10 Resources for Teaching Geography with Technology. 1.) Google Earth is by far the best tool to explore the continents, countries, cities, and oceans. I am a huge fan of Google Earth and it is only. 2.) Use Google Maps to 'Trek' across places in the world. I wrote a post about this earlier,. ICT assimilation into teaching and learning among schools will magnify the understanding of subject matters. ICT is a teaching and learning tool, and different approaches to learning define ICT differently. For the Objectivist approach, ICT is a new.
Data, data, data . . . data is everywhere. It’s collected every time you go to the grocery store and use their card to reduce the costs, when you click on a link on Facebook, or when you do any kind of search on a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. It is used by your state department of transportation when you are driving on a freeway or when you use an app on a smart phone. Futurists believe that in the near future, face recognition technology will allow a sales representative know what types of clothes you like to buy based on a database of your recent purchases at their store and others. Now there are two basic types of data you need to know: spatial and non-spatial data. Spatial data, also called geospatial data, is data that can be linked to a specific location on Earth. Geospatial data is becoming “big business” because it isn’t just data, but data that can be located, tracked, patterned, and modeled based on other geospatial data. Census information that is collected every 10 years is an example of spatial data. Non-spatial data is data that cannot be specifically traced to a specific location. This might include the number of people living in a household, enrollment within a specific course, or gender information. But non-spatial data can easily become spatial data if it can be linked in some way to a location. Geospatial technology specialists have a method called geocoding that can be used to give non-spatial data a geographic location. Once data has a spatial component associated with it, the type of questions that can be asked dramatically changes.
Remote sensing can be defined as human’s ability to study objects without being in direct physical contact with them. So for example, your eyes are a form of passive remote sensing because they are “passively” absorbing electromagnetic energy within the visible spectrum from distant objects and your brain is processing that energy into information. There are a variety of remote sensing platforms or devices, but they can basically be categorized into the following that we will look at throughout the course. Satellite imagery is a type of remotely sensed imagery taken of the Earth’s surface, which is produced from orbiting satellites that gather data via electromagnetic energy. Next is areal photography, which is film-based or digital photographs of the Earth, usually from an airplane or non-piloted drone. Images are either taken from a vertical or oblique position. Third is radar, which is an interesting form of remote sensing technology that uses microwave pulses to create imagery of features on Earth. This can be from a satellite image or ground-based Doppler radar for weather forecasting. Finally, a fast growing realm of remote sensing is called Light Detection and Ranging or Lidar, which is a form of remote sensing that measures distance of objects using laser pulses of light.
Another type of geospatial technology is global positioning systems (GPS) and a key technology for acquiring accurate control points on Earth’s surface. Now to determine the location of that GPS receiver on Earth’s surface, a minimum of four satellites are required using a mathematical process called triangulation. Normally the process of triangulation requires a minimum of three transmitters, but because the energy sent from the satellite is traveling at the speed of light, minor errors in calculation could result in large location errors on the ground. Thus, a minimum of four satellites is often used to reduce this error. This process using the geometry of triangles to determine location is used not only in GPS, but a variety of other location needs like finding the epicenter of earthquakes.A user can use a GPS receiver to determine their location on Earth through a dynamic conversation with satellites in space. Each satellite transmits orbital information called the ephemeris using a highly accurate atomic clock along with its orbital position called the almanac. The receiver will use this information to determine its distance from a single satellite using the equation D = rt, where D = distance, r = rate or the speed of light (299,792,458 meters per second), and t = time using the atomic clock. The atomic clock is required because the receiver is trying to calculate distance, using energy that is transmitted at the speed of light. Time will be fractions of a second and requires a “time clock” up the upmost accuracy.
