[Athena] [Curriculum] [Earth Resources]
Cartography -
the Art of Making Maps, the Science of Where You Are

Maps of Washington State

This false color image uses data from the Landsat satellite to show land cover. Information from different color sensors on the satellite is processed to show forests in green and deserts in red. The light blue regions are the highest mountains in Washington. Note: this is a different color scheme than the AVHRR image you saw in "Maps of North America and the USA."

Large Landsat image (499kb).

Activity 1: Follow the Rivers

In this outline map of Washington, the borders with Canada (north), Idaho (east), and Oregon (south) are shown in brown. Major rivers are drawn in blue.
The Columbia River forms the western part of Washington's border with Oregon to the south. Major tributaries to the Columbia are the Cowlitz, Yakima, and Snake Rivers. Using the map as a reference, find the courses these rivers in the Landsat image at the top of the page.
  1. Columbia (follow this river until it reaches the northern edge of the desert in central Washington)
  2. Cowlitz
  3. Yakima
  4. Snake
You might want to use the large Landsat image (499kb) for this activity.

The habitat maps in the following activities are from the Washington State Gap Project. The goal of this project is to identify species and their habitat and recognize potential loss of habitat that could endanger them. Rather than hike over the whole state, Gap Project personnel went to a very large number of places in the state and counted the number of animals they found. They then used the Landsat map to determine similar habitat and combined this data with the field work to generate the maps.

Activity 2: Toads and Snakes

These maps are for the Western Toad and the Western Rattlesnake. Green areas are "core zones," where the species is most likely to be found. They are also sometimes found in the yellow "peripheral zones." The black points are places where Gap scientists digitized data to create the map. The red points are places where the map was checked after it was made.

1. Compare these two habitat maps to the Landsat image at the top of this page. Consider the type of environment toads and snakes like and match each map to the species it represents. (Hint: toads are amphibians, which means that they spend part of their time on land and part of the time in water.)

2. Explain your choice.

3. Is the Western Toad likely to be food for the Western Rattlesnake? Why or why not?

Map A: Toad or Snake?
Map B: Snake or Toad?

Activity 3: Eagles and Sparrows

These maps are for the Bald Eagle and the House Sparrow. The brownish areas represent places where the species are most likely to be found.

1. Compare these two habitat maps. Consider the types of food eaten by Bald Eagles and House Sparrows and match each map to the species it represents. (Hint: Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen along rivers diving for salmon.)

2. Explain your choice.

3. Neither bird seems to live in the highest mountain ranges (compare the habitat maps to the Landsat image at the top of the page). Why do you think that is?

Map A: Eagle or Sparrow?
Map B: Sparrow or Eagle?

Zoom down to Puget Sound Maps.
Zoom back up to Maps of North America and the USA.

Image Credits

Image and Habitat Maps - University of Washington Gap Analysis Project.
Bald Eagle and House Sparrow Maps courtesy Michael Smith.

Line Map - Xerox PARC Map Viewer.

Related Information

Written by: Rob Westcott, Hugh Anderson, and Lorraine Johnson.

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Last Modified Fri Jan 24 23:22:04 1997