Remote Sensing in AP Human Geography: Types of Geographic Data

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Types of Geographic Data [AP Human Geography Review Unit 1 Topic 2]’ by Mr. Sinn

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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How does it work?
Urban sprawl, deforestation, and climate change affect the planet. Remote sensing collects information using satellites and aids geographic analysis in GIS. Farmers optimize crop yield with remote sensing and GIS. GPS assists navigation and guides farmers’ tractors. Geographers gather data through various sources for analysis. Landscape and photo analysis shed light on human impact and cultural insights. Data is qualitative or quantitative, with different characteristics and subjectivity.

Key Insights

  • The planet is changing due to urban sprawl, deforestation, and climate change.
  • Remote sensing allows us to collect information about the world from satellites.
  • Geographic information collected through remote sensing is used in geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze and display data.
  • Farmers can use remote sensing and GIS to optimize crop yield.
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) helps with navigation and is used by farmers to guide their tractors.
  • Geographers can gather data through field observations, media reports, travel narratives, government documents, and personal interviews.
  • Landscape analysis helps understand the impact of humans on an area.
  • Photo analysis provides insights into culture, demographics, and other aspects of a place.
  • Data can be categorized into qualitative (observational) and quantitative (numerical) data.

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It isn’t hard to see that our planet is changing. Urban areas continue to grow through urban sprawl. Changes in agriculture have led to deforestation, such as in Bolivia, where the Amazon rainforest is being converted into soybean farms and villages. And changes in our climate have led to ice caps to melt, reshaping landscapes around the world.

We can see these changes thanks to remote sensing, a process of collecting information about the world from satellites. Geographic information collected through remote sensing will often be used in a geographic information system, which is a computer system that can analyze, collect, and display geographic data. A GIS can create layered maps, which can give insight into spatial associations, show patterns or trends of a place, and can also provide individuals, governments, and other organizations insight into different geographic data.

For example, farmers today can use remote sensing and GIS to better understand what parts of their field need more water, pesticide, or attention, which can help increase their crop yield. Individuals also use satellites to help with navigation. Today we use GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, to help navigate between different places. Something that I know I would be completely lost without. Even farmers are starting to use GPS to use longitude and latitude to guide their tractors, to make sure that they can optimize where they plant their crops, or where they apply fertilizer and pesticides. All of this increases their yield.

These different geospatial technologies allow people, organizations, and governments to locate places and visualize geographic data in ways that can benefit society. Now it’s not just geospatial technologies that can collect geographic data.

Geographers can visit a place and record firsthand observations. These observations are known as field observations, since it’s data that’s being gathered in the real world. Firsthand accounts are excellent for gathering accurate and detailed data, but sometimes they might not be feasible due to costs or practicality. If it’s not practical to gather field observations, or even possible, geographers can look at media reports, travel narratives, government documents, and conduct personal interviews, all of which can help geographers collect geographic data without having to physically be at a place.

Media reports, such as online articles, newspapers, or local news stations, show what is happening in an area and give insight into what the people of an area are experiencing, feeling, and can also even help geographers learn more about other information that’s related to a specific place.

Travel narratives show geographers what people think of a place, what they observed and experienced while visiting or living in an area. Travel narratives can often show a more unfiltered perspective of a place and can reveal what everyday people experienced while visiting a place.

Government documents show geographers how land is being used, what cultural values are being promoted, what systems are in place, what’s happening now, and what will happen in a place. For example, countries around the world are seeing decreasing birth rates as their natural growth rate starts to slow. In response, governments have started to try and change this trend by passing new incentives to motivate their citizens to have more children. Here we can see government policy shifting to account for changes in their country’s demographic.

Personal interviews can be conducted in person or online. Here geographers can gain valuable insight into a place by talking with individuals who live in the place or individuals who maybe have visited or have specific qualifications or expertise about a particular topic.

Geographers can also use landscape analysis to better understand the impact humans have had on an area. By studying the wildlife, vegetation, geography, and other physical elements of a place, geographers can start to see how different places are impacted not only by the people who live there but by other places as well. For example, if we use remote sensing we can see how the landscape of Las Vegas has changed over the years as more people continue to not only visit Las Vegas but also move there. This has led to new hotels, homes, stores, and other buildings to be built and urban sprawl to occur.

Lastly, geographers could use photo analysis where geographers analyze photos to better understand the type of culture, demographics, population density, and what’s happening in a place. For example, if we look at this photo we can see right away large walls that stretch along the city’s landscape. This indicates division or conflict in the area. This need for separation could indicate conflict between different groups of people or perhaps border disputes between different states. We can also see a golden dome which is the Dome of the Rock. This is a religious building for Islam. This gives us insight into the religious practices happening at this place. And speaking of the buildings, we can also observe that the roofs are flat which tells us this image is of a place that’s in a region that’s hotter and probably remains warm throughout the year. All these different insights we can gather from simply looking at a photograph.

So we can see that data can be collected and analyzed in a variety of different ways. Now regardless of how the data is collected, we can generally categorize the data into two different categories. Qualitative data and quantitative data. Qualitative data is observations, interviews, and individuals’ thoughts. This information is often up for debate and discussion. It’s hard to replicate since the information will often change depending on when it is collected and who collects it. For example, the presidential approval rating gives geographers insight into how citizens of the United States of America view their president as we can see here with President Bush’s approval rating. Quantitative data is used to better understand specific details about a place. This information is not up for debate and is often in number form. Information such as how many people are in each age cohort in Japan or the religious breakdown of the United States would be examples of quantitative data. Notice here that they’re not opinions, they are numbers and facts.

So there you have it, another topic review video down. Now comes the time to practice. Answer the questions on the screen and when you are ready to check your answers, go down to the comments section down below. Also, if you are finding value in these videos and want to see more, make sure you hit that subscribe button. It lets me know that you want more videos and help support the channel. And if you need more help with your AP Human Geography class, make sure to check out my Ultimate Review Packet. It’s a great resource that will help you get an A in your class and a five on the national exam. As always, I’m Mr. Sin, thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time online.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Types of Geographic Data [AP Human Geography Review Unit 1 Topic 2]’ by Mr. Sinn