2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

THINKING GLOBALLY, TEACHING LOCALLY: RESOURCES FOR LOOKING AT LOCAL LANDSCAPE CHANGE AND HUMAN POPULATION IN GOOGLE EARTH

SELKIN, Peter A.1, WETZSTEIN, Lia2, and MASURA, Julie E.2, (1) Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma, 1900 Commerce Street Box 358436, Tacoma, WA 98402, paselkin@u.washington.edu, (2) IAS / Environmental Science, University of Washington Tacoma, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402

Relating environmental change to human population growth and human activity is a common goal in introductory environmental science courses. Seeing the relationship between human and environmental change in a local context can help students identify subtle linkages between the two. Google Earth, and other programs like it, can display time-stamped aerial images overlain with environmental and socioeconomic data. This gives instructors a powerful tool to show environmental changes alongside some of their manmade influences. Here we present an example of a classroom activity using Google Earth that examines human influences on and responses to changes in the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers, WA. More broadly, we use the activity to demonstrate some widely available resources for illustrating local environmental change (e.g. high-resolution terrain and historical imagery in Google Earth). Most of the data we present require some limits on the scale and extent of the activities one can produce (depending on the location, an extent of ~500 sq km is a reasonable limit) and the types of change one can detect (coastal change is problematic, since Google Earth’s imagery and coastline terrain data do not always match precisely). The resources and principles outlined here should facilitate the incorporation of Google Earth-based, location-specific activities into courses with a sustainability focus.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 369
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 501

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