Geography 222 Maps and Mapping
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Geog 222 Exercise 2: Finding 'Real' Maps
- ASSIGNED in class Friday September 20
- DUE Wednesday October 2 at 9:00 am
Please review the Digital Submissions Guide
and follow all it's brilliant suggestions for formatting your exercise
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
on how maps show us some version of the world.
- "Home" may be a difficult thing to define!
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
- Type 1 page: Name your home and describe your relationship to the place
do you know it, how long did you live there, etc.) in a few paragraphs.
International students include comments on your actual and US home.
- Type 1 page: Once you comment on your home, go to the Claritas
marketing web site and then Zip Code Lookup. Enter your home zip code (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. Then select the Learn More menu and
Nielsen PRIZM and read up on what these folks think one can do with this information.
Comment on their suggested uses of the data, and how it relates to who you are and where
2. USGS Topographic Maps of your Home on the WWW (15 pts)
WARNING: Many WWW map sites depend on sophisticated WWW
technology that can be slow or break down. Expect delays and sites that are temporarily
not working. You may also be using a computer or internet browser that is not compatible
with a particular mapping WWW site. Be patient! If a site is not working, revisit it at a
different time or use a different computer. Given such potential problems, please do not
do the exercise at the last minute. Contact the instructor at least 48 hours before the
due date if you are having persistent problems.
Over the past decade the USGS (United States Geologic Survey) 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, or can upload to your Drive account.
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.
Index for USGS
1:24,000 scale (7.5 minute) maps of the U.S. (requires Google Earth plugin; you can actually
download a copy of the map you need for this section of the exercise from this site)
Go to the USGS Store
which is the WWW site where the US Geological Survey sells its maps. Use Firefox browser:
The two (or three) maps are in GeoPDF format, and you should be able to open and view with Adobe
Reader or any other PDF reader. If you are having trouble with these files, please
contact me ASAP.
- Click on Map Locator and Downloader
- Type in your street address and Go
- Click on the map pin marker at your address
- We are interested in the 7.5 x 7.5 series maps (1:24,000 scale); SKIP THE "US TOPO"
MAP, WHICH IS AN AIR PHOTO, and click to download (on link with the file size) the next
newest available map.
- Scroll down the list of older versions of the topo map - they will have the
same name as the map you saved in the previous step. Find the oldest map and
- Do not download the recent (2010, 2011, 2012) map with imagery of the earth
in the background! These are simply recent air images with a few major roads and
such on them. These are the "US Topo" maps I told you (above) not to download! Don't
do it! If you do and include it in this exercise you owe me a $1 nuisance fee.
- Check if one of the even older 15 x 15 series maps (1:62,500 scale) maps is listed.
It will probably have a different name. Save one of those also, if one is listed.
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).
Because the map files are very large, don't include them in their entirety
in your exercise. Instead use the Print Screen feature on your computer to
save a low resolution version of each map. See the
Digital Submissions Guide for details.
- Type 2 pages: Compare the maps: indicate three things
that strike you as interesting in comparing the newer and older maps of the area
around your home.
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
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.
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,
- Please use CONSORT and
OhioLink to locate and acquire two printed maps of the area
around your home. For international students, find a map for your US and
international home for this part of the exercise. The larger scale (more detailed) the map the
better, but do the best you can. Details on how to search and find paper maps
available at Geography 222 Library
Resources pages compiled by Deb Peoples.
- If you can not find a map of their home or something close to home in a
print work either at OWU or through Ohiolink loan, then talk to your
instructor at least a week before the exercise due date.
- If you have to resort to getting a map or book from another campus,
you may want to order several so at least one is viable.
- Students have found maps at the Delaware Public Library:
try there if you are having difficulty on campus.
- Scan the maps (see instructions for scanning in the Digital Submissions Guide OR if all else fails, just take a cell-phone snap shot of
the map. Insert the scan or snap-shot in your document.
- Type 2 pages: Note the title of the map or its caption. Give
the library call number for the map or for the item in which you found the
map. Briefly describe the map. If necessary, give the page number where the
map was found. Document the search strategy you used to find the map
(e.g.., what key words or subject headings did you use) or if you browsed
the shelves, which shelves and why. Note any problems you had. This
process may be frustrating! Finding paper maps can be really tough.
Do not find a copy of the topographic map (US Geologic Survey
(USGS) 1:24,000 scale map, 7.5 minute series, or any USGS topographic map) you located and
will order in part two of this exercise. Also, don't turn in a map saved or printed from the internet -
you must find a PAPER map for this part of the exercise.
Exercise 2: Sum:
- Please format your exercise so that it reflects the different sections
above. Include headers (eg., "3. Finding 'Real' Maps of your Home in the Library") before
each set of maps and answers. Embed scans and digital images in appropriate locations
(not all at the end). Review the Digital Submissions Guide
if you have any questions, or contact your instructor. Turn in about 6 pages + images total.
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