AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO
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VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking

VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"If you're heading out on the road for your vacation this year, you'll probably get directions from a GPS or navigational system. Does that mean that the traditional map is a relic of the past? Mark Albert hits the road to find out."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 23, 10:16 AM

This video is designed for a general news audience and it nicely shows the public how cartography is not rendered unimportant in the era of digital maps, but has become all the more useful.  I could see this video as useful resource to share with parents who are worried that studying geography won't lead to careers.  

 

Tags: GIS, video, mapping, cartography, geospatial, technology.

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How a Modern-Day Mapmaker Does His Job

How a Modern-Day Mapmaker Does His Job | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it
Tom Harrison, a Californian cartographer, explains what goes into a good map and why making one can take nearly two years.

 

Tags: mapping, cartography, geospatial.


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Ivan Ius's curator insight, March 4, 10:07 AM
Careers in Geography, Geographic Thinking Concepts: Spatial Significance & Patterns and Trends
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Awakening the World to the Power of Geography

Awakening the World to the Power of Geography | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"GIS is waking up the world to the power of geography, this science of integration, and…creating a better future," proclaimed Esri founder Jack Dangermond at the 2015 Esri User Conference.


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 13, 2015 4:29 PM

If you haven't discovered the power of geography or the power of GIS, this article from ArcNews is for you.  If you need to convince others of the power of geography, this is for you to strengthen your case.  


Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, geography education, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.

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Lakes On A Glacier

"How deep is that icy blue water on Greenland's ice sheet? Dr. Allen Pope, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, is using data from the NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite to find out. In this video, Dr. Pope shares what he sees when he looks at a Landsat image of the Greenland ice sheet just south of the Jakobshavn Glacier.

Because the lakes are darker than the ice around them, they absorb more energy from the sun. A little bit of melt concentrates in one place, and then melts more, establishing a feedback mechanism accelerating the growth of the lake. When the lakes get big enough they can force open fractures that then drill all the way down to the bed of the glacier, transporting this water to the base where it can temporarily speed up the flow of the ice."


Tags: physical, geomorphology, landforms, erosion, climate change, Greenland, remote sensing, geospatial.


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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 8, 2015 1:06 PM

unit 1 and summer read

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The Drying of Lake Urmia

The Drying of Lake Urmia | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran was once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Middle East, but it has diminished dramatically. Diversion of water from local rivers for agricultural use is one likely cause. Since 1996, drought has further contributed to the decline. The lake now covers about 10 percent of the area it covered in the 1970s. In the 2014 image, the entire southern portion of the salty lakebed is exposed. Also see this set of images."

 

Tags: Iran, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciples, land use, food, food production, environment.


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High Def Earth

NASA Commentator Dan Huot talks with David Hornyak, the project manager of the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment, about the first year of the project’s operation and screens some of its memorable scenes. From a perch on the nadir side of the International Space Station’s Columbus module, HDEV’s four high definition off-the-shelf video cameras have been transmitting clear, sharp views of Earth from an altitude of 250 miles, providing impressive views while testing how the hardware holds up in the harsh environment of Earth orbit.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 12, 2015 8:24 AM

If you are impatient, the 'highlight reel' of this high definition video begins at 3:50 in this clip (but understanding the 'behind-the-scenes' context helps to understand how we get these videos of our planet). 


Tags: mapping, perspective, images, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciples.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 28, 2015 9:12 AM

No matter how High Def these images are, how many geopolitical frontier lines can be viewed? The ones that stand out, are where political and economic practices have visible degraded the environment in one country, and not in the other. Otherwise, it's all still one planet for all.

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WWII ‘Mapping Maidens’ Chart Course for Today’s Mapmakers

WWII ‘Mapping Maidens’ Chart Course for Today’s Mapmakers | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"As the demand for its products escalated early in World War II, the Army Map Service, a heritage organization of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, was losing much of its largely male workforce to the armed forces. A solution to the urgent need for replacements emerged when the University of Chicago’s Geography Department developed a course in military map making and began offering it to women’s colleges in the East and Midwest."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 7, 2015 11:19 AM

Women in science are awesome and we need to encourage girls in STEM disciplines, especially geospatial technologies...hearing this story of women in the past might help to inspire a future generation. 


