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1. Define your home for this exercise (and future exercises): (10 pts)
You will be collecting and creating a mess of maps and information about a particular place you are familiar with in this and future exercises: home. You can compare your personal knowledge of your home with the way the place is represented on maps, providing a bit more of a critical perspective.
Some of you may not have been born and raised in the US. You can use your non-US home for many of the exercises, but will have to choose a second home in the US for a few exercises where we are using data only available for the US. Select a place in the US you have spent some time in, enough to know the area a bit. If you have not lived in any area of the US besides Delaware, you can consider Delaware your second home.
Even if you were born in the US, you may have moved around. Select one of these homes - the one you feel you know the best, or care about the most. It is important that you know something about the place you decide is your home for this exercise - it should not be a place you are completely unfamiliar with. Please talk to the instructor if you have any questions about defining your home!
Once you comment on your home, go to the Claritas marketing web site and click on the Enter Zip Code button under the Zip Code Lookup section. Enter the zip code of your "home" (for international students, use your US home) and the security code. You will be presented with a page of "prizm segments" (from three different marketing databases) which define who you are based on where you live. Describe how well Claritas has defined your home in a paragraph.
2. USGS Topographic Maps of your Home on the WWW (15 pts)
Over the past decade the USGS has made an effort to make its detailed topographic maps of the US available in digital form. You can still order paper maps, but most are decades out of date. Instead of ordering a paper map (which we have done in the past in this class), you will download a series of digital topo maps, the most recent and also the oldest version available for the area around your home (as defined in the previous section).
You will save two or three high-rez topographic maps, so make sure you are working on a computer you can save files on, or have a USB drive.
United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Topographic Maps
Many countries in the world have a series of topographic maps covering all or most of the country. Topographic means - literally - topos "place" + graphein "to write." Thus topographic maps are those that show details about a place, typically elevations, rivers, roads, settlements, etc.
Topographic maps come in a variety of scales: showing more or less of the earth's surface.
Topographic maps that show a small area of the earth's surface - called large scale topographic maps - can show much detail, buildings, paths, even boulders and fences. Topographic maps that show a larger area of the earth's surface - with smaller scales - show less detail.
The USGS Topographic Maps come in a series of different scales. A few of the map series, at a scale of 1:24,000, 1:100,000, and 1:250,000, cover the entire United States. Other series cover selected areas of the U.S.
Open and review the newer map. Find your home on the map - or as close to it as you can. If the map is older than the age of your house, it won't be on the map.
Open and review the older map. Again, find your home of the area where your home is today (recalling that you are looking at an old map).
3. Finding 'Real' Maps of your Home in the Library (25 pts)
Not all maps that exist can be found on the internets. There are many older maps (on big sheets, in atlases, books, reports, etc.) that only exist on paper and many maps in atlases and books that are not easily accessible in digital form.
Libraries are an excellent, although sometimes confusing, source of printed maps.
This section of the exercise is a brief foray into "information literacy" and library skills. Please don't get too excited.
Some libraries have special map collections containing all their cartographic material, while other libraries, such as those at OWU, don't segregate maps: they are mixed in with all the other library stuff.
Maps are cataloged geographically in terms of the places they represent (e.g., Ohio) as well as thematically in terms of the subject matter of the work (e.g., Glacial Landforms). Maps are found individually (e.g., as single topographic maps), in printed, comprehensive and systematically arranged collections (e.g., atlases), and as illustrative matter accompanying text in books, government documents, journals, etc.
Other map and GIS related material is not as 'tangible' as paper maps and can be called 'virtual' maps. We will explore WWW sites for generating a diverse range of 'virtual' maps in future exercises.
Exercise 2: Sum:
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