Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some interesting sites to check out

Image above:  A WOW look at a walk in Utah.

Sites related to GeogSplace 
Spatialworlds blog
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website sites for the class

Spatial literacy galore
Some great spatial literacy sites to explore in the classroom.

A GIS atlas of the US showing diversity, population change, ageing and housing.

 Map projections are one of the fundamental concepts of geography and cartography. Selecting the right map projection is one of the important first considerations for accurate GIS analysis.  The problem with projections (and the reason why there are so many types) is that it is very difficult to represent the curved 3D surface of the Earth on a flat 2D surface of a map; some distortion is bound to occur.

A fantastic tool for understanding dramatic weather news events around the globe, the history of human civilization or how our activities may be changing the future climate.

An interactive map showing hundreds of different criteria to create thematic maps

A  multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

An interactive simulation map of births and deaths around the world.

This visualisation shows a world unevenly aglow with television attention.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pictures say it all!

Image above: Delhi, India - wall to wall people.

Sites related to GeogSplace 
Spatialworlds blog
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website sites for the class

Words are not required

Click here to see some images related to birth, settlement, people, survival and ... - beautiful, awe-inspiring, frightening, puzzling and just geography. 

 42 stunning photographs on things related to (over) population. What can one say when a picture is worth a 1000 words?
*** Which of the images said the most to you and impacted on you the greatest.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking beyond!

Now that you have started thinking about your topic to inquire it is time to discuss critical literacy. A trap for students is to think everything they read and find is speaking the truth and should be included without critique in their investigation. Often the sources are biased or just misguided and non-authoritative. It is important to examine your sources critical and try to determine how objective they are. That is, are they pushing a particular agenda or working from limited knowledge and/or data.

Being critical may be defined as a challenging approach to the reliability, usefulness and bias of a source. It involves the questioning and challenging of the attitudes, values and beliefs that lie beneath the surface of a written source (Internet, pamphlet, book etc) or person/s interviewed or surveyed.

To be critical is often associated with being negative or finding fault unreasonably but I would like us to view being critical as:

· careful or analytical evaluations
· skillful judgement as to the truth or merit of something.

An ability of a person to be critical is sometimes referred to as a type of literacy (literacy meaning an 'ability to').

In the case of your research when looking at websites, reading written materials, listening to your interviewee and reviewing your survey data I am sure you regularly asked questions like:

· Who has presented this information?
· How much of it is fact and how much opinion?
· Is the information biased?
· Whose point of view is missing?
· Is this an ‘expert’ opinion?

· How objective is this information?
· How do the opinions reflected in this information compare to that of other social groups?
· What are the values and attitudes implicit in this information?
· How are the opinions in this information likely to make some people feel?
· Are the opinions in this material likely to cause ‘injury’ to others? Is the writer using stereotypes to describe a social group

To ask these questions is to be critical in the positive evaluative way. It is such questioning and challenging of your research that should be evident in your investigation.

Three really important words in critical literacy are credibility, reliability, usefulness and bias.

Credibility (reliability) being something that is credible and is worthy of being believed because it has a high degree of accuracy. Some sources of information are more creditable than others. Newspapers and magazines vary greatly in their credibility as do television programs and the Internet. No source can be totally creditable; each has a degree of credibility which must be acknowledged and discussed to explain how it effects the conclusions.

Bias being the misrepresentation of information to create a distorted view that could create opinions that are not credible. Much of the information we receive is biased in some way. Taking a particular point of view and disregarding all other perspectives is a form of bias as is leaving parts of information out of discussions. It is always important to identify whose point of view is not represented, and why it is not presented in any information that you have.

Usefulness relates to how much the source has helped your investigation. In some way or other all sources relevant to a topic are useful but for what? Sometime just to tell us untruths!

It is important in your inquiry to challenge the 'veracity' of the sources/data you 'harvest'. It is your interrogation of the sources/data that will determine the quality of your investigation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Looking at the world differently

Worldmapper: the world as you have never seen it

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. These types of maps are called Cartograms (equal area cartograms, otherwise known as density-equalising maps) and are a way for us to see the differences across the world in terms of an unlimited number of social, economic, cultural and geographical criteria.There are now nearly 700 cartogram maps  on the site that you can explore. 

Your task is to pick just 10 maps that interest you and write a brief summary of what the map shows.

Some additional information on the Cartograms

Colours and regions
The colours used on the maps group the territories into 12 geographical regions, and allow for an easier visual comparison between the maps than would otherwise be possible. The shading of each territory within a region is consistent throughout all of the maps.
You can view a labelled territory map with the territories labelled, and also a labelled regions map

Data files
When you choose a map to view, there are links at the bottom to download a data file giving the values used for all 200 territories, a graph (usually a cumulative frequency one) of the data, and a top 10 or 20 table (and the original data used, and its source).

Maps in 3D

Sites related to GeogSplace 
Spatialworlds blog
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website sites for the class

Contours and cross-sections

When a geographer looks at a topographic map they see it in 3D. How do they do that? Basically by being able to read contour lines and draw cross sections in their mind.  To do this we need to firstly know how to draw a cross-section to see the landscape in 3D.

Contour lines on a map link points of equal height above sea level. Numbers are used to indicate the height. The numbers on the contour lines are at set intervals

Check out: