Applied Physical Geography: Geosystems in the Laboratory (5th Edition)

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9780130348234: Applied Physical Geography: Geosystems in the Laboratory (5th Edition)

This lab manual contains essential geographic principles, methods, and tools to help readers better understand Earth's systems. Chapter topics include weather maps; Earth's atmosphere; topographic analysis; Earth-sun relationships; map projections, map reading, and interpretation; soils, biomes, and more. For geographers and other scientists who want to better understand Earth's systems.

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Ideal for use with any text on physical geography, this laboratory manual contains 12 step-by-step exercises that help students apply essential geographic principles, methods, and tools to better understand Earth and its systems.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface and Geography I. D.

Welcome to Applied Physical Geography! This is an exciting time to be taking a lab class in which many of the principles of physical geography are applied in specific exercises. This gives you an opportunity to work with practices and tools of geographic analysis.

This laboratory manual helps you use essential geographic principles, methods, and tools to better relate your physical geography text to understanding Earth's systems. Applied Physical Geography: Geosystems in the Laboratory, fifth edition, can be supported by some of the currently available physical geography texts. A specific source for figures and materials used in this manual is Geosystems—An Introduction to Physical Geography, fifth edition, by Robert W Christopherson, Prentice Hall, ©2003 (ISBN: 0-13-066824-9). Another by the same author is Elemental Geosystems, third edition, ©2001 (ISBN: 0-13-055347-dash; although this lab manual does not follow the specific chapter sequence of either text.

The Science of Geography

Geography (from geo, "earth," and graphein, "to write") is the science that studies the interdependence among geographic areas, natural systems, society, and cultural activities over space. As a discipline that synthesizes knowledge from many fields, geography integrates spatial elements to form a coherent picture of Earth. The term spatial refers to the nature and character of physical space: to measurements, relations, locations, and the distribution of things. Geography is governed by a method—a spatial approach—rather than by a specific body of knowledge.

Physical geography, therefore, centers on the spatial analysis of all the physical elements and processes that comprise the environment: energy, air, water, weather, climate, landforms, soils, animals, plants, and Earth itself. Physical geography, as a spatial human-Earth science, is in a unique position among sciences to synthesize and integrate the great physical and cultural diversity facing us. Aspects of physical geography requiring spatial analysis are in the news daily for these are dramatic times relative to human-Earth relations and spatial change. Only through relevant education can an informed citizenry learn about the life-sustaining environment that surrounds and infuses our lives. Completing this laboratory manual is one way to begin this journey.

As a science, geography uses the scientific method. A focus study in Chapter 1 of Geosystems—An Introduction to Physical Geography briefly discusses this approach to problem solving. As you work through this laboratory manual, keep in mind this method of analyzing a problem, gathering data, organizing thought, and achieving the discovery of important principles.

Each Lab Exercise is organized in the following sequence to help you. Each exercise and its steps will take varying lengths of time depending on the emphasis taken in lab.

Organization of each lab exercise chapter:

  • Introduction
    A brief overview of the subject and key terms and concepts involved in the exercise.
  • Key Terms and Concepts
    Principal terms and concepts used in the exercise that are defined in the glossary and that you may want to check in a physical geography textbook.
  • Objectives
    The skills and knowledge you should have on completion of the exercise.
  • Materials/Sources Needed
    Items that you will need to complete the exercise.
  • Lab Exercise and Activities
    *SECTION 1 headings such as this denote parts of the exercise and include specific numbered questions and activities to complete.

Your laboratory manual is designed for maximum utility—an asset to your learning activities. The standard symbols used on topographic maps appear inside the front cover. Inside the back cover are two world maps: the Koppen climate classification system and global biomes as Earth's terrestrial ecosystems. A fold-out flap, that you can deploy while you are working with the manual, features common metric-English conversions to assist you in this transition era between the two systems. The outside portion of the foldout flap presents the four classes of map projections.

Note: The exercises in this manual are set up in a manner sensitive to the fact that many of the US. students still use English units, whereas Canadian students use metric measures. You will find conversions given wherever appropriate. Your instructor will guide you as to which system of units to use in the exercises. The graphs and other items are designed to use either system although metric is preferred.

