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Exploring Africa's Physical and Cultural Geography Using ArcGIS

Activity 7: Fires in Africa

Instructions for Students

Goal: In this lesson you will examine the locations of fires in Africa and their impact on land use and populations.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and creating map layouts. 

Materials: To complete this lesson you will need ArcGIS software and the Africa Lesson data (Download the Data for Activities 4-7).

Image showing locations of fires in Africa

Step 1. Let's make a map in ArcGIS showing fires in Africa. Open ArcGIS and start with a new empty map.

Step 2. Using the Add Data tool Add Data tool icon, add the following shapefiles: country.shp, popden.shp, landuse.shp, and firept.shp.

Step 3. Now let’s rename the layers. Right-click on the layer name, select "Properties" and click on the "General" tab. You can enter the new name in the box next to "Layer Name".

Step 4. Display the Population Density layer as a Graduated Color. Double-click on the layer to bring up the Layer Properties. Click on the Symbology tab and click "Quantities —> Graduated Color". Select "Density" for the Value Field and click "Apply".

Image of Population Density layer window

Step 5. Display the Landcover as a Unique Value. Double-click on the Landcover layer to bring up the Layer Properties. Click on the Symbology tab and click "Categories —> Unique Values". Select "Zone" as the Values Field and click "Add All Values". Click "Apply".

Step 6. Next, make the Countries layer transparent and the Fire symbols red. Open the Layer Properties or click on the symbol to open the "Symbol Selector" for Countries and choose "Hollow". For the Fire layer, change color to red.

Step 7. Arrange the layers in your view window in the following order – Fire, Countries, Landcover, and Population Densities.

A) Where are most of the fires located in Africa?

 

B) What type of land cover are most of the fires in Africa associated with?

 

C) Are most of the fires in Africa located in densely populated areas?

 

Step 8. Create and Print 2 layouts (View —>Layout View)

Save your project and exit ArcGIS.

*** End of Africa Activity 7 for ArcGIS ***

 

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