Tags: mapping, cartographywar, gender, STEM, geospatial.

Ricardo Cabeza de Vaca's curator insight, March 24, 2015 2:19 AM

I believe this article is very empowering for women around the world. It showed how in this time of trouble in America we took into account the women's workforce and started using it. This article shows how much women helped by making the maps for the male army that was off at war. This story should empower women int their fight for equality and inspire them.

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Windows on Earth

Windows on Earth | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station.  Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day, for science research, education and public outreach.  The photos are often dramatic, and help us all appreciate home planet Earth.  These images  help astronauts share their experience, and help you see Earth from a global perspective."

 

Tags: images, art, space, remote sensing, geospatial.


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tosserestonian's comment, January 18, 2015 11:26 PM
Its tremendous
Bharat Employment's curator insight, January 19, 2015 12:06 AM
www.bharatemployment.com
Rich Schultz's curator insight, February 11, 2015 11:33 AM

It just doesn't get much cooler than this!

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Visualizing Urban Change

Visualizing Urban Change | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed.  We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century. In this post, we look at Midwestern cities such as [pictured above] Cincinnati, Ohio."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:33 AM

It's ironic that I feel more accustomed to exploring Cincinnati, OH on foot than I do Providence, RI.  Although I drive in downtown Providence regularly, I seldom have a reason to walk and explore it.  In my yearly visits to Cincinnati to score the AP Human Geography exams, I'm outside my hometown and away from my typical routine. That helps me feel more like a flâneur, to stroll the streets and explore the urban landscape.  This set of 7 before and after images shows Midwestern cities (Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Columbus) lets you digitally analyze the last 70 years of urban morphology.  Click here for a gallery 7 of cities in Texas and Oklahoma


Questions to Ponder: What are the biggest changes you see for the 1950 to today?  How are the land uses difference?  Has the density changed?  Do any of urban models help us understand these cities?


Tags: urban, planning, industry, economichistorical, geospatial, urban models, APHG.

Rich Schultz's curator insight, January 2, 2015 5:52 PM

Very useful!

Sierra_Mcswagger's curator insight, March 10, 2015 10:22 AM

In the above picture of Cincinnati, Ohio it is clear how much change American cities have undergone in 60 years. In the process of urban renewal these cities have been affected tremendously with the addition of new roads, businesses, and most likely the turning of land over to private developers. All previous land has been renovated and changed into the typical urbanized American city. S.S.

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Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis via Story Maps

Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis via Story Maps | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Spatial analysis has always been a hallmark of GIS, the 'numerical recipes' which set GIS apart from other forms of computerized visualization and information management. With GIS we pose questions and derive results using a wide array of analytical tools to help us understand and compare places, determine how places are related, find the best locations and paths, detect and quantify patterns, and even to make spatial predictions."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 21, 2014 7:50 PM

GIS is a key tool in spatial analysis, but it can also be a driving force in using math, science, technology and (yes) geography as interdisciplinary ways of teaching the curriculum.  StoryMaps can be rich with images and videos, but also filled with data at a variety of scales.  ESRI has share a "Maps we love" page with excellent examples of Story Maps and carefully explains WHY these maps work and HOW they were made.  Are you new to using the Analysis tool in ArcGIS Online?  Try this exercise on analyzing flood risk to guide you through some of the steps to learn what is possible for a project of your own.  What stories can you tell in this rich, visual format?  What visual template shown might lend itself best for that sort of project? 


Tagsmapping, GISESRIgeography education, geospatial, edtech.

Caterin Victor's curator insight, October 29, 2014 12:16 PM

 Not only Spatial, even plain geography is very interesting and important,  but.....not everybody understands, and want to...

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A Landsat Flyby

"The Landsat program is the longest continuous global record of the Earth's surface, and continues to deliver both visually stunning and scientifically valuable images of our planet. This short video (download here) highlights Landsat's many benefits to society."

 

Tags: remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.


