines, you can read the degrees of latitude along the sides of the map. For example, California is approximately between 30 and 40 degrees north latitude. The vertial lines are lines of longitude. You can read the degrees of longitude along the middle of the earth. For example, California is between 120 and 130 degrees west longitude.
Google Earth is a free downloadable program that displays high resolution satellite images, topography and georeferenced points of interest. Before you install Google Earth, please read about its system requirements. You may find that you can run it even if your PC does not have the full minimum requirements (I do not have one of the recomended graphics cards, and I can mostly run it, though it does occasionally crash! I have found that it runs a lot better if I first clear out all my cookies).
Use Google Earth to navigate to the following locations.
For example you can type in (or copy and paste) a latitude and longitude (such as 48 4’0N and 42 20’E), or the name of a major geographic feature (Grand Canyon) and Google Earth will ‘fly’ you there. You can see the country that you are located in by turning on the borders layer. It may also be helpful to turn on the 3-D buildings layer. You can also use your atlas for reference.
5. (4 points) Go to 40 44′ 52.94″N 73 59′ 06.60″W What do you see at this location? What city, state and country is it in?
6. (4 points) Go to 51 32′ 19.72″N 0 00′ 59.86″W What do you see at this location? What city and country is it in?
7. (4 points) Go to 29 58′ 45.04″N 31 08′ 03.22″E What do you see at this location? What country is it in?
Part 3: Google Earth and GIS
• In Google Earth, go to Skyline College ( 3300 College Dr, San Bruno, CA 94066).
• Open the measure tool (along the top, it looks like a ruler).
• Measure the length of Skyline’s campus from east to west using the “measure line” tool.
8. (5 points) What is the east/west distance of Skyline in kilometers?
• Zoom in on the track on the east side of campus. Use the “measure path” tool to measure the distance around the track (this tool is another option with the “measure line” tool).
9. (5 points) What is the distance around the track in miles?
• Open up the World and Regional Sea Surface Temperatureoverlay from NASA. Click on the link to the left. If the file does not automatically load in Google earth, you may need to direct your computer to use Google Earth to open the file. See the screen shot below. Note that you should focus on the east and west coast of North America.

10. (5 points) Compare the ocean surface temperature off of the west coast of the USA with the temperature off the east coast. Which is warmer? Cite specific examples. (We will explore why the sea surface temperatures differ in lab 3).
Another innovative way to display geospatial information is as an animation over time. View the changing world infant mortality rates in Google Earth. If you are having trouble viewing the infant mortality rates in the first link, try this one
11. (5 points) After you view the animation, describe (about 1 paragraph) how the infant mortality rates have changed over time in Africa, Asia and Europe. Cite specific examples.

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