The Royal Geographical Society: Everything Geography for the UK

The Royal Geographic Society website is a hub for everything geography for those of all ages in the UK. There are multiple components to the website that provide access to the organization’s mission, resources for learning about geography, a run down of geography programs at universities around the UK, resources for professionals, research databases, access to fieldwork projects, and an in the news tab. The in the news tab was the most interesting to me because not only does it relate to our in class assignments, but I think this is a valuable resource for those in the UK that are interested in Geography because there are several mentions of local geography exhibitions as well as giving people access to natural phenomena. Additionally, I think that the section on furthering your geography education is useful and convenient because it provides students with resources for A-levels and GCSEs (British pre-university requirements). Not only is this website very resourceful, it is also an website that welcomes people to further their knowledge of geography in an interesting and relevant way. https://www.rgs.org/

NASA – State of the Ocean

NASA has created an online tool called “State of the Ocean”. This tool displays an interactive map of the world’s oceans populated with data collected from satellites. Users can select which data is being presented on the map to learn about variables like temperature, currents, and salinity. For variables with years of data collection, users can select specific date ranges to view change in one variable in a particular time frame. For example, if I wanted to observe changes in surface temperature off the coast of Vietnam between 2012 and 2014, I could easily do so and even create an animation so the map will visually change. This tool is useful for oceanographers who use this data and it’s fun to use.

NASA Climate Change

Nasa has a really neat website solely devoted to climate change. The website is super easy to navigate, and explains a lot of issues regarding climate change. They separate the website into 6 categories; facts, articles, solutions, explore page, resources, and Nasa science.  Under the facts sub section, the user can find information on climate change evidence, causes, and effects. They have several mitigation efforts under solutions, as well as news articles that pertain to climate change. The main visual on the homepage of the website is a carousel of 5 stories that are relevant in the news. Under this, there is a “cheat sheet” of different statistics relating to climate change, such as global temperature has increased by 1.8 degrees fahrenheit since 1880. You can click on these fact to expand them for further information and visuals. They also have a question/answer portion of the website, which I found to be really helpful. I would reccomend exploring this website if you want to take a deeper dive into climate change! Follow this link: https://climate.nasa.gov/  

The New York Times: Geography

If you are interested in staying up-to-date on all the news concerning geography, visit The New York Times Geography website. This website is a section of The New York Times providing information and news about geography. It is a great way to learn about recent advancements in geography and read about geographical commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. This section of the reliable news sources allows visitors to explore various areas of geography. The articles published on this website engages readers by relating geography to everyday life through interactive maps and connecting one’s community to geography. This website, which is a tool for geographers, is integral to understanding the context in which geography is applicable. To find out more about The New York Times Geography, visit https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/geography.

NOAA Marine Protected Areas Network

Have you ever wanted to learn more about marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United States? Look no further than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) website completely devoted to MPAs.

The about section defines MPA as “a broad term for a park or other protected area that includes some marine or Great Lakes area” and gives information on the classification system used for MPAs that describes MPAs in functional terms using five characteristics common to most MPAs: 1) conservation focus; 2) level of protection; 3) permanence of protection; 4) constancy of protection; and 5) ecological scale of protection. MPAs are important for conservation of oceanic ecosystems and can be found all around the country and world. The website contains numerous informational sections and content for viewers of all ages and levels of knowledge on MPAs. One feature is an interactive MPA Date Viewer that allows visitors to click on any of the 1600 MPAs in US waters  on a map that have been compiled in a database by NOAA’s Marine Protected Areas Center on a map and view information on them.

Example of MPA Data Viewer in use

NOAA also provides an extensive management section, which contains a section on Ocean Use Data with pdf documents on regional ocean use data, which are slightly dated, ranging from 2015 to 2010.  For example, the most recent is the Pacific Regional Ocean Uses Atlas, which was designed to document a full range of human activities and sectors in the ocean to support offshore renewable energy planning in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Pacific region. Along with the pdf document GIS data is also provided. One part of this page I found interesting was their participatory ocean use mapping process, used to gather ocean use data by engaging local and regional ocean experts through interactive mapping. This allows NOAA to more effectively collect data on MPAs while engaging a wide range of people that use these MPAs on a daily basis. Along with this, the website contains numerous informational pdfs on a wide variety of topics and studies involving MPAs. For further reading and an example, the informational pdf “Marine Protected Areas Building Resilience To Climate Change Impacts” can be found here.

Another great section of their website is the Experiencing MPAs section, which is meant for all visitors. The page greets visitors by saying “The best way to understand and enjoy our nation’s diverse MPAs is to visit. But for now, you can dive in from wherever you are to our MPA viewer, multimedia page, blog and more.” The page provides links to the subsections MPA Viewer, Multimedia, Marine Protected Areas Blog, and What Can You Do. The multimedia section contains numerous phots and videos of MPAs as well as podcasts produced by the National Ocean Service. My favorite part of this is Earth Is Blue, a blog where NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries posts a photo each day and a video each week highlighting the wonder and beauty of marine sanctuaries and MPAs and the work they do to protect them.

