5.1 Political Borders, Boundaries, and Barriers

Ask: Why are boundaries important?

Step 1: To go the ArcGIS Online map, Borders, Boundaries, and Barriers, and explore the map.

Step 2: Zoom and pan the map to see the entire world.

  • Political boundaries exist to divide the land and establish territory. What types of boundaries are on the earth?

Acquire: What are examples of the different types of boundaries on the earth?

Step 3: With the Details button underlined, click the button, Show Contents of Map (Content).

Step 4: Check the box to the left of the layer name, World Administrative Divisions.

Step 5: Zoom in to the continent of Europe.

  • What types of boundaries can be seen?

Step 6: Click a few administrative units to view the data.

Step 7: Hover the mouse over the layer name, World Administrative Divisions. Click the three dots and select the option, Transparency. Set the transparency of the layer to 50 percent.

  • Where do you see geometric boundaries?
  • Where do you see physical boundaries?

Explore: Are borders just boundaries?

  • Disputed boundaries are often shown with dotted lines or notes on the map itself. On which boundaries do countries disagree?

Step 8: Filter the data in the World Administrative Divisions layer.

Step 9: Build the following query from the drop-down lists: Disputed Is 1. Ensure that Unique is chosen for the third drop-down list.

Step 10: Click Apply Filter. If results do not appear, ensure that the map is zoomed in enough that the layer name appears in the dark text.

  • What changed on the map?
  • Most disputed boundaries occur because of political and social instability, territorial disputes, and natural resource disputes. Where are most of the disputed boundaries of the world located?

Step 11: Turn off the layer, World Administrative Divisions.

Analyze: What other types of boundaries exist on the earth?

Step 12: Click the button, Basemap. Select the basemap, Imagery with Labels.

Step 13: Click the button, Bookmark. Select the Great Wall of China.

  • What barrier do you see? This barrier was used to slow invading northern armies.

Step 14: Click the Republic of Chile bookmark.

  • What type of border can be found here?

Step 15: Observe the border of Chile with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this border?

Step 16: Click the North and South Korea bookmark.

  • What type of boundary is between these two countries?

Act: How can borders change?

Step 17: Investigate the boundary of Western Sahara and Morocco. If Morocco controlled the region, conflict from the increased territory would occur.

  • What natural, cultural, or political factors can affect boundaries.
  • How have trade and globalization affected borders and boundaries of countries around the world?

License

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Human Geography Lab Manual by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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