Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Visualising and modelling population change

 Image above: The Demographic Transition Model (DMT)

Related links to Spatialworlds 
Geogaction
Spatialworlds website
GeogSpace

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
manning@chariot.net.au   


Population change as time goes by

Populations, including the demographic variables of total number of people, age breakdown, sex ratios, birth rates, death rates and rate of growth are not static but change over time as the conditions in a country change for the better or worse. In most countries, such change involves development and the associated improvements in health and social conditions as a result of industrialisation and economic improvements in a country. The following sites attempt to explain the modelling and subsequent visualising of such changes over time via the DemographicTransition Model (DMT). The DMT is a model that describes a predicted and in most cases expected population change over time. It is based on an interpretation begun in 1929 by the American demographer Warren Thompson, of the observed changes, or transitions, in birth and death rates in industrialized societies over the past two hundred years or so. Although not perfect and as always there ar exceptions to the model (rule), the DMT over the years has been frequently used by demographers as a visualisation of the way population changes over time as  a result of economic development. In fact, the task for students to find those exceptions to the model is quite a valid and creative way to use the model to understand the demography of population change. For example, an exception to model is when a country is still developing and have a religious imperative for keeping birth rates high OR they have a national crisis such as war or disease that is keeping life expectancy low. A few examples are conflicts in Afghanistan or the AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.




* Video explaining the demographic transition model

* Videos explaining the impact of development on a countries population and the Demographic Transition Model (DTM)
http://wn.com/demographic_transition_theory
http://wn.com/demographic_transition_theory

* A detailed look at the stages of the DMT

* A good summary of the DMTstages

* A summary video of DMT

* Worth looking at the Age-Sex Pyramid animation showing the movement through the stages of  the DMT (from youthful population to the ageing population).

 * Youthful and Ageing populations

* Youthful population video

* Ageing population video

* More animations to aid understanding (simple, a little annoying but useful)

* How many people?

Popthink: great population resources



Image above: Short video from Hans Rosling called 'Don't panic, The truth about population.

Related links to Spatialworlds 
Geogaction
Spatialworlds website
GeogSpace

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
manning@chariot.net.au    

Where am I??  

Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'


Don’t panic: The truth about population by Hans Rosling

For many of us into spatial and visual literacy, the name Hans Rosling resonates as the epitome of creativity, innovation and fascination when talking about all things population.

Hans Rosling (born 27 July 1948) is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. He is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation which has previously been profiled on Spatialworlds. 

Gapminder is used in classes around the world (and as a critical resource with the AC:Geography GeogSpace resource) as an interactive graphic over time application to visualise population & development data. Hans is a bit of a Geography legend and influences politicians, teachers and students all around the world. Check out his Twitter feed to see the sorts of things that he tweets about on a normal day in 'Hans World'.


The ‘Geography for 2014 and beyond’ site uses Hans Rosling’s Don’t panic: The truth about population’ resource  to develop classroom applications and fascinating pieces of student centered work for some great demographic thinking.  More about this useful teaching  site in another posting.

Harvesting world data

Whilst on about population, these two sites are useful to gather some up to date data on development indicators for some GIS mapping (just add the new field to a spatially referenced database of all the countries of the world).



* Index Mundi: An excellent site with up-to-date statistics on all countries

**** For an excellent summary of a country demographics just replace the country name in this URL.http://www.indexmundi.com/angola/demographics_profile.html   This is the data for Angola

* Currrent international GDP per capita data


These two sites are interesting examples of visualisations of data.

* A visualisation software called Manyeyes.



* A spatial visualisation of London growing over 2000 years
Researchers at UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis collated vast datasets to map the capital's transformation from first-century Londinium to modern megacity.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Linking Geography with English


Image above: The Global words site. The fifteen units of work in Global Words have been produced by World Vision Australia and the Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) to integrate the teaching and learning of English and Geography with global citizenship education

Related links to Spatialworlds 
Geogaction
Spatialworlds website
GeogSpace

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
manning@chariot.net.au    

Where am I??  

Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'


The English-Geography link

Several Spatialworlds postings have focussed on the quite obvious link between Geography and History. This posting highlights the synergy between the learning area of English and Geography. In 2010, the Primary English Teachers Association Australia (PETAA) have helped along this link by producing a resource called Global Words with World Vision Australia. This excellent resource facilitates the teaching of geography though English.