I have only just barely scratched the surface of all this website has to offer. Be sure to give it a look!

 

 

 

Mapping the Last Mountain Range on Earth

Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists provides a fascinating look into the research and expeditions of scientists in both the Arctic and Antarctic environments. The website consists of dispatches from all kinds of scientists: glaciologists, geologists, cosmologists, and even penguin biologists. The site includes profiles of over 25 scientists that detail their perspectives on various projects being conducted. While the site is somewhat dated (the last entry appears to be from 2010), it is nevertheless an amazing window into the actual research that occurs at the poles and all the fields of study to which the research contributes. A visitor can browse through entries by tag, month and year, or even look at pages for specific projects and big ideas such as ice, climate change, and astronomy in Antarctica. There are also links to webcams in Greenland and the South Pole that show each base and the weather conditions at the station.

One of the entries that caught my attention was the mapping of Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Mountains, which lie hidden underneath the ice in the middle of the continent. The scientists involved in this mission in such an unforgiving environment hoped to find clues to the formation of Antarctica itself and consequently the climate experienced on Earth today. Survey aircraft used RADAR and lasers to see through the thick ice sheet and get a glimpse of the range beneath. Other scientists used seismographic equipment to track the effects of earthquakes around the globe, ultimately hoping to discover the source of the mountains – could it be the collision of tectonic plates, or hot plumes coming from the ocean? Find out on Ice Stories.

Gorillas and Vegetation in Africa’s Oldest National Park

Analyzing the Distribution of Vegetation Zones and Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park

Mountain Gorilla

How are abiotic factors, vegetation zones, human activity, and distribution of mountain gorillas linked?

On National Geographic’s Website (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/analyzing-distribution-vegetation-zones-and-mountain-gorillas-virunga-national-park/), there is an interactive activity in which scientists and geographers analyze Virunga National Park along the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Mitumbar Mountains. It is the oldest national park in Africa. The geography of this park ranges from grasslands and wetlands, to lava plains and natural glaciers, and is home to various species (nat.geo.org/mapmaker-abiotic-factors-virunga). 

The national park was designated in order to protect these mountain gorillas. They are omnivores but usually have plant-based diets. “Poaching, encroaching human populations, and violent conflicts in the area continue to affect mountain gorilla populations” (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/analyzing-distribution-vegetation-zones-and-mountain-gorillas-virunga-national-park/ ). Illegal timber cutting is also becoming a big issue in the area. This is mappable from the site.

This Website shows the change in vegetation and gorilla populations in the National Park as a result of human activity. This relates to physical geography because it connects the lithosphere and biosphere between the national park territory and anthropocentric effects.

With a rise in populations it is more imperative now that people are made aware of the changes this ecosystem is experiencing due to selfish and illegal activity on supposedly-protected lands.

Website; https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/analyzing-distribution-vegetation-zones-and-mountain-gorillas-virunga-national-park/

 

National Geographic Encyclopedic Entries

The National Geographic encyclopedic entries page is a really useful tool for our Physical geography class since it provides various entries on class related concepts like hot spots, El Nino, earth’s crusts, continental drift, etc. It’s really easy to use, you can either enter the topic you are interested in looking for or just scroll down the pages looking for it. Each entry provides a set of images, definitions, animations, videos, background information, related material and even useful sources that connect to other articles about the subject.  There’s even a complete vocabulary tap that expands on explaining each key term’s definition and use. This would be a really useful tool to study for our final exam since you can search in a more interactive way concepts that you feel you need to look up more information about.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/

Storm Prediction Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service’s (NWS) Storm Prediction Center contains numerous maps of the United States that show if any severe weather is present or if there will be any in the future.  Their “Forecast Products” include Current Convective Watches and Outlooks, which show the potential for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms from today to eight days away; Current Mesoscale Discussions, which show all current severe weather; Fire Weather Outlooks, which show the potential for wildfires today and up to eight days away; and the Watch, Warning, and Advisory Display (WWA) which shows all types of WWAs.  All of these maps are easy to understand and allow the user to easily see which type of hazardous weather is in their area.  The user can also read a detailed statement released by the NWS that explains what could happen.

It is pretty impressive that the NWS can predict severe weather up to eight days in advance.  People can use this site to see if any storms are heading their way and how bad they will be.  However, the thing about weather is that it is always changing and the NWS constantly needs to update their maps and descriptions.

NWS Watch, Warning Advisory Display 12/02/17 1:16pm EST

 

 

Interactive MapMaker

Maps are a very useful tool for understanding how geography has played a role in the evolution of the environment. Maps can be very helpful in studying the National Parks of the United States of America.

The Interactive MapMaker is an online platform offered by National Geographic which lets you design, customize and share your own map without having any mapping experience. It allows you to layer your own texts, paths and other media with a variety of pre-designed data layers.  The interactive map also allows you to see the coordinates of any place on Earth and also discover information about countries and territories. The map can be saved and shared with others through email or social media.

All in all, this is a very useful website for people who want to make fully customized maps for instruction or assessment.

http://mapmaker.nationalgeographic.org