GEOWORLD HELP

Introduction. 1

Program options. 3

Cartography, making maps. 4

Searching. - by country,river,mountain,state,etc 6

Flags. 7

Route Planner-highways,railways,air routes. 9

Quiz and other options. 12

Multi language feature. 13

Map clicking. 14

Speciality world maps. 15

City maps. 16

Saving and printing maps - student use. 17

Updating geoworld. 18

Geographic Changes  19

Highway numbers. 20

 

Introduction

 

This program consists of a database of geographic information that can be used to create maps, or make enquires about cities, countries, rivers, etc for the entire world. The program is capable of drawing maps at any scale desired and any part of the world. You can also control what features appear on the maps (do countries have flags beside them, what is the minimum height of a mountain, the minimum population of a city to be displayed, whether to show geographic features, you can even create a map without labels, for someone to fill in). The various mapping options are under the options menu item. All major cities that are not part of another city with a population of 200000 are included in the city database. Canada and the United States have separate city list.

The main feature of the program is its ability to draw color maps which you can also print. You use the various geographic locations from world to flights on the menu bar to select the map to draw.

 

 

 

The world maps include special maps showing land elevations, languages of various countries, and time zones. If you want a map of a specific area defined by latitude and longitude, use the select your own option. More often, you will simply select from the more than 300 maps in the Americas to Ocean section, which are pre-scaled to show a specific region, country or city. The cities maps are detail maps of the area around major cities. They include place names for suburban cities that do not appear on other maps. The flights maps show possible routes between cities, there are 1000 of these pre-selected as the most important routes. The list is not intended to include all possible flights, there are simply too many and they change all the time. However it is useful to have a list of routes to see how far the airlines take you off the straight line route to a destination.

 

This program includes an extensive data base of roads and highways, including all the major ones throughout the world. Secondary roads have been added as necessary to make sure all cities in the database are connected to others somehow (for use in the route planner). A selected set of train routes is also available, but like the airline routes, is limited to major routes. However it should be noted that in some parts of the world train is the only option (Siberia and parts of India in particular).

 

When you display a map, you can navigate it in various ways. Use the arrows at the edge of the map to move the map area, or the magnifying glass to make the map bigger or smaller. You can also click with the right mouse button a point on the map, that point will become the center of the new map.


Options and language

 

When you options on the main menu, you see this window.

 

Any feature that is ticked will show on a map. Cities use a dot of varying sizes along with a label. When flag option is on, the map will show a small flag next to the name of a country. Highways are black for major ones, red for secondary roads. Railways appear as a silver color. Mountains are a circle with a name and elevation. Flights show great circle routes between cities (not all possible flights are shown, just major routes). Fills refers to the different colors used for each country or state. This should normally be left on. Labels refers to city and country names. Minor labels refers to labels for small countries or secondary features. It can be useful to turn this off on a crowded map. Highway labels refer to the numbers in a circle drawn on a highway route, this you may also want to turn off if the map is for a large area where roads appear close together. Some maps have a key showing perhaps the color scheme for filling countries by elevation, language etc. You can move or hide a key, but you may wish to not show it on a printout. The distance key refers to the small scale showing distances across the map, and is usually in miles and kilometers. Latitude and longitude refers to grid lines on map showing the location. If you only want to show the bigger cities on a map, set some minimum value for city populations. Smaller cities will not appear on the map. A similar idea is used for mountains, which tend to be close together and hence hard to read. There are two color schemes for filling areas, bold and bright colors. When you click on a map it will normally show you features in the vicinity of the point at which you clicked, this can include labels, cities, mountains, etc. If you want to measure distances between two points, use the bottom setting, then you click on two points and it shows the straight line distance between the cities.

 

All the screens can be made to display in any of 8 languages, you set this when starting the program. You can change the setting in the visibility settings, it will take effect immediately.

 

Normally after changing some setting you click either close or apply, there will be a short pause while the map redraws with the new settings. Instead you may revert to the settings prior to opening the visibility window with the cancel button, or use the system defaults with the default button.

 

All the settings are automatically saved when you close the program, including the last map you used, so you will restart with an identical map.


 Cartography, making maps

 

.     Maps of the earth are representations on a flat paper or screen of the round earth. The projection is the method used for converting the three dimensional points on to a two dimensional surface. There are many projections, this program uses several projections. A Mercator map has straight grid lines. It is useful for small areas or selecting a map area to draw but distorts shapes at high latitudes.  The database represents points in terms of latitude and longitude. At the equator one degree of latitude and one of longitude are equal, representing a distance of approximately 111 kilometers. The meter was created as a distance measurement based on the best estimate of the earths circumference, so the diameter of the earth is 40000 kilometers. At higher latitudes away from the equator a degree of longitude is equal to the cosine of the latitude. Thus at 45 degrees latitude it is .707 of a degree of latitude, at 60 degrees it is only half.

