Section 1: Essentials of Geography

SLOs: geography introduction, location with latitude and longitude and time with zones, maps and scales.


Lesson 1:

Instruction

Geography is essentially a science that focuses on location, place, movement, region, and human-Earth relationships.  Geographers use the scientific method to find out more about Earth, and its biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) components.  The Earth is divided up into four spheres for study: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, and the biosphere.  The image below shows which of these spheres coincides with the sections of this website.     

Photos and Images
 (Geosystems: spheres of contents)  

Quiz

Using the Christopherson text or another geography source, define the four spheres and give an example from Ventura County of each.

 


Lesson 2:

Instruction

Location, or where something is on Earth, can be measured from the center of the Earth using latitude and longitude.  Latitude is the distance from the equator either north or south, ranging from 0 to 90 degrees.  Longitude is the distance from from a specific point on Earth's surface, denoted by the prime meridian, either east or west and ranging from 0 to 360 degrees.  Standard world wide time zones, or the Coordinated Universal Time, are also based on longitude, with the starting time at the prime meridian.  The Greenwich Mean Time (also the origin of the prime meridian), named from its base point in Greenwich, England, is the 0 hour from which all Coordinated Universal Time is derived.  For each longitudinal line past this prime meridian to the west, the time advances an hour forward.  Likewise, for each longitudinal line past the prime meridian to the east, time reverses an hour.  The International Date Line, where the days officially change from one to another, is located at approximately 180 degrees longitude (or half way around the world either east or west from the prime meridian).  As the Earth rotates on its axis eastward, the date forwards from one day to another westward of the International Date Line as a 360 degree rotation is completed.           

Photos and Images

 
 (the undisclosed latitudinal and longitudinal lines near Ventura County)

Quiz

Ventura County is located between which general latitudinal and longitudinal lines?  The Pacific time zone that we acknowledge in Ventura County is how many hours off from the prime meridian?  Use Google Earth or a latitudinal and longitudinal map showing our county to answer the first question.  Use the Christopherson text (specifically the modern international time zones image) or another time zones map to answer the second question.  

 


Lesson 3:

Instruction

To understand geographical maps, it is necessary to understand scales and projections.  A map is simply any representation of the real world.  The art of cartography, or map making, involves scales (the ratio of map image to real world) and projections (the reduction of the sphere we call Earth to an image with a flat surface).  Scales can be small (1:100,000) or large (1:24,000).  Interestingly enough, the smaller the scale, the more of the real world is depicted.  Inversely, the larger the scale, the less of the real world is illustrated.  There are many types of projections (for more information on projections, see the Christopherson text).  Other tools for understanding locations, maps, scales, projections, and many other things include Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Global Information Systems (GIS).

Photos and Images
    (California image with lines of latitude and longitude)          (Ventura County image with lines of latitude and longitude) 

Quiz

Given the two images above, which is the smaller scale map and which is the larger scale map?   


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2006 Jessica Douglas