A Closer Look at MAPS!

To see Global Grade 3's original post, click the link below

A Closer Look at MAPS!

Hello Global Grade 3,

I'll start by repeating the wonderful quote from Henry Miller at the beginning of you post...

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. 

~Henry Miller

I saw your post entitled "The Power of Observation and Wonder" and found it very interesting to read. I was going to write a reply because, as the previous Global Grade 3 class knows, I am interested in many things including stones but I have been very busy filming and making DVDs for schools. However, your "A Closer Look at MAPS!" post again caught my attention so I thought I'd write a short post about maps.

I have seen many types of maps including the types you have studied. Perhaps my favourite modern maps are the types I used as a Scout. I would say, "Give me a good map and a compass and I can usually find my way around."

I have scanned an old topographical map I used in the 1970s. It was measured in miles and feet but we were changing over to kilometres and metres around then. Have a look at the map. Click on it to see it larger...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

The map has a great deal of information. I can see red lines showing roads. Some roads are shown as white with red dashes to show they are dirt roads. There are thick black lines with small, double dashes along them to show a railway line. Blues lines show rivers and creeks. We can easily see Blackheath is a town but there are large areas without streets and those areas interest me as I have explored those areas.

Can you see the brown wriggly lines on the map?

The brown lines are contour lines. They show heights. Each line shows a height of 50 feet more or less than the next. Some of the lines have numbers such as 3200.  The 3200 tells me at that place the land is 3200 feet above sea level. Looking at the numbers and the lines can tell me if I will be going up or down when hiking. Let's look closer at a section of the map...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

I have added the red numbers to help students find specific points.

See the black, single dashed lines?

They are walking tracks I have followed. I have walked down from number 1 to 3 and up from 3 to 2.

1 - The beginning of the track is about 3250 feet above sea level.

2 - The end of the dirt road is about 3200 feet above sea level

3 - Beachamp Falls is about 2650 feet above sea level.

The map shows me if I walk down from 1 to 3, I will drop 600 feet. If I then walk up to 2, I will go up 550 feet. Because the brown lines are close together, I know the track will be steep in places.

Do you notice one section is named Grand Canyon?

It's not even close to the size of the Grand Canyon in U.S.A. but it is steep sided.

Let's look at some photos I had taken around 1980 in the Grand Canyon and at Beauchamp Falls.

Starting down the steep track from 1.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We pass through a small tunnel and behind waterfalls.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Deep down in the Grand Canyon.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Until we reach Beauchamp Falls at 3.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

And now for two photos for your "The Power of Observation and Wonder" post. The photos show rocks that caught my eye but were left in place. They were in a national park so we are not allowed to take them. They were also far too big to carry.

The first shows a large sandstone rock.

Can you see the black mark?

It is the remains of a tree trunk buried under sand millions of years ago but now exposed after a rock fall. It is a fossil record of the tree.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The second shows an even larger sandstone rock.

Do you notice the ripples on it?

Millions of years ago sand was rippled by flowing water. A thin layer of mud covered the ripples and in time left a fossil record of water running over sand.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What is even more amazing is this sandstone was sand under the sea millions of years ago but it is now lying 2650 feet above sea level. These rocks of sandstone certainly caught my eye and the eyes of the children I had taken there as we thought of their long history.

When we then walk the 550 feet in height (but much longer along  track) back up to 2, this is what we see when looking north.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

...and now your interesting questions...

How long does it take to study a place and then make the map?

For early map makers, they might have to walk, ride or travel by ship in order to make maps so it could take a long time to make a map.

Back in August 1768, Captain James Cook set sail from England. He was taking scientists to Tahiti to observe Venus crossing the Sun. Once the scentists had finished their observations, Cook's orders were to sail south to find Terra Australis Incognita, the unknown southern land, some people thought must exist.

In September, 1769 he reached New Zealand and set about mapping its islands.

In April 1770, he reached a land he named New South Wales. It was really the east coast of Australia. He sailed north along the coast mapping as he went. Cook and his ship didn't return to England until 12th July, 1771. It had taken him and his crew three years to make the journey and return with the maps he had made.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Today, with satellites, GPS and Google Earth, we can map the world from our own homes.

How many different kinds of maps are there?

Interesting question and makes me wonder what a map might be. We know most types but is a plan for a house a map? Is a design for a new machine a map? They also show where things are.

Are there maps about SPACE?

Now this is complicated. In your post , you noticed the maps you saw were two dimensional flat maps. In order to find a place on a map, you needed to know how far up or down and side to side a place is.

To accurately map space, we would need a three dimensional map and it would have to be huge because space is huge. Using computer models, there are space maps. Here is a link to a 3D space map animation representing 400,000 galaxies. Remember our Sun is just one star amongst possibly hundreds of billions in just one of those galaxies.

Amazing Universe Fly-Through

How do pilots use maps?

