Tools geographers use
This year’s field season has been particularly long, which has taken me away from this blog. There’s already one more session remaining, which will run until the end of next week. Then I’ll be back home, and I’m hoping to get this site up and running again as soon as possible.
When I told a friend that I had just received a review copy of John Krygier and Denis Wood’s Making Maps, second edition, she exclaimed, “Wow, our university’s GIS department loves that book!” No surprise: the first edition has become a staple on many mapmakers’ bookshelves since its publication in 2006, and I expect the second edition to follow suit. If you make maps, it’s a good idea to have a copy of this book on hand for inspiration and guidance.
One thing to bear in mind is that this isn’t a how-to manual or a formula for making charts. Krygier and Wood focus on the logic you can use when making simple design choices for your map and how to bring it all together, rather than how all the pieces fit together in the end (though that isn’t completely ignored). There are several examples, but they typically focus on the individual components of a map (color, typeface, symbology, classification, projection, and so on) rather than the entire map. Consider this the mapping counterpart of McGee’s kitchen science classic, On Food And Cooking: it will provide you with the requisite knowledge and understanding to find out why a recipe works, but it will not provide you with any recipes to follow. Consider Brewer’s Built Maps: A Sourcebook for GIS Users for examples of successful mapmaking practices; for a more how-to approach, Peterson’s GIS Cartography: A Guide to Effective Map Design is excellent, but ridiculously overpriced. Making Maps, on the other hand, is the book I’d turn to first for advice and inspiration.
02 | basics of geography | tools of geography
Users can visualize our TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) data using the TIGERweb mapping framework. Users can pick features and display their characteristics, scan for features by name or geocode, and find features by selecting them from a map using the app. The TIGERweb application helps you to easily access our TIGER data without having to download it.
You can choose a particular geography and vintage with TIGER/Line Shapefiles. Within the GIS setting, you can overlay two different vintages to visually or spatially detect any boundary changes between years. Though shapefiles are the most versatile and comprehensive resource accessible, they are only recommended for GIS software experts.
NOAA View is a data exploration tool created by the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Over 100 different databases on a broad range of topics related to the Earth system are available on this interactive chart, including ocean, environment, soil, cryosphere, climate, and weather models. Select the dataset to visualize by clicking “Menu” and then “Add Data” on the left. Click “Time” in the lower left corner and drag the button to see how data changes over time. Users may also click on specific areas of interest to get more detail.
Because of the massive amount of data available to imagine, I thought this was a fantastic website. For example, we can look at “observations” or “simulations” under “climate.” I like the “simulation” tool because it allows us to see how ocean/air temperature, precipitation, and sea ice concentrations change under low, moderate, high, and very high emissions.
EDDMaps uses crowdsourced data to monitor the distribution and existence of plants, insects, diseases, and animals throughout the United States. It allows users to record sightings with photos, generate interactive maps of all sightings of a specific species, provide information on each species’ taxonomy and native territory, and download datasets of all sightings of a specific species. Users can easily access maps that display all states or counties with confirmed sightings or look at the country as a whole, and the clustered point symbology makes it simple to classify areas of the country where the species is most common. This website also provides user assistance in accessing and using the data as well as instruction in documenting species sightings. The photos below display the tools available to me if I’m interested in coyotes (Canis latrans).
A geography tech tool – video tutorial
What is the meaning of a geographic tool? It is, by definition, a method related to geography, a science concerned with the earth and its inhabitants. Maps, atlases, gazetteers (geographical dictionaries), and postal guides are all popular geographic resources.
A town is a particular location on the planet Earth. It may be in a valley, a plain surrounded by lush fields, mountains surrounded by evergreens, or a desert far from other human settlements. Its surroundings would have an impact on the lives of those who live there, as well as the economy. There can be several towns with the same name, but only one can occupy a particular piece of land; as a result, each town is known by its location.
A map is a graphic representation (usually flat) of the physical features (natural, artificial, or both) of a portion of the earth’s surface using signs and symbols and at a predetermined scale. A topographic map would depict the land’s landscape, as well as its proximity to other cities, physical obstacles such as major rivers and mountains, roads and trails, and the town’s approximate size.