AP Human Geography Education
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Making National Geographic Maps

Making National Geographic Maps | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it

This map of Cuba, National Geographic's first map of Cuba in over 100 years, has an incredible backstory. 

 

While touring the National Geographic headquarters, the cartographer Juan Valdés (pictured here with me) told me the story of his early days living in Cuba before Castro,  Pictured is one of his 36 meticulous drafts produced to create this cartographic masterpiece of his home country.  To hear it in his own words, embedded in this link is a 18 minute video of his talk at National Geographic on Cuba and the production of the map.  The last 7 minutes are especially helpful for mapping students to see all the decisions and stages involved in creating a professional reference map.

 

Tags: cartography, mapping, National Geographic, Latin America, Unit 1 GeoPrinciples.


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Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 9:54 PM

For starters, these pictures were fascinating to look at. It was amazing to see how much time and effort goes in making just one map. The video was informative and really gives you an idea of the unique process that is being done. The pictures fascinated me the most though. You could just tell just by looking at the pictures that they take what they do seriously. Also, you can tell that they are passionate about what they do. You can especially tell that you yourself had a great time and that you were really interested in what was going on. It is really awesome that National Geographic interviewed you about your visit. In the video, it was nice that he started off with some background information about Cuba and the special times that he shared with his father that made him go into cartography. Overall, the pictures and the video were really a sight to see.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 11, 2015 10:11 PM

This was a great presentation. I cant imagine how long it must take to make an accurate map, especially when these cartographers are so passionate about their work and their craft.  You can tell that to be a cartographer, you must be extremely passionate and dedicated to your craft.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, April 16, 2015 4:58 PM

It's absolutely crazy to be that Juan Valdes had up to thirty-six different drafts of the map of Cuba, just to come up with the one, most accurate map of the country. When I see maps, I never think of how long it must have taken to get it exactly the way it is to be the most accurate map possible.  It also makes me wonder how completely accurate our maps are, because when comparing multiple, you can see slight differences.

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A Fight to Save One of Latin America's Oldest Neighborhoods

A Fight to Save One of Latin America's Oldest Neighborhoods | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Panama City, a plan to build a marine viaduct around a colonial-era neighborhood has residents up in arms...

 

Urban preservation, the historical geography of communities and the cultural character of the urban environment are themes that are deeply embedded in this quick yet potent article by geographer, Thomas Sigler. 


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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 12, 2014 11:34 PM

This is an issue that citizens and governments struggle with all around the world.  Spots like this one, which is "the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas", are treasured by residents, citizens, and tourists alike.  But when does a historical area need to adapt to growing populations (and therefore increasingly congested streets)?  Or should they at all?  Projects like these take a lot of time, effort, and money to complete.  When visual reminders of local history are taken away, it risks the chance of the knowledge of  the history being lost as well.  The funny thing is, this development is felt to be necessary in order to better accommodate large influxes of tourists which are attracted to this historical site, which if the development takes place, may ruin the charm of the neighborhood; it is a viscous cycle.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 29, 2014 2:23 PM

The preservation of this neighborhood is important for one's sense of place.  The marine viaduct would take away for the history that is embedded in Panama City. While a viaduct would be incredibly useful and profitable, i understand why residents would be concerned.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 10:23 PM

Just from looking at this picture, this doesn't really look like a bad neighborhood to live in, despite it being one of the oldest in Latin America. They wish to turn the old neighborhood into a highway with six lands of traffic. The neighborhood was founded back in 1673 by the Spanish Crown. It is described as a charming colonial-era World Heritage Site and as previously stated, the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast. The cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial architecture and majestic plazas have earned a considerable amount of international acclaim in the past 10 years, attracting tourists. Back and forth the debate goes about whether or not to demolish this neighborhood. A neighborhood resident and real estate agent has been fighting against the project. She got a group together and so far they have been successful at protesting and even meeting with the President to voice their opinion. At the moment, it is unclear at what the outcome will be.