Have a look at this aviator's map. It's how a pilot might plot a course using information on their computer.

SkyVector Areonautical Maps

Of course, pilots in early days didn't have computers. They would look down to the ground and possibly follow roads or railways to their destination or they might use a compass so an old fashioned paper might might have helped.

Do we have maps for EVERYTHING?

WOW! Maps of everything? Even on our own Earth there are places no one has ever been so, for example, there are no accurate maps for some of the deepest places in our oceans. What about other planets, stars, galaxies? We may not have maps for everything but we do have maps of very many things but there is still so much more waiting for someone like you to map.

What jobs need maps?

Cartographers (map makers), pilots, sailors, explorers, delivery drivers, police, ambulance, fire fighters, tow truck drivers...   There would be so many jobs where we might need maps at some time.

How old is the OLDEST map?

A link if you want to see old maps....   Early World Maps

Look at these three maps...

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

The first shows the world as known by the Greeks perhaps 3000 years ago. It shows the Mediterranean Sea.

The 500 BC map from around 2500 years ago shows the Red Sea and the opening into the Atlantic Ocean.

By 150 AD Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia has appeared on the maps. Notice Terra Incognita at the bottom right of the map. It's what Captain Cook was sent to find or show wasn't there.

How many countries are there in the world?

Interesting... The United Nations has 193 countries as members. My blog has had visits from 193 countries and I have seen 196 listed as the number of independent countries in the world. Here is a link for you...

The Number of Countries in the World

Do maps ever change? (This one brought up some VERY interesting conversations around Bombay, Calgary, Nunavut and the NEW islands that VOLCANOES create!!!)

Maps have to change when what has been mapped changes.

Yes, volcanoes can create new islands.

1996 Hawaii Lava flow 01

You know about the big island of Hawaii. Did you know deep under the ocean around 30 kilometres south of The Big Ilsand there is a new volcano rising around 10,000 feet from the ocean floor with only about 3100 feet before it reaches the surface? If in the future it does break the surface, Hawaii will have a new Island.

The islands of Hawaii were formed in this way and will eventually erode into the ocean as many have already done over millions of years. Look at the Google Earth image below. The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle at the bottom. Look carefully and you can seen now submerged volcanoes moving off to the left  as you go north. They may once have been islands as is Hawaii.

Volcanic hotspots

When we have changes in the level of the sea, land also changes. In times of ice ages, sea levels can be much lower and expose more land. When the first people came to Australia around 30,000 years ago, they were able to walk from New Guinea into Australia and cross to Tasmania by land. Now you would need boats.

The opposite happens when sea levels rise. Some islands in our oceans are now underwater but were once above. It worries island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Another country I find interesting is the Netherlands (Holland). Over generations, they have taken back land from the sea using dykes and sea walls. In the news recently there have been stories of islands being built by the Chinese government in the South China Sea.

And in your own part of the world, when new suburbs, roads, streets, airports, railways, etc are built, maps need to change.

Do maps ever change? They have to if they need to be accurate.

I'll end with a quote, not from some famous philosopher or writer but from a character in the movie, "Superman", released in 1978...

“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” – Lex Luthor

Both your quote at the beginning and this at the end tell me the key to learning is to keep our minds and senses open to all around us for, if we do, we will begin to see our world and those beyond as containing mysterious, awesome and magnificent opportunites just waiting to be discovered.

OH DEAR!

At the beginning I said I'd write a short post about maps. I do get carried away when I see something as interesting as your posts. 🙂

2 thoughts on “A Closer Look at MAPS!

  1. The Grade Three Bloggers

    Hi Ross!

    Mrs. Renton has told us about you … and … some of our older brothers and sisters have also told us about how you like to leave awesome comments on classroom blogs! Yesterday, we spent some time looking at some of the treasures you’ve given to the Global Grade 3 bloggers over the last four years! We are enjoying learning a little more about Australia and we can’t believe that you’ve sent that much stuff over the years! We all look forward to spending time cuddling Suzy Sunshine, Spike, Kanga, Roo and the other little koala! We’re excited to try out the card reader! Some of us got to try it out yesterday. We LOVED the sound of the koala. Much to Mrs. Renton’s discomfort … SEVERAL of us thoroughly enjoyed the sound of the black mamba too!!! (Mrs. Renton has her feet up on her chair as she writes this out for us!!!)

    We think we LOVE topographical maps … because they are so interesting! From a bird’s eye view you wouldn’t think that a flat piece of paper could show how STEEP something is … but … we’ve learned that the lines show us the 3 dimensional part of the land! Close together means very steep!

