See how GIS technology can be used to investigate the fascinating lands of Asia.
00:09 We live on a planet composed of diverse land forms, distinct climates, and unique people and cultures.
00:18 Every continent, every country, every village holds its own history, its own mysteries.
00:27 But at the heart of each of these diverse lands lies something in common that has shaped the past, affects the…
00:33 …present, and will mold the future. That something is geography.
00:40 Geography is more than places on a map. It's global connections and incredible creatures.
00:46 It's people and cultures, economics and politics, and it's essential to understanding our interconnected world.
00:55 And yet, maps are still one of the most essential tools that people use to understand geography, the environment and…
01:02 …the constant changes of our planet and its inhabitants.
01:08 There are political maps showing territorial boundaries. Maps of soil type, weather patterns, elevation data…
01:17 …and almost anything that comes to mind. Today, maps are no longer static.
01:24 They are alive and changing and bringing geography to life.
01:29 Technology such as geographic information systems, or GIS, has made this possible.
01:35 Let's discover how GIS works by exploring the fascinating lands of Asia and the many layers of its cultures,…
01:44 …features, and people.
01:47 GIS reveals the power of geography by providing digital tools to visualize what exists, to gather…
01:54 …and interpret tremendous amounts of information in order to model what has happened in the past and predict what…
02:01 …may happen in the future. Asia is important in many ways. It is the largest continent…
02:09 …encompassing nearly 50 million kilometers of land area, nearly 30 percent of all the land on earth.
02:17 …It is a land of extremes, boasting the highest point and the world's tallest land-based mountain…
02:23 …towering to 8,848 meters, or 29,028 feet above sea level.
02:31 Asia is home to 10 of the 10 highest peaks in the world. At the other extreme, the Dead Sea, at 409 meters, or…
02:41 …roughly 1,300 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in Asia and the world.
02:49 With GIS, not only can we visualize these peaks and valleys but we can quickly show additional information…
02:56 …on the fly and in 3D. Explorers can study the slope of the land, the trails of Mount Everest, and even…
03:04 …study weather patterns to plan potential expeditions. Why do climbers favor the southeast ridge trek…
03:12 …starting in the south in Nepal, while others choose the northeast ridge route, beginning in Tibet?
03:19 GIS can reveal various political and cultural factors, physical and environmental conditions, as well as…
03:26 …weather phenomena to help paint a picture that can answer these kinds of questions.
03:33 Asia is recognized not only for its large mountain peaks but also for its large and rapidly growing population.
03:40 Nine of the top 20 most-populated countries are located in Asia, as illustrated by these hot spots.
03:49 Nearly 3.9 billion of the earth's 6.6 billion people live in Asia.
03:56 Using this 3D view of population density, we can see how the population is most concentrated in cities…
04:03 …and urban settings. Why do some areas contain extreme population density?
04:10 A closer look at Mumbai and Kolkata in India will help us understand.
04:16 This area is home to hundreds of millions of people, and between them is the Ganges river valley.
04:23 This population density map shows high population numbers in red and areas with fewer people in gray.
04:31 History and GIS can show us how and why both Mumbai and Kolkata became large cities.
04:39 Their close proximity to rivers and the coast allowed them to become strong seaports. They became large cities…
04:46 …that could support heavy trade, create transportation routes inland, and provide jobs for its inhabitants.
04:54 Crops tend to grow well in fertile valleys where rivers run, and the Ganges is a huge river in a warm climate.
05:02 This creates the ideal soil conditions allowing agriculture to thrive, which, in turn, leads to population growth.
05:10 And a third factor, called the monsoon, brings rain to India from June to October.
05:16 The rainy season is very important to the millions of people who live in southern and eastern Asia.
05:22 The monsoons are crucial in sustaining the agriculture and the people of India.
05:27 And in other parts of Asia, too much water proved to be devastating.
05:32 In 2004, Asia was affected by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
05:39 Using GIS to model the path of a tsunami wave can help communities create evacuation and emergency plans…
05:47 …and ultimately save lives.
05:50 GIS has been an invaluable tool that can be used to assess damages and help communities in their recovery…
05:58 …and rebuilding efforts, whether from a tsunami, hurricane, or fire.
06:03 Whether it's too much or too little, water is an essential element for our survival.
06:10 The Yangtze River in China is the longest in Asia and the third longest in the world, providing water to…
06:17 …rice growing regions in the south of China. Here, too, managing fresh water has become a crucial issue.
06:24 China has built the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River for flood control and hydroelectricity.
06:32 It is one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in the world.
06:37 The dam will flood the river valley behind it, displacing over one million people.
06:43 A GIS analytic model of future water levels shows us what the lake behind the dam will look like.
06:50 Scientists have predicted the loss of many valuable archaeological and cultural sites as well as effects on the environment.
06:59 Again, GIS can be used to model the environmental impact and help scientists to find solutions to minimize man's impact.
07:08 For China, the benefit of harnessing the river's power and eliminating the devastating seasonal flooding…
07:14 …along the Yangtze River outweighs the historical and ecological loss.
07:20 The industrial cities along the river will increase in size as people migrate from the countryside to the cities.
07:28 Asian cities are among the largest in the world and will become even bigger in years to come.
07:35 By 2030, experts predict that two-thirds of the people in Asia will live in megacities, cities with more than 10 million people.
07:45 What problems will arise as cities vie for clean water, clean air, and other resources?
07:52 Housing, employment, land-use planning, transportation, and public health are just a few issues.
08:01 For instance, in 2007, the avian flu shook the medical community and health organizations around the world.
08:10 The avian flu was transmitted from bird to human and causes severe illness in humans who are infected.
08:17 Since the speed and distance of modern travel is so great, GIS analysis can be used to track known cases to help…
08:26 …scientists set up quarantine sites around the world.
08:30 Though not escalating to the level of a pandemic, the deadly implications drew attention that the avian flu…
08:36 …was not a problem for Asia alone but for the world. We are not alone.
08:43 We share the same problems and discoveries with our neighbors down the block and on the other side of the world.
08:49 We are connected by geography, and we must see the interconnection in order to understand the…
08:56 …relationships and patterns and the effects of our decisions.
09:00 GIS helps us see the layers of our wonderful world.
09:05 Learn more about geography and GIS. Get involved. Stay connected, because geography is fun.
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