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Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, October 13, 2014 1:00 PM

another great bit of info from Seth

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, October 19, 2014 7:34 PM

Environmental change at a variety of scales 

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The Transformation of Burning Man

The Transformation of Burning Man | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Burning Man takes place at the end of August every year in the barren and remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The weeklong festival is described by its organization as “an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.” Earth-bound photographers have chronicled the legacy of art, technology, design, and fashion at the event over the years, but we at Skybox wanted to know if we could capture the transformation of the city from space, with our constellation of SkySats. This is the result:

A full-fledged city of population 70,000, “Black Rock City” is built up in a matter of days, experienced for a single week, and disassembled just as quickly, leaving no trace."


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CT Blake's curator insight, September 19, 2014 12:45 PM

An interesting view of the passage of short amounts of time and human interaction in a transitory urban scene-- Burning Man.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, September 21, 2014 10:12 PM

I have a friend from Nevada and he explained how excited he was to go to Burning Man and he was almost appalled when I asked what the big deal was.  I had no idea that this huge event is put up and taken down in such a short period of time, all that quick work for a weeks worth of entertainment.  The idea to document the construction and destruction through satellite was an excellent idea, as it is more meaningful to someone than writing that it was constructed in so many days and taken down in this many.  

Alec Castagno's curator insight, September 23, 2014 11:39 AM

Burning Man is a massive and creative counterculture festival, and its surprising to learn that the majority of the camps are created by participants of the festival in whatever manner they choose. It is amazing that such a huge number of people can flock to such a remote location and in a very short amount of time build a complex, organized settlement, all for the purpose of a festival dedicated to independence and expression. What is popularly seen as a drugged out Mecca for the weird is carried out in a shockingly complex manner, and by working with the local infrastructure and providing one of their own the festival is able to be carried out year after year.

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What Does Earth Look Like?


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MsPerry's curator insight, September 1, 2014 9:51 AM

APHG-Unit 1

Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, September 5, 2014 9:18 AM

Mapping and Satellite Imagery

Alex Smiga's curator insight, September 7, 2015 4:29 PM
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video covers various topics important to mapping and satellite imagery (and alesson from an APHG teacher on how to use this video with other resources).  There is so much more to the world and space than what we can see see.  Chromoscope, referenced in the video, simulates other forms of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum besides just visible light.  This type of information is at the core of the science behind all of our satellite imagery.  This video also covers many map projection issues and highlights online resources to understand map distortion including:

Google’s Mercator Map PuzzleJason Davies’ interactive map projection websiteInteractive Gnomonic Projectionand the military's live rendering of what the Earth looks like right now.  
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These Stunning Satellite Images Turn Earth Into Art

These Stunning Satellite Images Turn Earth Into Art | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled some of the more stunning examples into a traveling art exhibition called Earth as Art 4, the fourth in a series of shows since 2002. The collection, which can be viewed in full online, debuted at USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia."

 

Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, images, art, landscape.


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amitmahendruphotography's curator insight, April 20, 9:41 PM

Candid Photographer In Lucknow , Candid Photographer In Kanpur http://amitmahendruphotography.com

Dennis Swender's curator insight, April 21, 10:34 PM
The heights of multicultural art
Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, April 24, 1:02 AM
Imágenes satelitales que convierten la Tierra en Arte
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Landsat Data Continuity Mission

"This animation portrays how the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite will orbit the Earth 13 times per day at an altitude of 705 km collecting landcover data. With a cross-track width of 185 km, the satellite will completely cover the globe in a 16 day period compiling a total of 233 orbits."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 29, 2015 2:17 PM

Most remote sensing videos show still images that are animated to give the temporal sequence a video-like quality.  This video shows the 'big picture' of remote sensing, how the Landsat satellites can capture global coverage.

  

Tags: remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.

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Teaching APHG with Live Web Maps

Teaching APHG with Live Web Maps | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it
Lyn Malone and Seth Dixon combined to present at NCGE 2015 on Saturday August 8th; the topic was Teaching AP Human Geography with Live Web Maps.

 

Tags: APHG, NCGE, training, edtech, GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial.


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 10, 2015 10:58 PM

I was glad to present in Washington D.C., and for any who could not attend, it was designed as a "first foray" into using ArcGIS online and chance to discover great web maps for every unit of APHG. 

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Island in a Lake on an Island in a Lake on an Island

Island in a Lake on an Island in a Lake on an Island | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Here’s a winning question for your next trivia night: Where is the world’s largest island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island? According to stories published here and here, the distinction currently goes to a nameless isle within Victoria Island in Canada’s Nunavut Territory.

