USING THE SPATIAL PERSPECTIVEMaps and geography are practically synonymous, and cartography is as old asgeography itself. Maps are used to wage war, to monitor environmental issues, tomake political propaganda, to solve medical problems, for regional planning – inshort, for countless purposes.One of the ways geographers can gain a better understanding of places and issues isby comparing spatial data – maps are the best way to do this.
In recent years, the latest revolution in map use for the average American is the digital map, commonlyused navigation devices, or as applications for smart phones and other hand-held devices. Thistechnology allows an ordinary person to have at his/her disposal a road map and/or a satellite map.Thus, the concept of map use is not new, but technologies implementing them are new.
Maps are a primary tool used by scientists and govt. officials to track environmental issues, ranging fromwater availability in the U.S. to …
… average annual precipitation for the world, to …
… monitoring the ozone hole overAntarctica. Thus, maps are crucial ininitiating awareness and as a catalystfor decision-making as the planet’sinhabitants grapple with a wide varietyof environmental issues.
Maps can either show a wide variety of information (general purpose), ….
…. or focus on one particular area of interest (theme maps).
Maps can also be used for propaganda purposes, as this Nazi propaganda illustrates.
MAP SCALEGeographers can’t draw maps the same size as the land they show, and so they draw mapsto scale. There are two types of scale: Large Scale (only a small area is shown, but the map can show many details) and Small Scale (a large area is shown, but the map can only indicate main features).
REGIONS on the MAPMaps demarcate regions using boundaries that may or may not be evident on the ground.And regions are not all of the same type: distinguish a formal region ….
…. from a functional region. Regions can be seen in a vertical order of hierarchy. Regions, therefore, are ways of organizing humans geographically.
MAPS in the MINDMental maps are a fundamental part of our general knowledge. They develop over years oflooking at wall maps, magazines, and newspapers. They are shaped by our culturalenvironment, which may distort our objectivity. Thus, environmental perception, shapesour mental maps. This is exhibited in studying different living preferences. Considerwhere California students would prefer to live. How would you explain theirpreferences versus ….
…. the living preferences of Pennsylvania students.