Examines and Analyzes the World
Steven C. Smith
WOODROW WILSON TORCH INSTITUTE: GIS & ENVIRONMENTAL
UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC
To demonstrate for students how geography examines and analyzes the
world. To determine how the world can be divided into regions, as
developed in Michael Bradshaw text, The New Global Order: A World Regional
For further information see, click on the book.
Image from NGS World Atlas
Introduce the concepts relevant to student understanding of how geography
examines and analyzes information.
Introduce the following problem: How do we divide the world into regions?
Instructor uses ArcView to generate maps that compare a variety of
geographic characteristics for the world in order to identify possible
major world regions.
Ask students to analyze the maps and formulate possible conclusions about
how we could, and why we might divide the world into regions?
Instructor uses ArcView to change the statistical parameters for the data
in the GIS behind the maps, making changes in the appearance of the map
Ask students to make inferences about the causes of these changes.
For a class that has access to a computer lab, the internet, and ArcView
software, give them an ArcView project that contains the raw data, and
direct the students to add themes from the data folder and activate those
themes to generate various maps. From this, activity, students can
formulate hypotheses related a variety of themes.
Examples of ArcView GIS Maps:
The following graphics illustrate a map of the expected world population
The following graphics illustrate a map of the world population density
The following graphics illustrate a map of the previous maps with the population
density overlaid on the projected 2000 population.
The following graphic illustrates a map of world regions, generated in
ArcView, as used in The New Global Order, by M. Bradshaw.
All world census data for the ArcView images was obtained from ArcWorld
1:3M, a comprehensive GIS database for use with ARC/INFO and ArcView; ESRI
World Atlas; and Getting to Know ArcView; all provided
Examples of other maps that could be used
in a GIS:
The following graphics illustrates map of Gross Domestic Product.
Image from GDP web pages
The following graphics illustrates map of World Climate.
Image from WorldBook
With the use of a GIS program such as ArcView, and a multi-media projector,
it is possible for an instructor to display GIS data and perform analysis
as an integral element within a class lecture. This can help students
to not only see the elements of the lesson more effectively, but allow
them to participate in the process of analyzing of the material for drawing
conclusions from the lesson. In addition, this will provide students with
a better understanding of what a GIS is and an example of how it could
be used by government or industry for analysis.
The major problems encountered by teachers and students using ArcView are
mostly derived from the occasion of data and how to get it to work in the
program. These issues make the learning curve rather steep and the
amount of time required for using a GIS rather large for any casual user.