 

The simplest map projection is the Mercator projection with straight lines for latitude and longitude. We have used this for the times zone map, but the size distortion at high latitudes makes it unsuitable for road maps.  A more accurate representation of shapes is the conic projection where latitude lines come together at high latitudes.  We use a modified conic projection for the main set of maps.

 

             Time Zones using Mercator Projection

 


 Polar projection

 

The polar projection is used at high latitudes, in this program for the arctic and Antarctic maps. It can be easily identified by the circular form of latitude lines and the radial appearance of longitude lines.

 

            Antarctic region - Polar Projection - Spanish language

 

            
Search

 

  The search button allows you to access directly the information in the various databases, and display it in a variety of ways. You first select the type of thing you want to display (country, city, river, etc) and then a secondary window will appear showing the various sorting orders for that item. For example you can display cities by size, country or location. The first item on all the sub menus is lookup, when you use that you get a list box showing all the features in that category. You select from list box and the program displays all relevant information about that item. The most interesting lookups are for countries, then the flag, a small country map, the major cities and a short description of the countries history are shown along with the basic information on the size, population, government, leader and capital city of the country. Below is the results for Nigeria.

 

 

The add feature allows you to add additional cities or mountains to your maps. You can also add rivers and lakes and seas, but those will appear only in the search lists. You enter the data for a city and then press the add button. After you complete entry of all cities, you must save the list to file so that it is available the next time the program is run. Be careful in adding to the databases, else you may find your home town in the middle of an ocean. A backup version of the original file is available in the archive folder. This feature is not available in the trial version.

 


 Flags option

 

  The FLAGS option on the bottom of the search menu allows you to display the flag of a single country or set of countries on the screen in various sizes.

 

 


 Flags on country maps

 

You can also display flags on maps, the sample below shows West Africa with cities of 500,000 or more people. Note the navigation bars on the corners of the map used to reposition the map. The + and - magnify or shrink buttons on the top menu bar can be used to resize the map.

 

 


 Route Planner

 

The route planner allows you to map a route between any two cities in the database that are connected by roads, ferries or trains. There are separate route planners for North America, South America, Eurasia-Africa and Australia. You can search by shortest distance or shortest time. The program includes all major international roads. There is also a more limited air flight planner with 1000 routes (one city to another). . Select a starting and ending city by clicking on the small square to the right of the white windows and clicking on the desired cities. Then press find and a list of routes will be displayed. A number of cities have been designated as hub cities, the route planner will use them if more than three highways are involved in the route. Most searches take only a few seconds. For complicated searches you will need to tick the box labeled “complete search”. Then up to two hubs or 9 highways may be on the route, these searches can take up to a minute to complete. A message below the “FIND” button will display the progress of the search. That is all there is to it.

 

The sample below shows a search for routes between London and Rome, six routes were found in 2 seconds (some searches take longer). There is an estimate of the time and also a display of the route efficiency (compared to a straight line air route). Efficiencies of less than 75% suggest a poor route, a bad road system or perhaps that there is a large body of water you have to go round.

 


 Air Route maps and planner

 

There are several thousand cities in the world with regular airline service, often to many other cities directly and with several different airlines. To show all the possible routes is infeasible, but we have selected 1000 key routes worldwide for display on a series of maps, with route mileages between the cities shown. The example below shows the key Pacific Ocean routes.

 

 

You can use this database to chart possible airline routes for a trip you are planning or dreaming of. Unlike the highway route planner we can not guarantee this will find the shortest route, but it does show the possibilities and routes that are not efficient. For example, all airlines will route you thru Europe if traveling from North America to Africa.


 Usa-canada  Air Route map - The Hub system

 

There are over 100 airlines that fly domestic flights in Canada and the United States. Most airlines use a hub system, where they fly to many cities from their main or hub cities, but only limited other routes from the spoke cities. For example, American Airlines, the largest in the world with 730 airplanes flies to over 100 cities from their main hub at Dallas/ Fort Worth airport. However if you want to fly from Los Angeles on that airline, you can only fly direct to about 25 cities, mostly on the west coast. Most other cities in the Eastern United States require you fly first to Dallas. The map of USA-Canada air routes is configurable to show the main routes of the 9 major carriers in the United States. It can be used to quickly give you a visual picture of how you might get from one city to another and which airlines fly that route. The map below shows American Airlines routes only. Note that if a route is not shown it may still exist, the database does not include all possibilities.