There is a technology that exists that can bring together remote sensing data, GPS data points, spatial and non-spatial data, and spatial statistics into a single, dynamic system for analysis and that is a geographic information system (GIS). A GIS is a powerful database system that allows users to acquire, organize, store, and most importantly analyze information about the physical and cultural environments. A GIS views the world as overlaying physical or cultural layers, each with quantifiable data that can be analyzed. A single GIS map of a national forest could have layers such as elevation, deciduous trees, evergreens, soil type, soil erosion rates, rivers and tributaries, major and minor roads, forest health, burn areas, regrowth, restoration, animal species type, trails, and more. Each of these layers would contain a database of information specific to that layer.Nearly every discipline, career path, or academic pursuit uses geographic information systems because of the vast amount of data and information about the physical and cultural world. Disciplines and career paths that use GIS include: conservation, ecology, disaster response and mitigation, business, marketing, engineering, sociology, demography, astronomy, transportation, health, criminal justice and law enforcement, travel and tourism, news media, and the list could endlessly go on.Now, GIS primarily works from two different spatial models: raster and vector. Raster based GIS models are images much like a digital picture. Each image is broken down into a series of columns and rows of pixels and each pixel is georeferenced to somewhere on Earth’s surface is represents a specific numeric value—usually a specific color or wavelength within the electromagnetic spectrum. Most remote sensing images come into a GIS as a raster layer. The other type of GIS model is called a vector model. Vector based GIS models are based on the concept of points that are again georeferenced (i.e. given an x-, y-, and possibly z-location) to somewhere specific on the ground. From points, lines can be created by connecting a series of points and areas can be created by closing loops of vector lines. For each of these vector layers, a database of information can be attributed to it. So for example, a vector line of rivers could have a database associated with it such as length, width, stream flow, government agencies responsible for it, and anything else the GIS user wants tied to it. What these vector models represent is also a matter of scale. For example, a city can be represented as a point or a polygon depending on how zoomed in you are to the location. A map of the world would show cities as points, whereas a map of a single county may show the city as a polygon with roads, populations, pipes, or grid systems within it.
In this article we will discuss about the geomatics and its applications.
The term Geomatics is of recent origin. It first appeared in 1981 in The Canadian Surveyor, and it was Michel Paradis, a French-Canadian surveyor, who introduced it in April 1982 while addressing the Centennial Congress Ceremony of the Canadian Institute of Surveying.
However, at times it claimed that the term was coined earlier by B. Dubuisson in 1969 by combining the words ‘geodesy’ and ‘geo-informatics’. Subsequently, it was adopted by the International Organization of Standardization, the Royal Institute of Charted Surveyor, and many other international authorities.
Geomatics is the English equivalent of the French Geomatique, which is a discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information, or spatially-referenced information. The European equivalent of Geomatics is Geo- spatial Information (Technology).
Geomatics incorporates the tools and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), global-navigation satellite systems (GPS [Ground Positioning System], GLONASS, Galileo, and Compass), photogrammetry, geophysics, geography and related forms of Earth mapping.
The rapid progress and increased visibility of geomatics since the 1990s has been made possible by advances in computer hardware, computer science, and software engineering, as well as by airborne and space observation remote sensing technologies.
Geomatics as a new technology incorporates the older field survey techniques together with many other aspects of spatial data management. It is a rapidly developing discipline focusing on spatial information. The geomatics technology handles and/or manages local, regional, national and global spatial data infrastructures.
Geomatics is, thus, defined as a systemic, multidisciplinary, integrated approach to selecting the instrument and the appropriate techniques for collecting, storing, integrating, modeling, analysing, retrieving at will, transforming, displaying and distributing spatially geo-referenced data from different sources with well-defined accuracy characteristics and continuity in a digital format. Erected on the scientific framework of geodesy, it uses terrestrial, marine, and satellite- based sensors to acquire spatial and other data.
In recent years, classical geography has undergone a structural change in its philosophy and methodology with the introduction of geomatics in geographical studies, researches, and training. Now, it is more a science rather than a naive science as it is used to be called 50 years back. Geography is revolutionised a second time over with the incorporation of the geomatic techniques that has also caused a theoretical-shift within the discipline.
The first such revolution occurred in the early 1950s when the nomothetic search for model replaced the traditional ideographic concerned with areal association, leading to what is called the quantitative revolution in geography. Increasing use of geomatics in both geography and engineering has opened up a new vista in contemporary applied studies.
The geographers of the Atlantic Community and the Pacific Community increasingly use and apply geomatics techniques in their studies and research works, pertaining to regional planning, natural hazards and calamities, disaster management and so on.
The Chinese geographers have made outstanding progress in the application of geomatics techniques in all branches of geography, and in some areas they have surpassed their American counterparts, particularly in the hazard zonation mapping and regional planning mapping.
Coming to India, geographers here are specialised in remote sensing and geographic information systems, which are components of geomatics, whereas non-geographic institutions and engineering colleges have introduced geomatics courses in their curricula, and in some of such institutions, geomatics has been introduced as a separate discipline, where the PhD courses in the field have been initiated.
The institutions, where teaching and researches are done in geomatics are the College of Engineering, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Civil Engineering Department, BRECM College of Engineering and Technology, Bahal, Bhiwani, Haryana, Advance Training Centre for Earth System Sciences & Climate, IITM, Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Space Application Centre, and Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, CSRE IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Hyderabad, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University, Chennai.
