Geography Basics (2 Volumes Set) by Ray Sumner

By Ray Sumner

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By Ray Sumner

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On a globe, the human eye can see only half of the earth at one time. What if a city planner needs to map every street, building, fire hydrant, and streetlight in a town? To fit this much detail on a globe, the globe might have to be bigger than the town being mapped. Globes like these would be impossible to create and to carry around. Instead of having to hire a fleet of flatbed trucks to haul oversized globes, the curved surface of the globe can be transformed to a flat plane. The method used to change from a curved globe surface to a flat map surface is called a map projection.

Scientists theorize that the system began as a nebula, a spinning cloud of gas and dust that collapsed under its own weight, forming the Sun at the center. The planets are believed to have formed from dustballs that were then melted into rocky spheres by bolts of lightning. (Painting by Don Dixon, NASA) 26 / The Solar System Relative Sizes of the Planets Sun Pluto Neptune Uranus Mars Saturn Venus Earth Mercury Jupiter Note: The size of the Sun and distances between planets are not to scale. ). ) an astronomical unit (AU) and use it to measure planetary distances.

This is especially important for saving the large databases used for mapping. Computer hardware and software continue to become more powerful and less expensive. At home or school, personal computers in the year 2000 were more powerful than the mainframe computers at research universities had been ten years earlier. Software continues to be developed to serve the specialized needs that mapping requires. Just as word processing software can format a paper, check spelling and grammar, draw pictures and shapes, import tables and graphics, and perform dozens of other functions, specialized software executes maps.

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