by Patrice St. Peter
After this lesson, students will be able to:
(Numbers below correspond to the Minnesota State Learner Outcome List in geography.)
2. Identify and define conventional map symbols.
9. Read and understand the symbols used on thematic maps (e.g., find the height of the
ground from a layer-tinted map; interpret simple relief maps; read heights and identify
slopes, hilltops and valley floors).
14. Describe a distribution shown on a map in terms of density, directional alignment,
spatial concentration, gradients and pattern.
15. Interpret pictorial, shaded-area, proportional-symbol, isoline, choropleth,
flow-line maps and cartograms.
20. Explain some of the factors that influence the choice of projections for particular
mapping tasks (e.g., equal-area for population distribution).
21. List some major sources of geographic data and briefly describe their
characteristics (e.g., aerial photographs, satellite images, field surveys,
topographic maps, census records, statistical abstracts, almanacs, questionnaires).
22. Identify the major kinds of symbols used by cartographers and describe the kinds
of data these symbols are usually used to depict (e.g., pictorial symbols, graduated
circles and other proportional shapes, dots and other repetitive symbols, nominal
lines, flow lines, shaded areas, and choropleth shading).
23. Explain some ways in which a cartographer can transform data to make it more
useful for a particular purpose (e.g., calculating percentages of a total, densities
per unit of area, values per capita, or other ratios of several kinds of information).
24. Describe key aspects of the human visual system and show how some kinds of
optical illusion can affect the way people see maps (e.g., red colors for emphasis,
upper-left focus for important ideas, weak grays to minimize clutter in background
25. Identify some ways in which a cartographer may intentionally or accidentally
mislead a map reader (e.g., colors that a significant fraction of the population cannot
discriminate, projections or symbols that distort in order to persuade).
26. Outline the basic components of graphic communication.
28. Classify geographic data into categories for further analysis or graphic display.
This involves selecting criteria for classification and then applying those criteria to
put individual observations into appropriate groups.
30. Select appropriate charting or graphing techniques for the display of information
about a place [e.g., a) Pie or bar charts to show proportions of various features in a
place; b) line or bar graphs to show trends through time in a place; c) bar graphs to
show comparisons of several places; d) line graphs to show differences from one place
to another; e) scatter diagrams to show relationships among features in a place; and f)
graphical analyses to identify exceptions to rules about places].
37. Create a well-designed map layout that includes the title, scale, orientation,
and relative location in the surrounding area (e.g., city, state, country, or globe).
Time Needed: 1-2 class periods
Overview: This lesson contains the evaluation for the GeoNet unit. This is the last lesson
in a four lesson unit that, when used together, comprise a several day unit
Objectives: Students will be able to:
1. Apply sound principles of map design to produce a choropleth (shaded area) map.
2. Demonstrate working knowledge of the computer paint/draw application used to
produce a computer generated map.
GeoNet Base Map Master saved as a pict file
GeoNet Glossary (below; one per student)
GeoNet post-test (see Extra Resources)
Area Data-information for an area/space on a map shown with a shaded/fill pattern
over the area/space
Base Map-an outline map used as the foundation/framework for a final copy/map
Cartography-the art and science of gathering data and mapping it
Choropleth Map-a shaded area thematic map usually based on cooked area data
Classification Scheme-a set of categories and symbolization that represent the data
on a map
Cooked Data-information in numerical form that has been mathematically changed to
cope or compensate with area differences on a map (e.g., percentage, ratio, rate)
Data-numbers (information) collected about a certain topic
Data Set-numbers (information) collected about a certain topic for a set of places
(e.g., states, counties)
Data Transformation-changing raw data from just a number to cooked data such as a
percentage, ratio, rate, etc.
Gradients/Gradations-different levels of intensities in spatial data shown with
different colors, sizes of symbols, thicknesses of lines, etc. on a map
Histogram-the distrubution or range of data on a number line
Legend-the key to the map, a listing of symbols, colors, patterns, categories, etc. used
to represent the data on a map
Line Data-information for a route, connection, path, etc. shown by a line (and
variations of lines) on a map
Neatline-a borerline around the map, a line that frames or borders a map
Noise-unnecessary information or cluttered information on a map that causes
confusion for the map reader
Point Data-information for a specific place, shown by a dot, triangle, square, etc. on a
Raw Data-information in numerical form (e.g., number of farms, number of doctors)
Scale-the graphic representation showing distance on a map
Source-an identification of where the data for the map was obtained or collected,
including for what year or time period
Thematic Map-a map which shows the spatial distribution of one topic/theme/main
Title-the name/main idea/theme of a map
TODALS-the quick reference tool which lets you check your finished map for:
1. Glossary should be dublicated and distributed to students.
2. Copies of the GeoNet Base Map master should be loaded on each computer to be used
by the students.
3. Be sure you are familar with the working of your school's paint/draw programs. It
would be best for the teachers to make a map before having the students try.
1. Before beginning the map making activites, go over the glossary with the students
so they have an understanding of the terms and ideas used in map making.
2. Open the BASE MAP which should be loaded on each system as a PICT file. Our
basemap is a SuperPaint file so that it opens the application at the same time. Talk
with your computer lab specialist for procedures in your lab. The base map may be
opened with any draw/paint program.
3. Students carefully select the FILL patterns for each of their categories. This
procedure should be demonstrated if possible. Remind students to be careful about
selecting a pattern or color that can dissolve the state borders. This will result in a
particularly bad map. The map-maker cannot assume the map-reader knows where the
state borders are.
4. Students should put a title, author line, source note with year if possible, and
label the categories in the legend.
5. Remind students to save as they work and save before they print!!
6. Print the map. Students may be surprised that the map does not print exactly like
it looks on the screen. This is a problem for cartographers, especially ones who use
color. They must be experts on the color wheel so that they know just exactly what
shades of color will look good and print well when downloaded. ALL GeoNet maps to
date are black/white versions. If you have access to a color printer, you may want to
have some students work on color versions.
7. Copy all finished maps to a master disk. To submit maps to GeoNet for the
electronic Internet atlas, please submit the maps on disk. Your disk will be returned
to you. To submit maps electronically, please call the Minnesota Alliance for
Geographic Education 612/696-6731 for directions. The Alliance also maintains a
home page on the World Wide Web (http://www.district.moundsview.K12.MN.US).
1. In addition to your critque of the maps to be sure the patterns follow a logical
order, contains TODALS and is neatly drawn.
2. You may wish to give the GeoNet post-test (see Extra Resources) to see what else
the students have learned by making maps.