After yesterday’s maths lesson, today I thought I’d show you the World. Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t mean I’m taking you on holiday with me, rather I’m going to tell you about a bunch of computer programs that will help you learn about geography. The applications cover aspects of both physical and political geography, and again, I’ve categorised them based on level of education.
Primary – If you’re a six year-old kid you don’t want to start learning about stuff like rock formations or gross national product. No, your journey to geographical enlightenment should begin with a general understanding of how our planet looks. Install World of Where (or get your Mum to do it) on your computer and you’ll be able to play a guessing game that will help you learn the position of cities and countries on the World map. Likewise, Seterra and The National Geographic’s online game, GeoSpy, will help you put names to those blobs you see on the globe.
Secondary – As amazing as it may sound to you youngsters, we didn’t have Google Earth when I was at school, and had to rely on ancient tomes known as Atlases to figure out the lay of the land. Of course, Google’s product is excellent for studying the location of countries, topography and the oceans, and installing it on your home computer will instantly boost your grades. Earth’s Core is a lesser-known geographical application, that lets you find out what’s beneath our feet. It’s a comprehensive encyclopedia and research base offering just about everything there is to know about rocks, minerals and gems in an easy to search format with in depth descriptions and attractive image. If it’s meteorology that floats your boat then have a look at Earth3D. The program lets you view the planet in a real-time 3D perspective, so you can track changes in the weather.
College – Now to those of you who are studying geography at a higher level. By this stage I’m sure you’ve got to the stage where you’re creating maps of your own. If you’re on the look out for a decent tool to do help with this then try MapCreator. It’s a free application that allows you to create high quality physical maps to emphasize natural features of the Earth’s surface, such as mountains, valleys, vegetation, water, etc. QuikGrid is perhaps an even more advanced software, allowing you to render 3D surfaces based on a series of scattered data points, making it perfect for plotting land formations.