On August 21, 2014, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this natural-color view of the “sub-sub-sub-island.” The top image shows a close-up view of the unnamed island, while the bottom image shows a wider view of Victoria Island’s lake-littered landscape (download large image here)."

 

Tags: Canada, trivia, remote sensing, geospatial.


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Where in the World?

Where in the World? | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

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Fathie Kundie's curator insight, January 8, 2015 10:03 AM

اختبار في الجغرافيا.. عبارة عن صور مأخوذة من الجو .. حاول التعرف على الدول والمدن

Brian Wilk's comment, January 31, 2015 9:34 PM
This is Australia I think.
Henk Trimp's comment, February 1, 2015 6:37 PM
It sure is!
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Stunning Satellite Images of Earth

Stunning Satellite Images of Earth | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it
Exclusive timelapse: See climate change, deforestation and urban sprawl unfold as Earth evolves over 30 years.

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Ishola Adebayo's comment, July 31, 2013 9:07 AM
good day Sir, pls need help on fixing scan line errors on lansat7 ETM images from 2003 using for example ArcMap9.3 or ENVI4.5 or.........thank you so much
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 27, 2015 10:55 AM

summer work KQ2 key concepts: remote sensing, deforestation, desertification, land use, geospatial

Jill Wallace's curator insight, August 20, 2015 7:57 PM

Great images!

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Can these satellite images save lives? The U.N. thinks so

Can these satellite images save lives? The U.N. thinks so | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it
Stunning images taken from space put the world's crises into context.

 

U.N. satellite imagery has tracked the evolution of the camp since its creation. The exponential growth is remarkable.  The refugee camp is rapidly taking the shape of a real city — structured, planned and even separated into neighborhoods and subject to gentrification.

 

Tags: refugees, migration, conflict, political, war, squatter, urban, unit 7 cities, remote sensing, geospatial. 

 


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tom cockburn's curator insight, February 27, 2015 5:13 AM

Raises a number of serious questions.Not only about the middle East but about habitation,cultural development and resource distribution and deployment inequalities

Norka McAlister's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:00 PM

I definitely think that it would. It is impressive to see how a urban planning affected the land designed by the refuges. Within a few years through satellite imaging, we can witness and appreciate how  the Zaatarie refugee campus went from a few refugees to a total urbanized area receiving and distributed more than 85,000 refuges in the area. Urban planning plays a big role in regards to how display all populations. However, we have to take in consideration that when a massive population in one area is displayed, urban area is also relevant in terms of disciplines, public healthy, collaboration to live under a community rules. On other hand, natural disasters and destruction by war can wipe out entire cities within seconds. The satellite images were able to show the destruction that took place in the Syrian city of Hamas after natural diasters devastated the region and the wartorn afternmath of Gaza city. Natural disasters and war trigger a massive migration of refugees in search for better a life and opportunity.

Max Minard's curator insight, March 21, 2015 9:26 PM

This report refers to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan which is experiencing rapid growth in population with 85,000 citizens and is even starting to look as a "city built form scratch". The reason geographers think that satellite imagery can save refugee lives is because it allows them to view areas of the camp in which they are unable to reach on ground. This information will help health workers pinpoint these certain hidden areas and tend to the people who are there. This use of satellite imagery centers around the camps rapid growth in population, making it quite a challenge to scale on ground. 

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Windows on Earth

Windows on Earth | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

"Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station.  Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day, for science research, education and public outreach.  The photos are often dramatic, and help us all appreciate home planet Earth.  These images  help astronauts share their experience, and help you see Earth from a global perspective."

 

Tags: images, art, space, remote sensing, geospatial.


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tosserestonian's comment, January 18, 2015 11:26 PM
Its tremendous
Bharat Employment's curator insight, January 19, 2015 12:06 AM
www.bharatemployment.com
Rich Schultz's curator insight, February 11, 2015 11:33 AM

It just doesn't get much cooler than this!

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Where in the World?