The above institutes conduct applied research using geomatic techniques in a wide range of areas, which include coastal ecosystem, geo- informatics tools and techniques, trends in image processing, marine biology, advances in sensor technology, microwave applications, coastal processes and hazards, photogrammetry and LIDAR for terrain analysis, planetary science and exploration, groundwater conservation and exploration, agricultural and soils, geosciences and spatial infrastructure, disaster management, monsoon dynamics and climate change, web and location-based services, geomatics application in environmental monitoring, hyper-spectral imaging and application, geomatics in urban and regional planning, geomatics in water resources, geomatics in agricultural applications, geomatics application in land use/land cover and forestry and so on.
One of the emerging fields in the application of geomatics techniques in India is in the field of boundary management and strategic border studies of the vulnerable areas. For the last few years, geomatics has been increasingly used by the Indian Army in tracking down cross-border infiltrators in Jammu & Kashmir.
It is, indeed, a fact that Indian geography is not fully expressive in terms of the application of the geomatics technology in totality in the area of research and training, though a good number of geographers have undergone training in geometics technology both within and abroad.
Yet, somehow they are handicapped in their research endeavours. Since, most of the geography departments are not fully equipped technologically to impart geomatics- based teaching, so the development in the field of geomatics teaching, research and training is rather poor.
Nevertheless, Indian geography has witnessed some development in the area of geomatics, techniques such as GPS, and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which have contributed to the growth and development of both Remote Sensing (RS) and GIS in the country. Transformation from analogue (visual) method to digital techniques in classification of remote sensing data, from manual to semi-automated methods, digital image process imaging techniques (DIP) to knowledge-based classifiers and new algorithm of data capture are some of the developments over the years in geography.
In the area of GIS, there has been a transformation from simple overlaying methods to integration to multiple sets of database, modeling, visualisation tools, simulation studies Web GIS and so on. GIS offers such capabilities as they integrate multi-sector, multi-level, multi-period database.
Geographic Information Technology (GIT) is emerging as a pioneering technology and serves as a powerful aid in the development of planning and governance together with disaster management education. Spatial technology has become a key science for decision support of sustainable development and disaster management.
During the last two decades, there has been increasing use of Remote Sensing and GIS techniques in geography in the country by way of publication of a number of papers by geographers in major journals at regional, national and international levels, and also in various interdisciplinary journals on Remote Sensing and GIS and cartography, geomatics, town planning and various conference proceedings and so on. These papers and reviews indicate the trends in the development of RS and GIS-based research methods and application in various branches of geography taught in the country.
Following are the major thrust areas, where Indian geographers in the past two decades have greatly contributed to enrich this emerging field of geography with their studies and research works, using the techniques of geomatics that involved the massive use of Remote Sensing and GPS:
1. Land Resource Assessment and Management:
Remote sensing provides land resource data in the form of digital magnetic tapes and in different bands, useful for delineation of land use/land cover classes distinctly in remote sensing with its multi-spectral, multi-temporal and synoptic view which has the potential to provide accurate spatial and temporal information on land use/land cover of a region in time and cost-effective manner.
The data generated through remote sensing techniques can be integrated with non-spatial socio-economic data for identification of planning priority zones, for land resource development.
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The remote sensing technique has enabled Indian geographers to identify and delineate the various coastal geomorphic units/landforms successfully for their synoptic view. This has helped to understand the geomorphology and related sedimentary environment properly.
Visual interpretation of the satellite imagery provides an important and practical method of land-use/land covers classification and mapping. However, the challenges lie in accurate mapping at higher spatial scale. Data merging of medium resolution multi-spectral imagery (IRS LISS-III) with higher resolution panchromatic imagery (Landsat ETM+PAN) is one of the cost effective methods for generating high resolution data, which has been used by Indian geographers for land use/ land cover extraction. Patil (2010) focused on the analysis of cropping intensity indices with the help of GIS techniques in the tribal region of the northern part of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra.
2. Water Resources Assessment and Management:
Using remote sensing and GIS techniques, the water resource problems of Udaipur City have been studied by Rathore (2009), while Kavita et al. (2009) studied the groundwater pollution problem of Dindigul town, using the same techniques. Recent advances in RS and GIS have put forward dimension in the analysis of the Chandraprabha drainage basin by supplementing the accurate time and real time information on various aspects of the river basin.
Using the digital image processing technique (false colour composites-FCCs), the monsoon, pre-monsoon, and post-monsoon surface waterlogged areas around Patna, Bojpur and Buxar and the region of the Ganga basin have been delineated.
