Thursday, November 22, 2012

Zooming in and out!



The zoom tool of geography

The concept of scale is an important part of our understanding of geography in the Australian Curriculum. A previous Spatialworlds posting explored the concept of scale. This posting is focussing on the 'zoom' aspect of geography. That is, the constant zooming in and out of the things we engage with as geographers. One minute we may be looking at the distribution of rubbish in the school grounds, next recycling depots in our city, then the location of nuclear waste in Australia, the the countries of the world using nuclear power. In no order, we zoom in and out from the local to global, to regional to national to local. In the UK there is a drive to include a zoom to the world of personal geographyWhilst a talking point amongst academic geographers, such geography of personalisation is increasingly being seen as engaging and highly relevant geography for young people. To make the geography authentic and personalised such an approach is being advocated as a necessary pedagogical approach in the teaching of geography. Hopefully the Australian Curriculum: Geography provides plenty of opportunities for teachers to teach through the personal scale to engage and help students to relate to geography as a useful and relevant subject.

We choose examples and case studies at different scales to elaborate, engage and enhance what we are looking at geographically. After a while students get used to this constant changing of scale and become familiar with making maps at different scales. Naturally such scale perception and representation is a geographical skill that needs to be developed and guided. Zooming adds to the dynamics and multi-dimensions of geographical learning and teaching.  We do not study geography at one scale and all scales we zoom in and out of are interconnected and interdependent of each other. As a geographer we do not just study the horizontal spatial interconnections between places but also the interconnection between scales. For example what is the global scale impact on the national and local sales. An interesting question in this 21st Century world of globalisation and glocalisation

For this posting I thought it would be interesting to list some sites that can be used as case studies at different scales and to demonstrate the zooming dimension of scale in geographical thinking.

* Zooming into maps
This US resource uses maps help students make sense of our world at all scales. A sampling of the Library of Congress Geographies map division 4.5 million treasures has been digitized and is available from 1500-2003. This resource introduces historical maps from the American Memory collections.

* Global cities: Interactive globe
A really interesting spatial 3D representation of global cities. The background information is worth a read as well.

* Personalising your travel around the globe
Select the countries you've visited and produce a map of the world with those countries in red. Make a 1-feature world map by simply clicking on a checklist all of the countries you want highlighted on your map.

* BBC's Urban Growth interactive map
This map uses the Gall-Peters projection, rather than the Gall projection usually used by the BBC. All flat, rectangular maps of the Earth contain some distortion of land size, shape and distance between countries. The Peters Projection minimises the distortion to land area, enabling the best comparison between regional populations and the size of the land masses they live on.

* Global Climate Change: An interactive video
A resource on climate change from the Council on Foreign Relations (independent think tank). The interactive video covers many of the geopolitical, economic and environmental issues that confront the Earth as global temperatures rise. Rather than produce a full length feature film, they have organized the this as an interactive video, allowing the user to get short (a couple of minutes) answer to specific questions about the science, foreign policy or economic ramifications of adapting to climate change.

The regional scale: Food crisis in Sahel 
The hunger crisis in the Sahel region of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad has been deepening since the start of this year. Explore the map to see how it has been covered by The Guardian newspaper.
* The local scale: What would disappear? 
An interactive showing what areas (in over 20 cities around the U.S.) would be under water if the ocean levels rose 5 feet? 12 feet? 25 feet? The maps show "coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded without engineered protection.

* The personal scale: Making geography personal
An interesting PowerPoint on the controversial topic of personal gegoraphy.  There should be more of it!
* Some great ideas for personal geography
Personal geography, do we do enough?  Some ideas from UK teacher Tony Cassidy.

* Using technology to do personal geography
Year 8 students annotating their local area with QR codes that link to web-based work exploring their relationship with place. Innovative exploration of the personal and place.

Combining cartographic expertise and a desire to start geography education at a very early age, the founders of Kids Placemaps have personalized a child's geography in a tangible, simple fashion.  
* The Living Geography blog
A great resource for teachers to use to peronalise geography and find hundreds of great geography teaching resources.

* The GA's Living Geography resource
'Living Geography' aims to meet the challenge of engaging students with innovative and enjoyable learning that embraces their own perceptions of change in the local environment.

2 comments:

Mark lowry said...

Malcolm I love your work on scale . the aspect of zooming in and out as a geographers tool makes so much sense in the high tech world of today . it also makes sense as students transition back and forth between maps and photographic imagery .

Altax said...

Picture looks great!!!

Curriculums