Where in the World? | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

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Fathie Kundie's curator insight, January 8, 2015 10:03 AM

اختبار في الجغرافيا.. عبارة عن صور مأخوذة من الجو .. حاول التعرف على الدول والمدن

Brian Wilk's comment, January 31, 2015 9:34 PM
This is Australia I think.
Henk Trimp's comment, February 1, 2015 6:37 PM
It sure is!
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Earth From the ISS

"Watch along with Expedition 38 crew members Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio as they look at various cities across the globe from the vantage point of the cupola on board the International Space Station."  

 

Tags: mapping, perspective, images, remote sensing, geospatial, unit 1 Geoprinciples.


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Using Google Earth to Track Down Criminals

Authorities use Google Earth to crack down on illegal activities.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 23, 2014 8:48 PM

This is an old clip, but a useful platform to discuss the ethics involved in using geospatial technologies, the expectations of privacy and issues of governance.  This could also be used to discuss urban political geography and principles of planning.  What are the limits to the legal and ethical uses of technologies?


Tags: google, mapping, geospatial.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 28, 2014 8:19 PM

I think this is a good tool to the authorities to keep a eye on criminal people. Some people may feel that some one is always watching you because of these, but lets see the good side, this could help the police to find criminals or illegals activities. In my opinion these is a good idea.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 11:51 AM

Using geographic technology to catch criminals seems like a great use of technology in the digital age. But this is a massive breach of privacy on a global scale. Now with satellite imagery, there is fewer and fewer geographic factors that allow for privacy. No longer can someone move into the woods for solitude, in the past geography could be used as a way to isolate oneself from others, now with technology like "google earth", the globe has become easier to monitor all landscapes and areas. People will have to ask themselves how much they are willing to sacrifice in terms of security. If being monitored everywhere you go means less dangerous activities taking place it may be worth the risk, but we are putting a lot of faith in the fact that those in charge of these technologies will use them responsibly. 

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Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY DIGITAL  STUDY: MIKE BUSARELLO | Scoop.it

e "While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.

The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.

The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."

 

Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.


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Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:24 AM

It is amazing what irrigation can produce.  The border between China and Kazakhstan is a perfect picture of land with irrigation and one without supplied water.  Eastern Kasakhstan has farmland but it is only subsidized by natural rainfall whereas on the greener Chinese side of the border it is supplemented with water by the farmers.  Great picture!

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 12:00 PM

Seeing such a striking difference between two countries that are so close together is strange and thought-provoking. Knowing a little bit about the two countries can make a world of difference, though. In this case, we have China and Kazakhstan, two countries located in East/Central Asia. Kazakhstan borders China to the west, along the northern part of its western border. Much of China's inland land use is devoted to agriculture, as the majority of its industry is located near its coast. This is evident by the amount of green space seen in the satellite image above. With well over a billion people to feed, China needs to make use of as much of its arable land as possible. Kazakhstan, on the other hand is a much smaller country with much less land devoted to agriculture. Its farmland is mostly large and industrial, as a result of Soviet-era farming and is rain-fed rather than irrigated, like China's.

 

Knowing the history as well as the economic strengths of a country can therefore be useful in interpreting satellite images such as the one in this article. A lack of knowledge about China and Kazakhstan's economy and history may lead to an assumption that the Chinese are just better farmers than the Kazakhs. This is of course not necessarily true, but what is true is that China has a much larger and more immediate need for agriculture than does Kazakhstan and so devotes more of its land, time, and energy to farming. Likewise, it shouldn't be assumed that Kazakhstan has no need for agriculture at all. Instead, its history has largely influenced its economic strengths and needs, and the result is a country that looks very different from China. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 12:41 PM

It's crazy to see how much human influences can reshape the landscape, or how things we tend to think of in more abstract terms- like national boundaries- can be very physical in nature. I liked reading about the differing agricultural approaches the two nations take, and being able to see the physical manifestations of those two different approaches so obviously. It's impressive to think that China is able to support such a massive population- one in every 5 people alive on the planet is Chinese- with so little land, and the consequences are plain to see in the image above. Increased irrigation efforts leads to the unnaturally bright green patches in the middle of a relatively dry area, serving as a symbol of man's attempts to bind mother nature to his will. Although not always successful, such attempts appear to be working well here. In contrast, Kazakhstan's population demands vary wildly from that of China's, and its solution for feeding its people can therefore take a more natural, backroads approach, with food production concentrated in a few areas. I wonder what other international borders can be seen so neatly with the naked eye.