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Make a Geographic Sketch

A Geographic Sketch can be used in any subject, to deconstruct the “reality” that is represented in a landscape or in a photograph of a landscape.

Read below and view the two videos to learn more!


What/When/How to start Geographic Sketches

View the video to learn more about Geographic Sketches, like:

What is a geographic or geographical sketch anyway?

Any geographical sketch is basically a freehand schematic drawing of the main elements that make up a landscape. It is usually done on top of a an appropriate photograph. And the landscape you analyze could be anywhere in the world, depending on your assignment, on what you are learning about and on what issues you are interpreting.

When do you make geographic sketches?

You can sketch on images even when you are learning about a problem or a solution. But typically you make “geographic sketches” when realizing a project or integrating the knowledge you have acquired through observation and research. Geographic sketches help you to illustrate your understanding or interpretation of an issue.

How do you begin and then proceed?

In general, consider your issue and find and choose an appropriate photo. A satellite image might do in certain cases. But typically you use specific photographs for your analysis, ones you can locate on a map and can understand in terms of where it was taken, what direction, etc. Certain photos illustrate certain key issues better, though some photos could be used for more than one issue.

For more on a step by step on how to create a geographic sketch, and on how to use Cartograf’s image editing tools, see the full video entitled: How to Make Geographic Sketches in the next tab.

How to Geo Sketch? Use a tool like Cartograf!

The above video illustrates the following specific steps in creating a geographic sketch, using Cartograf’s image editing tools. The examples used are drawn from the scenario entitled Cairo: Issues in the Metropolis

Step 1: Observe the organization of the photo

Think about what you know about the photo already. From where was it taken? When was it taken? What direction are looking towards? Now, identify using available tools what you see in the foreground, middleground and the background areas of the photo.

Step 2: Create title to introduce your issue!

Your title should address the issue you are considering in your learning task. What problem or solution are you trying to show? Make your title catchy, but to the point. It should represent your analysis of the photo and your explanation of the issue a “purpose” Example sketch titles for problems: “City expansion threatens the pyramids!” or “Roads are too crowded” Example sketch titles for solutions: “Traffic solutions in Cairo” or more specifically “New bridges help traffic flow”

Step 3: Identify and categorize elements that are important to your issue.

Remember what is it you are trying to say or show. Select and highlight only the elements that are predominant and are also a part of the problem or part of the solution to the problem. (Example: show bridges and highways for discussions of traffic). And then eliminate unnecessary elements. (For example desert and arable lands are not necessary) Label the elements according to their actual names or their function

Note: There may hierarchy of importance here. (One thing might be more important than another!) Or perhaps there might be a relationship between elements, like one of cause and effect? (For example, some bridges carry more traffic) A legend may help to categorize and prioritize different elements. Arrows and lines can also be used to make connections or illustrate a purpose.

Step 4: Synthesize the geographic issue

As you complete your sketch you are likely to use certain intellectual operation’s like “characterizing a territory” or “connecting facts”. Your sketches become a “visualization” and a “synthesis” your discoveries, not only the facts, but also the phenomena. You sketch becomes the explanation of the issue (problem or solutions, etc.). You sketch shows “why” things happen, and “how” things work! You may need to use more than symbols. You may need to add labels and even short paragraphs to your sketch at this point.

Note 1: Don’t use too many elements. Do not try to represent everything. A drawing containing too many elements can only lead to confusion. Include only a few points that are useful and relevant to explaining your issue.

Note 2: Generalize (Sacrifice accuracy for clarity) Since your overall point or conclusion is the most important aspect of your sketch, you may need to generalize to get that across. You might end up exaggerating certain elements, and you might even have to be less accurate than you like.



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