Geospatial Technology

By Reed, Philip A.; Ritz, John | The Technology Teacher, March 2004 | Go to article overview

Geospatial Technology


Reed, Philip A., Ritz, John, The Technology Teacher


Geospatial technology refers to a system that is used to acquire, store, analyze, and output data in two or three dimensions. This data is referenced to the earth by some type of coordinate system, such as a map projection. Geospatial systems include thematic mapping, the Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing (RS), telemetry, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (USGS, 2000).

Each of the above subsystems are elaborate fields unto themselves; however, researchers are linking them together to better understand the world in which we live. Learning about these systems will help students to address an important component of technological literacy. Primarily, students will develop the abilities to assess the impact of products and systems (ITEA, 2000).

Thematic Mapping

The science of mapmaking, cartography, has been around for centuries, and no one is sure of its true beginnings. Cave drawings have been found that highlight hunting and other food sources, but other types of maps disappeared for various reasons. The main issue was the lack of a quality, long-lasting medium on which to draw maps. A second reason was the advance in mapmaking practice. As newer maps became more accurate, older maps were discarded.

The modern era of mapping began when explorers were able to navigate the globe on a regular basis during the 1500s. This allowed for a steady progression in methods and accuracy. In the 1800s, the first aerial photographs were taken from balloons, and the period of thematic mapping began.

Thematic mapping utilizes cartography, aerial photography, satellite imaging, and the plotting of data (e.g., vegetation, species, or static points) to interpret an area under investigation (USGS, 2000). Researchers are able to identify many objects by looking at physical characteristics such as color, density, or even how an object gives off or retains heat. Figure 1 shows a satellite image that could be utilized to research many variables.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The data that are gathered in thematic mapping are stored in a quantitative fashion. This allows maps to be actively linked to databases, thus giving researchers a variety of ways to analyze the data. They can select a region from the map to pull up data or they can perform searches through the database. New maps and datasets can quickly be generated and analyzed. Analysis is often only limited by the creativity of the researcher.

Global Positioning System

The Global Positioning System (GPS) was developed by the United States Department of Defense for military applications in 1978, but in the 1980s it was opened for civilian use. GPS contains a space segment (satellites), a control segment (ground stations), and a user segment (anyone with a GPS receiver) (Garmin International, 2000).

The space segment consists of 24 satellites--21 active and 3 spares. The satellites are in six different orbital planes approximately 12,000 miles above the earth. This spread allows each satellite to cover a large area. A user must receive signals from four satellites for accurate locations in three dimensions (latitude, longitude, and altitude).

The GPS ground stations measure signals from the satellites and create orbital models for each satellite. The models compute precise orbital data (ephemeris) and clock corrections for each satellite. The Master Control Station at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado uploads ephemeris and clock data to the satellites. The satellites then send subsets of the orbital ephemeris data to GPS receivers over radio signals.

The user segment of GPS has gained widespread notoriety from many outdoor sports. Golfers, fishermen, hunters, hikers, and other sports enthusiasts have widely embraced the accurate locations supplied by GPS. However, GPS also offers many significant advantages to the field of geospatial technology.

GPS is one of the primary geospatial tools for gathering and analyzing data. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Geospatial Technology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.