Global education topics in Global Words units of work are approached through a range of texts and texts types. Topics are covered across the three educational levels of junior Primary, upper Primary and junior Secondary include:
  • Refugees and migration
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Neighbours and the Asia Pacific region
  • Sustainability
Recently PETAA and World Vision have updated the resource by releasing an additional three units of work which integrate the teaching and learning of English and Geography with global citizenship education. 

* We are similar but different - Year 3

* A diverse and connected world – Year 6

* Water in the world – year 7

 

As is said on the site:

"At the centre of both global citizenship education and the study of English is the aim of supporting students to become ethical, thoughtful and informed citizens, predisposed to take action for change. The Global Words units, and the supporting resources, aim to build the essential knowledge, skills and values young people need to participate actively, critically and creatively as global citizens."

PETAA is also running free professional learning sessions in Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Darwin and Melbourne over the next three months.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thinking about Place




Image above: Driving through the streets of a place known as McDowell County, West Virginia. 

Related links to Spatialworlds 
Geogaction
Spatialworlds website
GeogSpace

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
manning@chariot.net.au    

Where am I??  

Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'


More than just a location


* A place in West Virginia
This video from Seth Dixon's Scoop.it perfectly exemplifies some key geographic ideas; sense of place, regional economic decline, migration and resource extraction.  This video would be great to show students and then get them to analyse the geographic context that creates a place like McDowell County, West Virginia.  This is a great addition Seth's Place-Based Geography Videos StoryMap.  

"McDowell County, situated in the coalfields of West Virginia, has experienced a great boom-and-bust since 1950. But despite the economic decline and population loss, many still call it home and feel a great sense of purpose among the mountains. Residents speak about their connection to this place and the meaning of home."

Hear more stories at hollowdocumentary.com "

* Living in a place under a rock

*A town pops up


* Place based geography videos from Seth Dixon

* The power of place video series



* Dead places
Some fascinating pictures of ghost towns, deceased places! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Data junkies


Image above Tempting fate with extreme adventures in amazing landscapes.

Related links to Spatialworlds 
Geogaction
Spatialworlds website
GeogSpace

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
manning@chariot.net.au    

Where am I??  
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

 
Accessing some interesting data

After learning how to use GIS, the next challenge is to find user friendly data to import. For the data junky this is the food for GIS!  However, as with anything desired, it is not always smooth sailing. There is an enormous amount of free data on the Internet but teachers often find that the data is:
  • in a different projection to the base maps they have been using
  • not in the file format they require i.e. MapInfo .tab format instead of the ESRI .shp format
  • difficult to download
  • not the local data they require
  • the same old data that is easy to access ie.generic world data
  • old data
  • US focussed (the greatest producer of spatial data)
  • poor quality data with data missing (has been deleted because of cost or confidentiality).
Needless to say, the access to data can be problematic for the novice (and experienced). 
Despite these concerns, the access to free data is easier than ever. Just check out the following sites to view the free data available in Shapefile format. The shapefile (or ESRI shapefile) format is a geospatial vector format and one of the most common (if not the most common) map format around the world.

* Free Shapefiles from Stat Silk 
On this site there are thousands of shapefile maps from a range of websites, including country shapefiles, shapefiles at province or state level, and other administrative boundaries maps. The shapefile (or ESRI shapefile) format is a geospatial vector format and one of the most common (if not the most common) map format.

* MapCruzin free Shapefiles 

* A listing of sites offering free Shapefile data
  
* Free GIS data in geography topic areas

* Free South Australian spatial data: In September 2013, the SA Premier announced a Declaration of Open Data to make government data available for use by business and the community. As a result, free spatial data in South Australia is coming on-line on a daily basis. This DATA SA site has some great data sets as Shapefiles and Google Earth KML files.  Just go to http://www.data.sa.gov.au and search for 'spatial' using the 'Search Box' to view the spatial data sets. If you are after the ever elusive crime data, just enter 'crime' in the search box (the crime data needs to be joined to another data set which is a bit of a pain but achievable with a bit of work). 


With such great data available and free GIS software, such a QGIS now available, nothing should be able to stop us using GIS in the classroom - or just by ourselves for geographical fun.