 


 Quiz and other options

 

The Quiz option is used to test your knowledge of cities, countries and other geographic information. You are asked 10 multiple choice questions on a topic, with three possible choices for answers. There is a random factor, so no two quizzes are exactly alike.  The sample below is for the flag quiz, of course you knew the answer was Iran.

 

 

 

  The Options menu also include PRINT (used to make a paper copy of a map) and Save to file, which creates a “jpeg” format picture of your map, suitable to email to a friend or for students to include in a report.

 


 Multi language feature

 

When you start the program you are asked to select a language. You can later change that with the options menu. All screen prompts change to the selected language, and the current map is redrawn with labels in the chosen language. The sample below shows Western Europe in Swedish.

 

 


 Map clicking

 

By clicking on the above map in the region of Utrecht, Holland, the following display will appear, showing the more than 50 geographical features in the region.

 

 

If you have the click feature set for measuring distances instead, you click on two points on the map and a display of the distance between them (straight line) will appear. You switch to distance measuring mode with the bottom left option in the settings menu.

 

 


 Speciality world maps

 

The world maps can display by geography, rainfall, elevation, language, population, density, temperature or time zones. Below is the language distribution map in French.

 


 City maps

 

The major cities of the world are actually collections of cities that have grown together, for example Greater Tokyo includes over 150 cities. These suburban cities can not be conveniently shown on country maps, so Geoworld has a set of regional maps of major cities that shows them. The highway map below shows an area of Germany known as the Rhine-Ruhr, with a collective population of over 7 million people, where numerous mid size cities are very close together.

 


 Saving and printing maps - student use

 

            You can save any map you create in Jpeg format, the universal map format. A special map folder under Geoworld is available to store maps. If saved at screen size this will be a rather large file and may be too large for inclusion in another document or student report. Geoworld provides for automatically resizing the map at 50 or 70% of the original size. The maps in this help file where all saved at 70% size. When saving, you can adjust the title bar at the bottom of the map to provide a highly descriptive name of the map.  Once saved, the map can then be added to a report by including it as a picture in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

 

            A map can also be printed without saving it, Geoworld provides for setting the margins of the printout and printing in either portrait or landscape mode. Landscape mode where the printout is sideways on a page is ideal for large maps, portrait for reports or to create a map folder for a trip. In that mode the printout will fill less than half the page, you can use the rest for notes.

 

            Geoworld is very easy to use, so a student from age 8 onward should be able to prepare a report for a school project on nearly any geographic related projects. The country lookup feature is ideal as a starting point for preparing a report on a specific country.

 


 Updating geoworld

 

The World is constantly in change. Populations, country leaders and even countries change. In order that  Geoworld will always stay current, a unique online update system is available. The program includes a built in web browser that will check for updates and automatically update the data base. We hope to do this on a yearly basis. The web browser also has links to other useful sites where you can get current information. The most important of these is the World Gazetteer site which has population statistics that are updated whenever new information is available. This help file will also be available on line.

 

 

A student doing a project on Croatia can quickly look up the most current information using the built in browser (assuming of course they are online at the time).

 


 Geographic Changes

 

    More than twenty new countries have come into being in the last ten years. These include all the former Soviet states and six regions of Yugoslavia, the division of Czechoslovakia, Sahara, East Timor and new South Pacific countries.  The world trend is towards separation along ethnic lines going back centuries.  Starting about 1989 there has been a trend towards multi-party free elections in many countries which were historically dictatorships. World wide satellite communication is the probable cause of this trend. Disillusionment that political freedom does not convert to economic success has set in Russia and South Africa.

 

 The new borders of the old Yugoslavia

 

    Many cities in the former Soviet Union have been renamed. Mostly notably Stalingrad has reverted to the historical name of St. Petersburg. The English spelling of many Chinese cities has also been changed, for example Peking is now Beijing. In general we use the English version of a name but where the native name is likely to be familiar to English speaking people we use it instead (Firenze for Florence is one example). Alternative spellings for cities are also listed in the database.


