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Homework 15: Impact of tourism on an extreme environment – Moab

Moab in Utah, USA, is an example of an ‘extreme environment’. It is a very popular tourist destination offering a wide variety of outdoor activities, many of which can be damaging to the fragile ecosystem. While the adjacent Arches National Park is carefully protected, the area around Moab itself is under threat from visitor pressure.

The Big Showoff

Task 1: Where is Moab?
Examine the location of Moab using Google Maps. Check the Street View, satellite image and terrain map as well.
1.Describe the location of Moab in relation to the rest of the USA.
2.Use the satellite and terrain views in Google Maps to make some brief comments about the physical geography of the Moab area.


Task 2: Why is Moab an “extreme environment”?
Extreme Landscape:
Examine some creative commons photographs taken in the Moab area by following this link. Choose an image that you think is representative of an “extreme environment” and click on it to open it up in Flickr. Add annotations (detailed labels) to the photo using the drawing tools in your word processor.
 Take care to credit the photographer (the name of the person who uploaded the image)


Extreme Environment:
Read this web page about the environment of Moab (This page is slow to load) Make a list of reasons why Moab is a fragile (easily damaged) environment. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE ASSIGNMENT)


Extreme Climate:
Look at some climate data for Moab.
1.Which is the driest month of the year in Moab?
2.In which month would you choose to visit Moab and why?


Task 3: What is the attraction of Moab for visitors?
1.Make a list of the reasons why people are attracted to the Moab area.
This video illustrates three different recreational activities taking place along the Slickrock trail at Moab.
2.Name the three activities illustrated in the video.
3.Pick one of the activities from the video and write a short paragraph to explain why Moab makes a good location for the activity.
4.Make a list of five hazards that face mountain bikers in Moab.


Task 4: Was Dean Potter right to climb Delicate Arch?
The Arches National Park authorities manage visitor activities very strictly to conserve the environment. In 2006, American rock climber Dean Potter controversially climbed a feature called the Delicate Arch.
A story about the event appeared on National Public Radio. Read the story and listen to an interview with Dean Potter (click the ‘Listen Now’ link just below the headline). ???As a result of the controversy, Potter lost his sponsorship with the clothing company Patagonia, and park officials tightened the regulations on climbing in Arches National Park, upsetting many people.
Do you think the Arches National Park officials are right to ban all climbing activities on the natural arches around Moab? Justify your answer in a short paragraph.


If you want, you can download a word document to complete with your answers. Please upload your finished work to your Posterous.


Teachers please note:
This is an adaptation of a WebQuest I originally wrote for Kerboodle Secondary in support of the AQA Geography GCSE Syllabus A. Please do not copy or repost anywhere else.

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Homework 13: Using a GIS (Geographic Information System)

A GIS can be thought of as a digital base map over which layers of data can be displayed. GIS offers powerful ways for geographers to anlyze spatial data and make decisons. Many jobs rely on GIS technology; one reason why geography graduates are very employable. I’d like you to use the MAGIC GIS to find out a little more about Dawlish Warren as part of preparation for your coursework project.


Before you start, be prepared for your computer to run slowly as you will be interacting with an enormous database buried deep in some high security government bunker.

Follow this link to the MAGIC map of Dawlish Warren

After a while you should be looking at a map of Dawlish Warren. The map will be complicated at first, so here are the basic tools you need to use:

To move the map (panning) click this symbol, and then drag the map


To change the scale, click the symbol, then click again on the map to zoom in and out on the location you’ve selected.


Now, lets make sense of the map data. At the moment all the available information is being displayed. Click this button to see all the data layers…


This box will appear. Try turning all the layers off apart from Sites of Special Scientific Interest…


Nothing will happen until you click this button!


If the map slows down or you want to go back to the map with all the layers active, click this button.


Reload the map or click here if you see this message for too long. While it is common for there to be delays when using GIS, this message also means that data is being collected, so be patient.


Finally, the map tools will let you print off maps, save screen shots, measure distances and a lot more. Just mouse-over the different symbols to find out what each one does.


Now it’s time to get mapping…

5 minute GIS Homework task:

1) Create a map that shows the extent of the tourist “honeypot” at Dawlish Warren. This the area outside the Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

2) Create a map that shows sand dunes and mudflats of the whole Exe estuary and the location of Dawlish Warren.

Print these  maps off if possible. Don’t upload to your Posterous. If you have problems with MAGIC the FAQ may help.

3) Use Where’s The Path? to look at different maps and photos of Dawlish Warren. Follow this link. WTP isn’t a real GIS, but it great for visualizing the Dawlish Warren area. It is best to use WTP in the morning, because it is limited in how many OS maps it can show in one day.