A GIS Journey

See how GIS technology can be used to investigate the fascinating lands of Asia.

Oct 24th, 2007

Start From:
Player Color:

Right-click on these links to download and save this video.


00:09We live on a planet composed of diverse land forms, distinct climates, and unique people and cultures.

00:18Every continent, every country, every village holds its own history, its own mysteries.

00:27But 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.

00:40Geography is more than places on a map. It's global connections and incredible creatures.

00:46It's people and cultures, economics and politics, and it's essential to understanding our interconnected world.

00:55And 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.

01:08There 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.

01:24They are alive and changing and bringing geography to life.

01:29Technology such as geographic information systems, or GIS, has made this possible.

01:35Let's discover how GIS works by exploring the fascinating lands of Asia and the many layers of its cultures,…

01:44…features, and people.

01:47GIS 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.

02:31Asia 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.

02:49With 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?

03:19GIS 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.

03:33Asia is recognized not only for its large mountain peaks but also for its large and rapidly growing population.

03:40Nine of the top 20 most-populated countries are located in Asia, as illustrated by these hot spots.

03:49Nearly 3.9 billion of the earth's 6.6 billion people live in Asia.

03:56Using 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?

04:10A closer look at Mumbai and Kolkata in India will help us understand.

04:16This area is home to hundreds of millions of people, and between them is the Ganges river valley.

04:23This population density map shows high population numbers in red and areas with fewer people in gray.

04:31History and GIS can show us how and why both Mumbai and Kolkata became large cities.

04:39Their 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.

04:54Crops tend to grow well in fertile valleys where rivers run, and the Ganges is a huge river in a warm climate.

05:02This creates the ideal soil conditions allowing agriculture to thrive, which, in turn, leads to population growth.

05:10And a third factor, called the monsoon, brings rain to India from June to October.

05:16The rainy season is very important to the millions of people who live in southern and eastern Asia.

05:22The monsoons are crucial in sustaining the agriculture and the people of India.

05:27And in other parts of Asia, too much water proved to be devastating.

05:32In 2004, Asia was affected by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

05:39Using GIS to model the path of a tsunami wave can help communities create evacuation and emergency plans…

05:47…and ultimately save lives.

05:50GIS 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.

06:03Whether it's too much or too little, water is an essential element for our survival.

06:10The 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.

06:24China has built the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River for flood control and hydroelectricity.

06:32It is one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in the world.

06:37The dam will flood the river valley behind it, displacing over one million people.

06:43A GIS analytic model of future water levels shows us what the lake behind the dam will look like.

06:50Scientists have predicted the loss of many valuable archaeological and cultural sites as well as effects on the environment.

06:59Again, GIS can be used to model the environmental impact and help scientists to find solutions to minimize man's impact.

07:08For 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.

07:20The industrial cities along the river will increase in size as people migrate from the countryside to the cities.

07:28Asian cities are among the largest in the world and will become even bigger in years to come.

07:35By 2030, experts predict that two-thirds of the people in Asia will live in megacities, cities with more than 10 million people.

07:45What problems will arise as cities vie for clean water, clean air, and other resources?

07:52Housing, employment, land-use planning, transportation, and public health are just a few issues.

08:01For instance, in 2007, the avian flu shook the medical community and health organizations around the world.

08:10The avian flu was transmitted from bird to human and causes severe illness in humans who are infected.

08:17Since 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.

08:30Though 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.

08:43We share the same problems and discoveries with our neighbors down the block and on the other side of the world.

08:49We 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.

09:00GIS helps us see the layers of our wonderful world.

09:05Learn more about geography and GIS. Get involved. Stay connected, because geography is fun.

Copyright 2016 Esri
Auto Scroll (on)Enable or disable the automatic scrolling of the transcript text when the video is playing. You can save this option if you login


it really make sense


Sep 13th, 2012. 9:06:04 PM

Comment on this Video