USGS - science for a changing world

USGS Education

USGS Education Home Primary Education Secondary Education Undergraduate Education

Exploring Africa's Physical and Cultural Geography Using GIS

Projects for Students

Africa image South Africa map Image Africa image - Egypt

Description:

This project contains 7 activities in physical and cultural geography that cover climate, population density, relief, mining, manufacturing, earthquakes, faults, volcanoes, tsunamis, and fires.  Each activity builds on the data, skills, and concepts learned in the previous activity. Each activity is available with instructions for use with ArcView and ArcGIS.

Most of the data for these exercises came from ArcAtlas: Our Earth, which is a combination of data from NASA, the UN, and other sources. The data and lessons are intended for educational use only; they are not at sufficient resolution or accuracy to be used for research purposes.

GIS Skills Involved:

Adding, displaying, and labeling data layers; manipulating how data is classified (unique values and graduated color); working with symbolization; attribute tables; creating map layouts; and performing spatial queries and theme on theme analysis.

Skill Level:

These lessons were created for GIS beginners, but can be adapted for users at other levels.

Download the Data for Activities 1-3 of the Africa Project in .zip format, 3.7 MB.
Download the Data for Activities 4-7 of the Africa Project in .zip format, 7.7 MB.


Activity 1 – Physical Geography

Goal: In this lesson you will create 4 maps using relief, climate, precipitation, and vegetation data. These maps will be used to answer questions about the characteristics of the physical environment of Africa.

GIS Skills Involved: Adding, displaying, and labeling data layers, and creating maps within a GIS.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 2 – Physical and Human Environment

Goal: In this lesson you will build upon maps created in Activity 1. These maps will help answer questions about the interrelationships of the physical and human environment of Africa by examining relief, precipitation, and population data.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and spatial queries.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 3 – Resources, Human Environment, and Physical Environment

Goal: In this lesson you will build upon maps created in Activity 2. These maps will help answer questions about the interrelationships among resources, the human environment, and the physical environment of Africa.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and the creation of new map layers using attribute data.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 4 – Plate Boundaries, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

Goal: In this lesson you will examine the locations and patterns of plate boundaries, earthquakes, and volcanoes in Africa and the world.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and spatial queries.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 5 – Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Faults in Africa

Goal: In this lesson you will examine the locations of earthquakes and volcanoes in relationship to faults, and the impact on the countries in Africa to gain a better understanding of the human dimension of natural hazards in Africa.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and creating map layouts.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 6 – Tsunami Effects in Africa

Goal: In this lesson you will examine the locations of earthquakes that have caused tsunami effects in Africa and the effects these tsunamis have had on the country.

GIS Skills Involved: Map symbolization and measuring distances on a map.

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Activity 7 – Fires in Africa

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

ArcView version & Answer Key
ArcGIS version & Answer Key


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://education.usgs.gov/lessons/africa/index.html
Page Contact Information: Education Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 06-Mar-2014 18:24:31 EST