Human Dimension: Technology

Energy and Population

Just as your GPS helps you make sure you’re getting from point “a” to point “b” correctly, maps help scientists draw important conclusions and visualize important concepts they study. The right map can help a petroleum engineer find the best drilling site, or help a meteorologist make the best prediction. This interactive mapping activity will help you understand the relationship between the population of a given state and the amount of energy consumed there.

Engineer a Satellite

In this activity, you will select the scientific instruments for your satellite, calculate the power requirements for all the subsystems, and construct a scale model of your very own Earth observing satellite.

Exploring 'Wild' Places with GIS

Regardless of where you live, engaging with the landscape means exploring spatial relationships between human and natural phenomena. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology ( provides an effective way to visualize and analyze these places, and your contact with them.

Exploring Change with GIS

On our ever-changing Earth, conditions may change quickly or slowly. Some changes come from natural processes; some from human activity. Satellites allow us to see conditions and track changes over time — in land use, forest health, land/water interface, and so on. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have been collecting data using various portions of the visible and invisible electromagnetic spectrum, at a scale close enough to see highways, but not individual buildings on a city block.

Exploring Climate Change with GIS

The factors at play in shaping our climate as well as the manifestation of its effects are geographic in nature. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and methods are vital in documenting, monitoring, analyzing, and predicting these dynamic activities and interdependencies. Climate scientists and others in numerous careers and disciplines use GIS and its integrative nature to tackle these issues. You can, too.

Exploring Color Maps

Blue landmasses? Green clouds? Red ice shelves? Maybe you’ve seen a colorful map and said to yourself, that’s not how it looks in real life!

Exploring for Petroleum - Modeling an Oil Reserve

Doing this investigation will help you understand how geoscientists identify and explore petroleum-rich reserves.

Exploring Geoheritage Through EarthCaching

An EarthCache is a special site that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. Visitors to EarthCache sites can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.

Eye of the Storm

A tropical storm is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s causing rain and thunderstorms over the Caribbean, and it will soon be a tropical depression — the beginning of a hurricane. By the time Hurricane Mitch leaves the Central America, more than 11,000 people will be dead and as many as 18,000 more will be missing. (Activity adapted from Mapping Our World at

Food Source

How diverse are the food sources in your community and where are they located? How far do they travel to reach you? Do you think the food sources for your community are sustainable? This multi-day activity explores these questions.


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