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NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise

NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

 

Incredible paradigm shift as a skyscraper is converted from a symbol of wealth is occupied by squatters.  The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside.  A complex web of geographic factors need to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation.  The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

 


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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, February 22, 2013 12:35 AM
The fact that one resident featured in the video said she has "nothing to complain about" says a lot about the housing situation in Caracas. She didn't seem to think she deserved to live in a better environment- instead she accepts the unfinished skyscraper with rudimentary services and no sewage removal. It is a shame that Caracas hasn't been able to meet the housing demands of their growing population. I'm sure the issue is more complex, but it seems like this oil-rich nation should be able to build proper housing for its citizens. Also, 2,500 squatters is an astounding figure. Just to put it into perspective, my neighborhood (in Providence) has a total population of 2,669. I can't imagine all of us being crammed into one building without electricity, air conditioning, or proper plumbing.
Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 6, 2014 9:49 PM

 Incredible paradigm shift as a skyscraper is converted from a symbol of wealth to a building that is occupied by squatters.  The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside.  A complex web of geographic factors need to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation.  The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 11, 2014 12:23 PM

Squatters occupy a building that was constructed to symbolize great wealth in Venezuela including a landing pad on the roof and floors to occupy office buildings. Due to a financial crisis, the building was never finished and squatters have taken advantage of this empty building. There is no windows, plumbing or an elevator to reach the higher levels of this skyscraper. Because of this, many safety issues have risen, including deaths. There is no other place for these squatters to live, it has become their home and they are temporarily making the best of it.

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Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs

Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it

The financial crisis surrounding the Euro has led many to feel that supranational organizations and regional coalitions are more trouble than they are worth.  The OAS (Organization of American States-which the USA is a part of) may dissolve and the CELAC might be its successor.  The CELAC's (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) emergence shows that the United States "is declining in a region it once called its 'backyard.'"  Spain is also diminishing in influence among its former colonies are forging new economic and political ties while Mexico and Brazil are exerting more regional influence. 


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 21, 2013 10:04 PM

The United States influence is delining in an area it called "its back yard". Along the financial crisis causing this, it has also begun to declin Spains influence in there former colonies as well. I think this could be a good thing as far these areas finally getting out from under other countires control even though they have been free for so long. But it could be bad because know that they are doing things on their own what will they do   

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NPR: In The Hills Of Rio, Shantytowns Get A Makeover

Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is trying to remake its hundreds of favelas.

 

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?   


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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:02 PM

The facelift that Rio de Janeiro is receiving in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 is sapping up a large amount of Brazil's resources, resources that some lower class Brazilians argue should be allocated to improving roads or schools. The government led make-over reminds me of the upper-class driven gentrification of urban areas in places like NYC that were previously neighborhoods for lower-class residents. I don't think we will be able to understand the effects of this remodeling until after the Cup and the Olympics have come and gone. If Brazil keeps it up and continues to "improve" outlier areas, what will Brazil look like in 20 years?

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 16, 2013 1:04 PM

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?  

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:21 AM

I find it sad that although Rio de Janiero obviously has a huge socioeconomic gap between the wealthy and the poor, it takes the prospect of the World Cup and Olympics for them to act. Furthermore their solution to cover up their slums is short sighted and they refuse to look at the deep seeded roots of the issue.

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Border Economies: the Maquiladora Export Landscape

Border Economies: the Maquiladora Export Landscape | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it

Maquiladoras are a well-known example of developed countries outsourcing factory work that is cited as a factor leading to de-industrialization in the Northeastern USA.  While many geography classes discuss this macro spatial reorganization, this link challenges us to look at the micro spatial systems of maquiladoras that make them economically efficient.  Some good graphs, maps and images.  


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Derek Ethier's comment, September 20, 2012 10:15 PM
Developed countries outsourcing jobs has become largely beneficial for developing countries. In the case of Mexico, the residents are given new opportunities in manufacturing jobs that they may have never had before. The industrialization of the border area can only lead to increasing development and hopefully a better standard of living for citizens. Unfortunately, it has the exact opposite effect on the U.S., which is giving away jobs.
Joshua Choiniere's comment, September 26, 2012 11:14 AM
This article is displaying the postive and negative side effects that these Maquiladoras have upon the development of stronger economic economies for such countries as Mexico. These buisnesss that invest in the border of Mexico allow these towns/cities to grow and become industrilized. This provides low skill work for the people of Mexico but the logistics of the companies are still being done in the country that has invested in these places. This is good because it lets countries like the United States keep educated/high paying jobs in the States. The negative aspect is that the only jobs the Mexicans recieve are the low paying uneducated type. However still it has postives for both countries and its something we must get used to because its the way of the future.