The resources used in this application come primarily from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. This resource, which "anyone can edit," sometimes raises controversy. People wonder how it can be very authoritative if "just anyone" can edit it, but it actually offers some advantages over the usual bound editions of encyclopedias we may be more accustomed to. First, it is free, which is a great advantage in itself. Another great advantage is that it can be corrected and updated on a constant basis. We may not realize it, but inaccurate information exists even in the best bound encyclopedias, and once the information is bound up between those covers, it is there for good. Thus, rather than being less accurate, many times Wikipedia is more accurate than the bound editions.
Still, it usually is not a good idea for researchers to take all of their information from only one source. Researchers should try to determine the truth of a situation from consulting many sources. An exception was made in this case for convenience, and to expose students to this fairly new resource, which has been available only since 2001. See also this more extensive list of resources for more information.
Another great resource for those interested in geography is any of the aerial mapping Web sites available today. This application uses Google Maps, and Flash Earth, but there are many others. Both of these Web-based applications allow users to see the landforms and water courses as they would from above. The both allow users to zoom the view in or out and to click and drag the maps around to get the view users want. Google Maps allows users to select "Hybrid" mode, which superimposes highways, state boundaries, etc. onto an aerial photograph. The aerial photography used in Flash Earth, however, tends to be of a higher quality, and the user can manipulate it in more ways than with Google Maps. One thing to remember about Flash Earth is that it will come up the first time with a black box in the middle of the screen. You must click on this box to get a clear view of the scene below.
NOTE: As students make their way through the rest of this site, they should also explore most of the links presented within them. These links are very important to understanding the complex issues discussed in this resource.