 American highway numbers

            Major American highways are known as interstate highways, they are designated with an “i” in front of the number in the route planner (e.g. i5) and are drawn in grey (sometimes double width) with a white highway number circle on maps. They are numbered from west to east with odd numbers from 5 to 95 for north - south highways and even numbers from 10 to 94 for east - west highways. These highways run predominantly in the direction indicated by the number, but several run diagonally in portions. However a lower number will always be to the south or west of a higher number. In a few places the highways follow each other, and then you may see two numbers on the same road. Three digit numbers are used either for a route around a city (first digit even) or a spur into a city (first digit odd), with the last two digits indicating the main highway number (295 would be a route from i95 into a city). You can expect all interstate highways to be divided and multi-lane, and not to pass directly thru a city (for simplicity we show them as going thru a city in most cases).

            There are also interstate roads, most older routes that existed prior to the interstate highway system. There numbering is the reverse of the interstate numbers, that is 2 is to the north, 99 to the south, 13 on the east coast, 99 and 101 on the west coast. These highways are usually good quality and in some cases are more direct than interstate highways, although they do pass thru cities and tend to be windy so will usually take 30% longer for the same distance as interstate highways. They are shown as black lines on maps with blue circles. They are used extensively in the route planner especially in the prairies and western states where the interstate highways are widely spaced. In the prairies they follow section boundaries straight north - south or east-west are prone to jogs from the normal direction at right angles.

            The maps and route planner also use some state highways, these are designated the same way as interstate roads on maps, however the numbering is repetitive between states, so we distinguish duplicate numbers with a letter at the end (13U for Utah).


 Canadian highway numbers

 There is no real scheme to Canadian highway numbers. They are given a yellow highway number circle and are designated with a “C” before the number in the route planner.  All are drawn with the grey color of American interstate highways, although only a few of them are truly fully divided multi lane highways. Numbers in the 200 range exist in the Maritimes, in the 400 range in Ontario and Quebec. The Trans-Canada highway goes from Victoria on Vancouver Island to St Johns, Newfoundland. It uses a number of highway designations including 17 in Ontario, 2 in New Brunswick and 104 in Nova Scotia, but the central portion we call C1 in the route planner, C1B on Vancouver Island and C1N in Newfoundland. There are ferry links from Nanaimo to Vancouver (F1A) and Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland (F1B). Other major highways include 16 across the northern prairies, 17 and 69 in Ontario, 100-104 in Maritimes, and all 400 highways. The remaining roads are primarily provincial roads similar to state roads in the use. A few of them continue the American numbering system across the border, but in most cases the number changes at the border even though the highway continues uninterrupted.

            Canadian speed limits and road distances are given in kilometers, although for consistency in the route planner we use miles as the primary distance measurement. Speed limits in Canada are lower than in the USA, normally 80 km/hr (50 m/hr) on secondary highways or 90 on major divided highways.


 EurAsia-Africa highway numbers

            European highways or motorways use the same numbering scheme as American interstate highways. They are drawn with a grey line and white circle on maps, and are designated with the letter “e” in front of the number in the route planner. The general design is somewhat different than in North America, with highways frequently splitting into secondary links at key cities, producing more of a trellis like pattern than the grid pattern of American highways. They are generally much closer spaced than American interstate highways in part because major cities are closer together. It is common to continue highways via ferry connections, the various sections of continued highways are given an additional letter at the end by the route planner (80w, 80 and 80e).

            There is no coordinated system of numbering in Asia or Africa, mostly the numbers used are my own for convenience in designing the route planner. However highway numbers in India (starting with 1) are actual route numbers. Elsewhere the designation is usually by countries (CH routes for China, RU for Russia, and KZ for Kazakhstan. In Africa I use L numbers for international routes or double letter country codes for routes within one country. There are very few paved highways in Africa, so the best quality roads get the red color which in Europe or North America would indicate a freeway. Green roads in Africa or Asia are ones that may not be open all year round or which may be closed for political reasons.


 Other highway numbers

            In South America there are well established route numbers in some countries, particularly Argentina and Brazil, and we have used those numbers when known. Other routes use my own numbers. One of particular interest is designated with the “PA” code and stretches from Mexico into South America. Unfortunately the road is not actually continuous, there is a stretch from Southern Panama to Ecuador where the swampy conditions make a road impossible, it is known as the Darien Gap (some older maps show this as a continuous route, but there never has been a highway). You can take a car into South America by boarding a ferry at Colon for Cartegna. This route however is slow due to bureaucracy and ferries do not run regularly. Travel on South American roads is better in general than in Asia or Africa, but some roads across the Andes are closed in winter, and some in the Amazon are not well maintained.

            In Australia all route numbers correspond to the real numbers, and most Australian roads of any variety are included in this program.