The Peddapatippasamudram watershed management study has been done with the help of IRS-18 Geo-coded data and LISS-III data on scale of 1:50,000. The study also analysed relief, slope, landforms, soil, land use, erosion susceptibility, hydro-geomorphology, and land capability to suggest watershed management for sustainability. Similarly, wetland changes in the Vedarnyam coastal area have been assessed by using IRS-LISS- III data with ArcGIS software.
Remote sensing and GIS techniques are being increasingly used for effective management of land and water resources in watershed in 44 mandals of the Mahaboobnagar district. These areas have been identified as drought-prone.
Various maps have been prepared with the help of modern techniques of RS and GIS that include base map, contour map, drainage map, soil map, geomorphology map, slope map, land use/land cover map. Geo-referencing has been done with the help of blending together the SOI topographical maps and the satellite images. A comprehensive strategy has been evolved for the soil and water conservation for the areas.
3. Disaster Monitoring and Mitigation:
A newmethodology has been developed using geo-spatial technology, GIS database on landslide controlling geo-systems, integration of landslide incidences, geo-threshold and GIS vulnerability maps for strategic stand in the mountain terrain.
Similarly, landside zonation maps for the vulnerable areas of Himachal Pradesh have been prepared with the help of geomatics techniques. RS and GIS database have been used for accurate flood mapping along with provisions of early warning mechanisms in the flood-prone areas of Mumbai for proper urban flood management.
The study has been undertaken on the basis of the satellite images of the Mumbai floods in 2005. The flood-prone Birupa Basin, nested in the Mahanadi Basin in coastal Odisha, has been studied. Mapping of flood extent from RADARSAT images was done using visual interpretation, threshold technique; rule based expert classification and neutral network.
The threshold values, internal parameters and ancillary information used in different techniques on 2006 images was applied on RADARSAT image of 2008 for the same area and it was found that parameters derived can be applied in other areas with minor modifications.
This field information was used for accuracy assessment. For explaining the results of flood inundation extraction by different techniques, the merits and limitations of different techniques have been identified. Validation ofresults was done by RADARSAT image of the same area acquired in 2008.
Mountainous areas tend to be prone to a variety of potentially hazardous geomorphic and hydrological processes. Hazard maps were prepared and superimposed using GIS technique, for the region along the Bhagirathi River, and away from the National Highway, which is a moderate risk zone. This has been studied by Singh and Kumar in 2011, and in their study, they said that increasing intensity of anthropogenic activities might contribute to the fragility and vulnerability of flooding.
4. Urban Monitoring:
The investigation of patterns of urban growth is very crucial from regional point of view to provide basic amenities in the urban area. The growth pattern of urban sprawl has been analysed and studied with the help of temporal multi-sensor, multi-resolution spatial data. Spatial data have been modelled to a co-registered lower resolution MSS image without altering its spectral properties and contrast by using a ratio between higher resolution image and its low pass filtered (smoothing filter) image.
The study has been conducted by Menon et al. (2008). Urban sprawl is leading to urbanisation and often fuelling dispersed development both in the peripheries, and in the rural areas, with impacts such as loss of agricultural land, open space and ecologically sensitive habitats, and creation of urban heat islands. These changes in and around urban areas, together with the rural areas, however, need to be studied using RS and GIS techniques for proper planning.
5. Borderland Management:
India’s international borders are highly vulnerable, despite round the clock vigil. Most of the borders are porous, providing access to illegal immigrations, unlawful crossings, trans-border smuggling, and overall cross-border terrorism across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir, and Chinese infiltration across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, besides infiltrations into the territorial waters. Geomatics techniques have been successful in managing the borderlands, particularly with regard to border guarding, deployment of security forces, strategic maneuverings, particularly along the LoC and the LAC, tracking the cross-border movements and so on.
Borderland mapping has become easier with the help of RS and the GIS database. With the help of the GPS, the border outposts positioning along the LoC and the LAC have been established that has been helping in the management process of the vulnerable gaps between the outposts on the borders in Jammu & Kashmir. The Centre for Strategic Studies and the School of International School (Political Geography division) of the Jawaharlal Nehru University are specialised in the RS and GIS techniques-based border mapping. The Indian Army has a separate division of geomatics engineering for defense and strategic purposes.
It is now a well-established fact that remote sensing and GIS together have been proved to be a very effective tool for monitoring all kinds of earth- bound problems, related to natural resource management, water management, disaster and risk management, urban resource management, border management and so, when carefully evaluated and applied within an appropriate conceptual framework.
What is needed is that the geography departments of the premier Central and state universities must be properly equipped with the tools of geomatics engineering, so that Indian geographers working in the departments could prepare themselves in modern technology, at par with their American, European, and Chinese counterparts.