We use maps in our everyday lives, whether its on a piece of paper or on a device. Projection, in geography, is displaying the round Earth, or pieces of the Earth, on a flat surface. When transferring the Earths spherical shape onto a flat surface, distortions occur. This means that some shapes and sizes of the Earth surface are not completely on scale. Some places may seem larger and other places might not the right distance. There are different maps, with different purposes and that has different types of distortions and projections. There are four major distortion occur in different types of projections. These four distortions are direction, shape, size and distance. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 56-59)
Mercator projections are in conformal maps. These maps maintain shapes but distort the sizes. These maps were design for navigation. On these maps, the lines of latitude and longitude creates a grid. The cardinal direction is always the same. Mercator projections have disadvantages. The size is not accurate, but it does serve its purpose. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 56-59)
Another form of projection is equal-area projection. These maps maintain size but do not maintain the shape. The shape is highly distorted at the north and south poles, which obviously makes the sizes of the continents inaccurate. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 56-59)
The last form of projection is called azimuthal projection. Azimuthal projection is used in Google maps. These maps show true direction but necessarily the true distance. These maps can be zoomed into, changing the scales. It displays more details like valleys and mountains. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 56-59)
In figures 4 to 7, distortion is not a huge problem. These maps are more dependent on the shading being used and the sizes, rather than distance, shape or distance. Figure 4 is an example of a Qualitative map. Different colours are used to show the different biomes on Earth. Qualitative maps use colour and shading to show differences between certain areas. There is also a legend that explains each colour and matches the colours to each biome. This map focuses on showing the different biomes and how large the biomes are in each region. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 59-61)
Figures 5 to 7 are examples of Choropleth maps. Choropleth maps use different shades of a specific colour to show different quantities, where figure 4 shows qualities. There is also a Legend on the side of the maps. These legends use larger quantities and different shades are assigned to each quantity. The shading helps to differentiate between the different areas and, depending on the purpose of the maps, it helps us understand. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 59-61)
Spatial distribution explains where a phenomenon is placed, its position and its arrangement in the universe. We use spatial distribution to identify why something is, where it is. In figure 4, the different biomes are indicated in different colours. Biomes are different ecosystems formed by their climate and vegetation. One of the major biomes is the desert and desert shrub biome. Desert are situated at certain parts of the Earth due to many factors. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 44-48)
Most deserts form because they lack in moisture which means they have extremely low counts of rainfall. Vegetation in this biome adapted to the moisture stress and can live in these conditions. These plants store water and has waxy leaves to reduce water loss. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 44-48)
Most deserts are located at 30° North and 30° South of the equator which is 0°. At 30° North lies the Tropic of Cancer and at 30° South lies the Tropic of Capricorn. Even though the equator is where the sun directly shines onto earth, deserts are created by dryness and not heat. At the equator hot, but moist, air rises. When the moist hot air rises, it cools down and forms rain close to the equator. The cool dry air then passes to the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn, which heats up again, forming the desert biome in certain regions. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 44-48)
There are deserts located above the Tropic of Cancer and below the Tropic of Capricorn. Some of these deserts formed because they are cut off from the ocean by mountain ranges. When mountains block the rainfall and leaves a dry area on the other side of the mountain, we call it the rain shadow effect. The mountain range blocks and removes most of the moisture from the wind. When the wind reaches the other side of the mountain, it becomes warm and dry. These dry sides of the mountain are called the leeward side. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 44-48)
We also get cold deserts. These deserts have long, but dry, winters and in summer time it is hot. Cold deserts only occur above the Tropic of Cancer, in higher latitudes.
There is a pattern to where deserts are formed and why. Each type of desert is formed for a reason that involves different elements like the wind, the mountain ranges and what side, of the lines of longitude and latitude, they are found. (Rubenstein, Renwick & Dahlman 2015: 44-48)
There are several biomes, some have positive and some have negative effects on the human settlement. Humans learn to use their environments to it’s full potential without destroying it completely.
An example of a biome that negatively effects the human settlement is Sudan. Sudan is a desert biome. The temperature is constantly rising. Due to the constant droughts, the biodiversity is under threat. There are also floods and dust storms. The dust storms ruin and bury peoples’ houses. Floods take the lives of hundreds of people and injure even more. Floods, dust storms and the droughts destroy fertile land and damages the land to an extent where it is not suitable for agriculture anymore. Water is already scarce due to the drought, but floods and dust storms make it even worse. Floods contaminate the little water they have left, and dust storms increases the evaporation. The soil fertility decreases, and the people are fighting for food because the crop production decreases. (Britton, 2016)
An example of a biome that positively effects the human settlement is Poland. Poland has a temperate forest. There is a lot of rainfall in the forests, so the soil is very wet. The soil is also extremely fertile. Due to the soil fertility, large number of crops are produced. The forests are protected and well looked after. There are several forests that have been barely touched by human impacts. There are a large variety of plants and animal species living in these forests. (Britton, 2016)
Geographers have two main points of view when it comes to people and how they interact with their environment. Geographers believe in possibilism. This means that humans adapt and manipulate the environment to suit their wants and needs. We adapt to the climate and the resources the environment offers us. Humans can choose which crops to grow and how it would work in their environment. (Britton, 2016)
The human population continues to increase, which increases the need for food. In developing countries, food supply has been an issue and agriculture’s the main source of food supply. Agriculture is the practice of using the Earth to produce crops, livestock and aquaculture for economic growth. Four main strategies have been identified to increase the food production in developing countries. (Rubenstein, Renwick ; Dahlman 2015: 264)
The first strategy is to expand agricultural land. Now, only 11% of the Earths land is being used for agriculture. By expanding agricultural land, the food production increases which means more food is produced. The population growth has increased more that the expansion of agriculture. (Rubenstein, Renwick ; Dahlman 2015: 264)
The second strategy is the increase in agricultural productivity. Agricultural practices have developed over years and has lead to higher crop production with the same amount of land. The green evolution is responsible for the new agricultural practices. They produced seeds called “miracle seeds” that have increased the number of crops produced. These seeds helped prevent a food crisis in developing countries. These seeds have a negative aspect as well. More fertilizes, and machinery are needed, and the seeds are also costly.
The third strategy is improved food sources. The main source of food consumed in developing countries is cereal grains. The cereal grains in developing countries lack protein so by introducing higher protein cereal grains, the nutritional value would change and people in developing countries would receive better nutrition while consuming the same amount of food. (Rubenstein, Renwick ; Dahlman 2015: 265)
The last strategy is to expand exports. By expanding exports, more money would be entering the country making it easier to expand agricultural land and increase agricultural productivity. (Rubenstein, Renwick ; Dahlman 2015: 265)
All these strategies are related to each other. By increasing the agricultural productivity, which would lead to higher cop production with the same amount of land, the farmers would be able to expand agricultural land with the extra money made from the increased crop production. When expanding the agricultural land, it would be easier to export grains like wheat, maize and rice. After increasing exports, they can create or afford, higher protein cereal grains. All of these strategies would be hard to achieve and would take a long time to come into place. The first strategy would make the biggest impact on the people in developing countries. By expanding the agricultural land, more crops would be produces and it creates jobs. More people would be needed on the farm to harvest the larger piece of land.