with Dr. Scott Drzyzga
Center for Land Use & Sustainability
Department of Geography-Earth Science
Shippensburg University


This course is designed to help you recognize and understand the many relationships that exist among the human and physical environments of the United States & Canada. We'll use regions and themes to explore these large countries and their natural resources, climates, human migration and settlement patterns, population structures, cultures and diversity, economic activities, and regional specializations. The student learning objectives for this general education course are aligned with the Department of Geography-Earth Science's mission and the University’s 'Category D' and 'Diversity' curricula.

The Essentials

The maps we'll use all semester

For use with Google Earth

I will post here the Google Earth files that I use during lectures. Feel free to download and play with them at home or in our computer labs. These materials can help you make those all important connections among the many different concepts, peoples, natural resources and economic activities that we are learning.

Explore the terrain and settlement geography of Appalachia.

Centralia, PA
Explore the terrain and settlement pattern in one of Pennsylvania's coal mining regions.

The Fall Line
The Fall Line is the generalized physiographic boundary between the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plains, which marks a transition from erosion-resistant bedrock (constitutes the Piedmont) and the erosion-vulnerable sediments of the coastal plains. Rapids and waterfalls tend to occur where rivers flow across this boundary. Early settlers gained substantial advantages by using waterfalls to provide water power to thier economic activities. The most successful Fall Line locations developed into cities that we still recognize today.

The NA Flavor and Fragrance Industry
Most of the firms in North America's flavor and fragrance industry have locations in the Megalopolis region, where they are proximate to chemical infrastructures, a variety of transport facilities and a highly educated labor market. Moreover, many firms that buy flavor and fragrance products in bulk also have locations in Megalopolis.

The legacies of three land survey and description systems
Explore patterns on the North American landscape that are the results of the English metes and bounds, French long lot, and American rectangular township and range systems for describing and surveying land. You can still see their footprints today.

Place names
Several easy examples that demonstrate how place names can yield information, albeit sometimes quirky, about their places.

Google Earth Major regions of the US & Canada
Interact with the regions described in your textbook Try it - it might help you learn them better and faster.


MS Excel (R) workbook for building graphs of population structure.

50 Maps of the music Americans love the most (expressed via geocoded YouTube views)

50 Maps of cultural regions in the USA (expressed via geocoded Facebook likes).