Mathematics in Geography 4: The Gravity Model
For students to benefit from this Mathematics in Geography 4 unit from the Continuing Mathematics Project they should be familiar with simple ratios and square roots, and with algebraic symbolism and quadratic equations. A fair amount of arithmetic is involved in the unit.
The objectives of the unit are;
(i) to introduce students to gravity, and to other mathematical models which represent the decay of the influence of a community upon other communities as the distance between them increases;
(ii) to enable students to calculate the position of 'breakpoints' between communities, and to find them by geometrical methods;
(iii) to enable students to construct a 'gravity potential map' of a given area between two sizeable towns, and to locate preference points and lines of preference on such a map;
(iv) to give students some idea of how the gravity model can be used to predict a particular set of transactions, such as commuting for work to a neighbouring town.
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