HL Changing Space - The Shrinking World CASE STUDIES

A range of Case Studies useful for HL Geography - Changing Space - the Shrinking World

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Indian Railways - Good railways! :)

State-owned railway system - "Indian Railways"

World's largest commercial employer - 1.6 million employees

Began 1853 with only 42 lines - now very extensive

It also owns owns and runs companies for locomotives, coaches and their parts

However, suffers a defecit from passenger sector - makes loss, particularly in urban areas

So prices of freight transport are fairly expensive = losing business to roads

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African Railways - Bad railways!

Sparse railways & very little interconnectivity :( 17 countries have no railway!

Africa lacking in regional trade because of poor transport.... 

So: United Nations proclaimed 2 Transport and Communication Decades (78-88 , 91-2000)

But still role of railways declining :( People using roads


  • Inadequate infrasructure + finace
  • High transport costs
  • Inadequate safety and security
  • Poor consideration of environmental issues 
  • Undersuse of information and communication technologies

HOWEVER.. East African network better: links were made between areas of mineral wealth esp. Copper --> But links not extended to settlements :\ 

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Air Transport in Britain

1941 - Jet engine invented

Became UK's largest industry!

Problem : Was built in aftermath of WW2 = little money

Used in the military => the war allowed for innovations that developed now modern fighter and passenger planes

Aircraft were displayed at airshows - to sell to other countries

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Ocean Transport - APL Containerization

Before containers cargo was manhandled - had to individually place each item = damage and delays

Over last 40 years containers become more and more important

Created out of urgency: USA used during the war - efficiency

Containers kickstarted consumerism! 

APL = based in Singapore - Serve 105 countries!

Ships also become faster! - Began with steam, progressed to engines

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Call Centres - Extension of links and nodes

General Electric = US coorperation - 1990's began shifting 'back office' jobs to India--> OUTSOURCING

 Improvements in computer software and telocommunications = digital work can be shipped round the world via Satellite links and undersea cables & software packages like Microsoft = data easily interchanged


  • Outsourcing = increased profits - saves 20% on processing - wages in India lower
  • Provides better service - Indian graduates competing for call centre jobs 
  • More stable work force - people really want the jobs
  • Adds flexibility - time zone differences = 24 hours service-  high cost of night shift
  • INDIA - good quality English


  • business moved from deindustrialised areas e.g. Newcastle --> job losses
  • need for locals to adopt speech patterns and customs - lead to cultural issues
  • shifts stress and repetitive strain problems abroad
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Adoption of the Internet - GHANA (an LEDC)

One of the first countries in Africa to get internet connection - Started early 90's

Initially service ws limited to e-mail -- could send 3 times a week

Health institutions began using satellite technology

Full commercial internet access: 1995

Cyber cafe's been important in establishing private use - Mainly in Accra (Capital City) - most people cannot afford own individual access

All universities have Internet - but most students need to use cyber cafe's

Only very few secondary schools have acces, and nearly no primary school

However there is a 'Digital Divide':  Cities have access, rural areas very little if any

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Adoption of the Internet - USA (an MEDC)

  • 1969 - first sytem connecting universities
  • 1972 - electronic mail 
    • Used for mass marketing campaigns
  • 1989 - Word Wide Web created 
  • 1999 over 50% of worlds internet users are from USA

In the USA 70/100 use internet --> Asia = 10/100, Europe 38/100

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Comparison USA + GHANA internet


  • Quicker set up - only began early nineties --> needed drastic jump from very underdevloped to developed
  • Little privat recreational use - mainly business /educational
  • Little private access
  • Not taught in schools -> few schools have access


  • Slow - progressive developement -however more uses and it was the orginitating country - gradual implementation
  • Lots of recreational use
  • Nearly all people have private access
  • School-taugh IT
  • All students and schools have access
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