    It’s amazing to see how water and mud can turn into a fossil … it is so neat to see how the water rippled over the mud! It’s sort of neat that the tree trunk was in the sandstone and became a fossil. We wonder why the petrified wood is black. We think it MIGHT be because of the type of mineral that formed in the wood and replaced the wood … but … we’re not sure. Do YOU know? (Mrs. Renton doesn’t know it all!!!) 😉

    It sounds like it was a LOT of work for people to make the very first maps! Technology and Google Earth make map making SO much easier than in the olden days! Some of us still think the earlier maps … like PIRATE maps … look SO much cooler than the ones we have today. We think, though, that maps today would do a better job of getting us around to exactly where we want to go!

    Engineers and carpenters use house plans like a map because it helps them to know where things go when they are planning and building houses. We think that anything that shows you where things go or where to go should be a map!

    We clicked on your link that took us through 400 000 galaxies … we loved that animation! Some of us have had sleepovers at Telus Spark … there is a huge screen there and you can see shows. It made it look like you were actually in space and it showed how black holes are formed and where the planets are. It even sounds like you’re in space … it was like a big map of space. The lady there shows the movie on her iPad and projects it on the screen. It’s an animation like the one you shared with us except it was way longer. Many of us have seen the iPad app with the stars … and that’s a map of our galaxy also.
    We think the aviator’s map is interesting … it is way less detailed than a map showing a city or a province! We like the way the dots show us the weather stations and their gps coordinates! Some of us use gps coordinates when we go geo-cashing!

    We think it’s kind of cool that there were some maps made out of rock … paper wasn’t around there 2600 years ago! We are GLAD that there are some maps from that long ago still around … they probably wouldn’t have been here still if they were made out of paper! We love, love, LOVE the link you shared with all the old maps!

    We loved your post! We loved all the writing and all the pictures and links you shared with us. It was interesting to read and we learned a LOT! We loved learning about topographical maps because they can show you how steep the land is … even on a flat piece of paper! When we were at home we could go to your links and learn even more!

    We loved the gum wrapper quote because it made us feel like everything IS a wonder. You can learn so much … even if it seems simple. An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply!

    Thank you, Ross, for extending our learning!

    The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

    Reply
    1. rossmannell

      Post author

      Hello Grade Three Bloggers,

      Thanks for the reply to my post.

      Over the years a number of classes around the world have been sent little gifts to help their learning. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing because I believe we should share our learning with others.

      As you know, I like topographical maps because I have a better idea of what I face if hiking a new area. As you have written, the closer together the lines, the steeper the slope. Here is a question for you…
      What would it mean if a few contour lines joined together instead of just getting closer?
      My answer is at the end of the comment.

      Why is the petrified wood black? Believe it or not, the black is where the tree became coal. There is a large seam of coal underneath Sydney and many kilometres north and south. This tree appears to have fallen in a sandy area so wasn’t part of the major seam. The black is the actual remains of the tree and so isn’t really petrified.

      I also find early maps interesting. Stories of pirate maps have always made me wonder how much treasure stills lies buried waiting for pirates to return.

      Telus Spark seems a fascinating place. I also have an iPad but, in my usage, it’s used to show people my latest video work before DVDs are sent out. Here is a little space trivia for you…
      You know of Apollo 11 being the first manned craft to land on the moon back in 1969 (I still have some newspaper headlines from back then). Did you know Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope helped NASA receive the signals being sent back to Earth? Australia was in a better position than USA when the landing took place.

      Rock maps… I wonder many things as I learn. One wonder after reading your comment was when, who and why someone made the first map. I know some Aboriginal paintings were made to show where water holes and sacred sites are located. As the many Aboriginal cultures go back at least 30,000 years, their map art may be a candidate as the longest surviving cultural mapping.

      Where I live, the Yuin-Manaro people are the traditional owners of the land. At all school performances I film, the Yuin-Manaro people are acknowledged for their culture and traditional ownership. I am not aware of any mapping art here but I know in desert areas where rock art can better survive, some rock art can be very old. Here I would be more likely to see rock engravings. The people knew from experience where important locations were.

      An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply… Perhaps I once shared with one of the Global Grade 3 classes an encounter a class of mine had with ants after a school assembly where only we stopped to observe. Here it is briefly…
      At the end of an assembly in a school with little grass and much asphalt (tarred stone), we started walking back to our classroom when I stopped my class and gathered them around a crack in the asphalt. Ants were emerging, some with wings. I explained we mostly on see female ants but, when we see winged ants, it’s the way they spread to start new colonies. The winged ants are both male and female. I further explained they like to climb before flying and asked why they couldn’t the students said there was nothing to climb so I poked a small stick in the crack near where the ants we emerging. The students were excited as the winged ants started climbing the stick and flew. An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply.

      Keep learning and sharing with others.

      Ross Mannell
      Teacher (retired), NSW, Australia

      Now my contour answer: if the contour lines run together, I won’t walk that way because it’s a cliff. The number of lines running together tells us it’s not only a vertical cliff but how high. Three 50 feet lines running together means the drop or height is around 150 feet

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.