The initial laboratory exercise, called the Prologue Lab, is unique and has not appeared in manuals before. Your lab instructor will explain the items for you to complete. Our experience in teaching geography is that students appreciate these tasks in the Prologue because they can experience the relevancy of geography. The Prologue Lab contains some activities that will last throughout the term and will not be completed until the last class, acting as threads through the lab.

Preface to the Instructor

Applied Physical Geography: Geosystems in the Laboratory, fifth edition, is for the student taking an introductory physical geography course, either concurrently or previously. Included are background materials, brief text explanations, and figures from the Christopherson text, Geosystems, An Introduction to Physical Geography, although this laboratory manual can be used with other current textbooks in physical geography.

A separate and complete Solutions and Answers Manual for this laboratory manual is available to adopters of this lab manual (ISBN 0-13-034815-5). Be sure and ask your Prentice Hall sales representative (name on file at your bookstore), or contact Prentice Hall directly, for a copy of this helpful solutions manual.

In the United States, contact the College Sales Department, 1 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, URL:, E-mail:

In Canada contact Prentice Hall Canada, 26 Prince Andrew Place, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T8, 1-800-567-3800 URL:; or E-mail:

Desk copies of Geosystems, fifth edition, Elemental Geosystems, third edition, Applied Physical Geography, fifth edition, and the Solutions and Answers Manual, fifth edition, will be sent to you immediately.

Course Equipment. A pair of stereo lenses is provided with the lab manual for the student's convenience. A sample stereopair photo is included with each lab manual for your students, with instruction in the Prologue exercise to introduce this tool. You will find nine sets of stereo photos in the lab manual and several stereo contour maps, demonstrating many concepts.

We made a deliberate effort to write a manual requiring a minimum of equipment to keep your costs low. Students should provide their own pencils, colored pencils, metric-English ruler, protractor, calculator, and dictionary. Along with the supplies and equipment you have on hand for labs to supplement this manual, the following items are needed: Goode's World Atlas (Rand McNally and Company), or other atlas, sling psychrometer, a compass, and weather instruments, if available. Portions of twelve topographic sheets are included in the manual. You will want to supplement this brief presentation with your favorite topographic maps, stereoscopic and aerial photo examples.

The manual begins with a unique Prologue Lab. This initial lab includes several activities that span the entire term. You may choose only portions of the activities presented. These elements were designed for continuity and will help you initiate group activities early in the class, especially the "Hazard Identification: Natural and Anthropogenic" assignment.

The twenty exercises are subdivided into *SECTION segments. Depending on your emphasis, a lab meeting may include several sections as part of an entire exercise, leaving out other sections as you see fit. We have designed the sections so that they can stand alone in most cases.

In this fifth edition you will find a reworking of the text for improved readability. You will note a tightening of content and that some sections are shorter in this edition. Also, we place more completed answers in each section to guide the student. Attention was given to strengthening the questions to add more requiring interpretation of knowledge based on an understanding of the principles being discussed and illustrated. Lab Exercise 18, Biomes, is expanded. A new soils lab in now Lab Exercise 19. And with some altered sections our GIS lab is now designated as Lab Exercise 20.

The features that made the previous edition such a success are retained: the Prologue Lab as a term-length activity drawing the students together along a continuity thread; the stereopair lenses, photos, and stereo contour lines; the selection of color topographic maps and related exercises; the "section" structure that allows you, the teacher, to edit and assign portions within a lab and the exclusion of other sections; among other features. We still remain the only lab manual with a complete glossary for student reference of concepts and learning objectives with every lab. And for your convenience we have updated and improved the Solutions and Answers Manual with all the work completed, illustrations drawn, calculations made, and questions answered for quick reference.

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Christopherson, Robert W.; Hobbs, Gail Lewis
Published by Prentice Hall (2002)
ISBN 10: 0130348236 ISBN 13: 9780130348234
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Book Description Prentice Hall, 2002. Spiral-bound. Book Condition: New. 5. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0130348236

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