Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mapping Belize

Last month my oldest son's teacher asked me to talk to her class about mapping, and in particular, how elevation above sea level is measured. I happily accepted and prepared a talk showing some of the mapping I've done over the years, and did my best to convey to a group of 5th and 4th graders how elevation is measured.

My extremely enthusiastic audience (teacher Susan is on the right)
How elevations were measured in the old days

How mean sea level is measured
At the end of the talk, the students asked if I would make a map for them. I promised I would and actually created two--one of the ecosystems of Belize and one showing elevation and topography.
Ecosystems of Belize. Click here for a full-res PDF.
Topography of Belize. Click here for a full-res PDF.

The elevation data is from a mosaic I created using Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data. There were numerous anomalies in the data, most of which I cleaned using focal windows, but it is not perfect. The majority of the base data came from the Biological Diversity in Belize website, including the ecosystems.

It was a fun mapping exercise and a great way to familiarize myself with our new (temporary) home!