The World and Its People

Chapter 1: Looking at the Earth

Web Activity Lesson Plans

In this chapter, students have learned about the earth and some of the tools geographers use to study it. One tool is geographic information systems (GIS). This technology combines many kinds of information and layers them together with maps. These computer models can be analyzed and used in decision making by government and business. Most local governments use some form of geographic information system.

Lesson Description
Students will visit the Web site on geographic information systems. They will review examples of GIS images and some applications of GIS analyses. Finally they will be asked to think about their own locality. What kinds of problems or situations could a GIS help analyze? Some suggestions might be traffic flow, housing development, migration of animals, animal populations, locations of public buildings, and so on.

Instructional Objectives

  1. The student will be able to describe several ways in which GIS help businesses or governments make decisions.
  2. The student will be able to describe the importance of GIS technology in today's world.
  3. The student will be able to apply the concept of GIS to a local situation.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. A GIS is mapping software that links information about where things are with information about what things are like. It is different from paper maps in that it combines many layers of information. You can select from a database only the information you need to see to achieve your goal.
  2. Mapping change would be useful in anticipating future conditions, deciding on a course of action, or evaluating the results of an action.
  3. GIS can help people make better decisions because it provides better information. Also, since it can produce data very quickly, multiple scenarios can be evaluated.
  4. Governments use GIS to streamline business practices and to share information among departments.
  5. Answers will vary.
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