Google Earth in Latin America by izy20048


									                                                                     Making Geography Authentic!
                                                                      Helen Hazen, July 17th 2008
                                 Google Earth in Latin America

   Provide some images of features of Latin America that you may have read about or
      learned about in lectures.
   Get you to think about non-written sources of information as important to geography.
   Improve your familiarity with the layout of the continent and some of its physical and
      human landscapes.

Begin with only the layers: “terrain” and “borders.”

South America
Looking at the whole of South America, what physical regions immediately become apparent
from space?
        Amazonia (green), just about make out the Amazon
        Andes chain (brown)

If we focus in on a specific country, say Peru, we can see these patterns at a larger scale.

Amazon Development
Now, if we focus at an even larger scale („Amazon Development‟) we can obviously see even
more detail.
    What do you notice about the pattern of the rivers here? What does this tell us about the
       steepness of the slope in this region? (windy, not steep)
    What do you notice about the form of development that is taking place here? (ribbon
       along roadway)

Haiti-DR deforestation
Let‟s take a look at another instance of how we can see the human impact on the natural
environment („Deforestation‟).
     Any ideas what we‟re seeing here? – national border, deforestation much greater on one
     What do you think the yellow and blue lines represent here? – national border and river.
        Why don‟t they match up? – lack of precision of mapping software, actual border follows
        the river at this point.
     In this case, we‟re able to see the influence of politics on the landscape. As we zoom out
        can anyone tell me where this might be? This is the border between Haiti and the
        Dominican Republic. Haiti has suffered far greater deforestation than the DR (Turn off
        “borders” and “populated places” prior to zooming out.)

Let‟s take a look at another example of where policy has influenced what we see on the
landscape. (Keep “borders” and “populated places” switched off.) (Go to „Planned settlement.‟)
     Where is this? Note the airplane shape. Why do you think it was built in this shape?
     Building of the city began in 1956. In 1960, it formally became Brazil's capital. Aim was
        to spread development to the Amazon basin. When seen from above, the city resembles

                                                                     Making Geography Authentic!
                                                                      Helen Hazen, July 17th 2008
        the shape of an airplane or a bird with open wings, although the architect‟s original urban
        concept pointed to the shape of a cross, to symbolize possession. Today it‟s a World
        Heritage Site, although it has been widely criticized for not being pedestrian-friendly, and
        has never really attracted people to living there, leaving it somewhat empty and

Flatten the image so that relief is not evident.

Shanty Towns, Rio
It‟s not just formal policies that we can see reflected on the landscape, but also economic and
social structures of a place. („Favela, Rio‟)
      In Rio de Janeiro we can see how housing is clustered into rich and poor neighborhoods,
         sometimes right next door to each other.
      We can also see the effect of relief on how cities grow up. In this context we can see that
         although the shanty town and the affluent settlement appear to be almost next door to
         each other, in reality they are on opposite sides of a hill.

Finally, let‟s look at a couple of historical sites to think about how we can consider culture from
the interpretation of landscape.
     Why do you think the Inca built a wall in this strange zig-zag shape?
     We can only see about 20% of the original structure; the Spanish tore much of the site
        down and used the stone for building, so we don‟t really know exactly what it would
        have originally looked like. The site was supposed to have been built in the shape of a
        Puma‟s head. The Inca built Cuzco in the shape of the sacred animal of the Puma. The
        zig-zags you can see are the puma‟s teeth. We can‟t make out the shape of the puma any
        more because Cuzco has expanded so much in the meantime.
     One of the last features that I want to show you is the photos feature. Switch on the
        Geographic Web layer and show photos feature.

Flatten the relief.

Machu Picchu
Slowly change the angle so that elevation becomes clearer and clearer.
    Why do you think that the Inca might have chosen to build a city here? What would have
       been some of the challenges of this site?
    Inca Empire was largely in the highlands of the Andes and the Inca were proficient at
       buildings roads & cities at altitude. These sites would have been challenging to provision,
       but often had highly defensible positions. Ceremonial sites such as MP, which was used
       as a major astronomical and religious site, may also have been built at high altitude for
       their religious significance.
    Zooming out a little, ask students what the starkest feature on the landscape is (the zig-
       zag brown line going up the hillside). Ask the students what they think that is and who
       built it. (Road, built for tourist access to the site.) Was it a good idea to build a road to a
       site like this? Why or why not? (Many people now come to MP with significant
       damaging effects; MP is a World Heritage Site so shouldn‟t people have access to sites

                                                                    Making Geography Authentic!
                                                                     Helen Hazen, July 17th 2008
       such as this?) A hotel can also be seen just to the West of MP. What are the pros and
       cons of having a hotel here?

Feature                               Location                     Coordinates
Development along roads in the        Nr Puerto Maldonado,         12o42‟22 S, 69o27‟49 W
Amazon                                Peru
Effect of national border on          Haiti-Dominican              19o02‟09 N, 71o45‟33 W
environment                           Republic border
Planned city (shape of airplane)      Brasilia, Brazil             15o46‟48 S, 47o54‟05 W
Shanty town next to affluent          Rio de Janeiro               22o 56‟50 S, 43o 11‟39 W
housing                                                            22o 56‟29 S, 43o11‟37 W
Sachsaywaman                          Cuzco, Peru                  13o 30‟32 S, 71o 58‟55 W
Machu Picchu                          Peru                         13o 09‟48 S, 73o 32‟46 W

These sites can all be found on the KMZ file that I‟ve included.


To top