Carefully and clearly outline map of the region on a blank

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Reference no: EM131056090

Assignment: Annotated Map

Geography of North America


This assignment is designed to help you demonstrate the ability to gather and critically evaluate information related to the second Core Learning Outcome for this course, which states that you should be able to: Identify North American countries and major physiographic features by name and map location.


On a blank outline map of the region, carefully and clearly label 20 of the physical features found within North America that you have selected based on reading Chapter 2 or from additional sources. In addition, for at least 10 of these features, you must also include a brief annotation-i.e., 1-2 detail-rich sentences-that gives an example of how the feature has made (or continues to make) a significant impact on some aspect of the human/cultural geography of the region.

Ideally, the features will be of a variety of scales and types-i.e., do NOT just simply use all of the major topographic features (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, etc.). Rather, you should try to demonstrate that you have invested some time and thought into thinking critically about which features to include. You are welcome, and encouraged, to include a few very specific physical features, such as Devil's Tower or the "Tooth of Time."

The preferred method for completing this assignment is for you to use an internet search engine to find a copy a blank map of North America (i.e., one that only shows the boundaries of the states and provinces at most) and then copy and paste that image onto PowerPoint slide and label the features you select in your map in that software (Note: Word or a graphics program such as Paint may also be used, if you prefer). If you do not feel technologically savvy enough to do that, you may simply print a hard copy (i.e., paper) map and use colored pencils, etc., to identify each of the physical features you have selected. In either case, it is expected that you will use colors and/or symbols to represent certain types of features (e.g., blue for lakes & rivers, brown triangles for mountain ranges, etc.).

Your map must also contain a title, legend (i.e., set of boxes indicating colors or symbols used on the map), and list of sources used (this should be at the bottom of the map). Blank outline maps may be obtained from the Internet or other print sources, provided that they are acceptable to the instructor. NOTE: If you opt to construct a hard copy map, you may wish to copy the map onto an 11"x17" paper in order to provide more room for writing.

Maps will be evaluated on the basis of completeness, accuracy, and neatness. (Note: While you are not expected to be an expert cartographer, you are expected to demonstrate professionalism in your efforts, as well as an effort to carefully understanding of the location and extent of the features being mapped through the attention to detail that is illustrated in your work.)

Submit your assignment by uploading it to the "Assignment 1" page in the course website. This assignment is due by class time on the date indicated on the syllabus.

What is an "Annotated Map"?

An annotated map is essentially a map showing the location of various selected features (political units, cities, rivers, bodies of water, mountains, etc.) but that also includes statements explaining the significance of some of these features. Click on the following link to see an example of an annotated reference map of Ireland that was made by the U.S. National Geographic Society:

[Note that you can click on the map at the above website and zoom in on it to read examples of the annotations that appear in blue text scattered across the map (often around the edges and with arrows pointing to the specific feature).]

For this assignment, you are being asked to construct just such a map for North America. Again, the purpose of this assignment is to ensure that you can demonstrate knowledge associated with CLO #2, as well as the ability to apply basic geographic skills and knowledge.

Steps for Creating an Annotated Map:

1) All good cartographers (i.e., mapmakers) know that before you actually start making a map, the first step is to do research about the information you are going to map. Basically, this means that you need to decide which features you would like to include and find the material you will use for your annotations. For this assignment, you must label on the map at least 20 physical features of your choice. You may include rivers, lakes, mountains, hills, plains, or any other type of physical feature that you would like to identify. Please try to be creative in your selection of additional features. For example, try to chose a variety of different types of physical features, as well as several from different scales (e.g., instead of choosing the entire Rocky Mountain range, you could select a particular range within it (such as the Sangre de Cristo range) or even a single mountain peak (such as Pike's Peak). Take some time to learn a little about the feature before you select it. You will need to provide a one sentence annotation for each of features that you included, so be sure to take notes and keep track of your source information.

2) After having learned about the material you want to include, the next step is to find a base map of the region. Simply doing an Internet search for images using the keywords "blank," "outline," "map," and "North America," will return many different results. You are welcome to choose the version that you think is most appropriate, however, it is required that the map truly be blank! In other words, it should have nothing more on it than the outline of the North American land area, the boundaries of the independent political states (i.e., countries), and perhaps unlabeled rivers or lakes.

Now, copy and paste the blank map image into a PowerPoint or Word document. Honestly, PowerPoint provides much greater flexibility for layout work than Word, so even if you are not that familiar with it, you are encouraged to try it first. Also, if you happen to be familiar with more specialized software, such as Paint or even ArcMap, you are welcome to use it if you would like--just be sure to turn in a version of your file in a common exchange format (such as JPEG).

3) Next, carefully and clearly label all of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces in addition to the 20 physical features that you have selected. You can do this in PowerPoint or Word by simply inserting textboxes and placing them over the feature you would like to label. For each of the additional features that you include, you should also insert symbols, shapes, colors, etc., to indicate, as best you can, the extent of each of the physical features identified. It is recommended that you choose a certain symbol or color to represent each different type of feature (e.g., blue for lakes & rivers, brown triangles for mountain ranges, etc.).

4) Now you are ready to insert your annotations for at least 10 of the features you chose to include. Again, you can do this by inserting textboxes. Each annotation should be a full, detail-rich sentence (or possibly two) that highlights the significance of the feature from a geographic perspective. Specifically, this means that each annotation should indicate how the feature has had (or still currently has) a significant influence on the human/cultural geography of the region. For example, the geographical significance of a physical feature is NOT that it is technically "the longest," (etc.), but because it serves as a major transportation corridor (i.e., it facilitates the movement) of goods, people, etc., from one area to many other areas. Feel free to use your textbook as a source of ideas and information, but you should also search for more information about the features on the Internet, etc.

5) Finally, your map should also contain a title, legend (i.e., set of boxes indicating colors or symbols used on the map), and list of sources used (this should be at the bottom of the map). Blank outline maps may be obtained from the Internet or other print sources, provided that they are acceptable to the instructor.

Reference no: EM131056090

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