Geography Education
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Earth's City Lights

Earth's City Lights | Geography Education |
NASA's Visible Earth catalog of NASA images and animations of our home planet...

This classic image is full of classroom applications.  The first impulse of most students is to note that this image will show us where people live, where the cities are or some other comment that speaks to the magnitude of the population in the white areas.  Let them analyze this for more time, and they'll notice that population isn't the whole story of this image.  A place like India shines, but less brightly than the eastern part of the United States.  I like to point out that South Korea appears to be an island (because North Korea is literally blacked out).  Politics, development, affluence and population information are all embedded in this image.  As with all maps, the more information you have about the place in question (in this case, Earth), the more meaningful information you can extract out of the map. 

Tags: remote sensing, worldwide, consumption, poverty, population, spatial, political, regions.

Matt Mallinson's comment, September 18, 2012 12:35 PM
This image is pretty amazing to see. It shows what parts of the world are more modernized just by the lights seen from space. Looking at the U.S. and Europe, they are lit up very bright because they are richer parts of the world. As you look at places like Africa and some parts of South America, they are shown in darkness due to poorer areas in those regions.
Michelle Carvajal's comment, September 18, 2012 6:07 PM
I was impressed with the explanation of this picture especially for the simple fact that I thought it was a picture that depicted the population of certain areas of each country. Places like Africa, Brazil, areas of Mexico, and Southern US are not lit because of the areas of forest, desert and less population. Very nice picture. -Michelle Carvajal-
Geography Education
Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over.
Curated by Seth Dixon