A lot of these guides have great information however none tell you where the 7 checkpoints are at in the first level.
I had to do some clicking at soniczone0.com but here are the maps.Emerald Hills Zone 1Emerald Hills zone 2
Because of their size these pictures start small but if you click on them you will be able to zoom in. If you need more detail you can zoom in on your browser.
The great thing with these maps is they have the directions on how to get to the checkpoint so all you have to do is find them on the maps. Emerald Hills 1 has three checkpoints while zone 2 has 5 checkpoints.