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Developing Spatial Literacy
Learning the spatial skills of Geography
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What are Continents?

This is not as straightforward a question as you might think. 


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Flowstrates: Analyzing refugee flows between two regions

This video is a demonstration of Flowstrates, a visualization technique for exploring the temporal changes in origin-destination data (e.g. migrations, movem...

 

The video shows the flow of refugees: where are they coming from and where are they going to?  What explains some of these patterns? 


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Location always matters!

Location always matters! | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

Even the three little pigs need to know the basic tenets of geography.


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Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 7:57 AM

This image has a lot to do with geograpy because of where the pig placed his new home. Location is key when deciding where to place a building or home. If a new mall is being built they want to make sure they put it in a popular area where people are like in a city.  In this example the pig placed his home right next to  a sausage factory where this factory could use him to make sausage. He probably should have built his home in an area away from the factory like in a neighborhood. 

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The Prime Meridian: Natural or Cultural?

The Prime Meridian: Natural or Cultural? | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

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mderder's comment, February 19, 2012 2:04 PM
The system works fine as is. Maybe down the line, when it would be far easier to quickly change the global coordinate system, this thing would be feasible. Now, though, it would needlessly entail a huge amount of labor. Just think of all the PRINTED materials which could cause confusion. You would have to change out EVERY chart on EVERY seagoing vessel in the WORLD. That, all by itself, is an enormous task, and in some areas would be economically prohibitive. Charts are NOT cheap. In the future, when everything is linked up and digital, it would be much easier. Now it would be a disaster. Some people don't think things through.
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Asia is the world's largest petroleum consumer

Asia is the world's largest petroleum consumer | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Energy Information Administration - EIA - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S.

 

This goes nicely with the carbon footprint data that was recently posted.  Although that was data aggregated at the national level and this is on the 'world realms' level, many of the same patterns are visible without the same specificity. 


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Body Mass Index (BMI) by Country

Body Mass Index (BMI) by Country | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
This map shows World trends in age-standardized mean Body Mass Index (BMI) 199 countries over 28 years. The worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, according to a project that tracked risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

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Finding the flotsam: where is Japan's floating tsunami wreckage headed?

Finding the flotsam: where is Japan's floating tsunami wreckage headed? | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

Scientists model where and when the debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami will be.  The likelihood that the debris (not radioactive) will reach the U.S. west coast is increasingly likely.  Look at the great video attached to the article.   


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Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 10:47 PM

It will be very interesting to see if this floating pile of junk actually reaches the west coast of the United States.  It seems possible that it could, but some of the scientists and other experts believe that it could also break up and sink before it reaches us.  One of my questions going in was whehter or not the wreckage was radioactive?  Luckily it is not radioactive and that should not be a concern for anyone. 

Brett Sinica's curator insight, December 10, 2013 2:02 PM

This video showed time elasped which stopped in the summer of 2013, it is now December.  At the time of the video the mass was entering the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean so I'm curious to where it is now.  I can't find any current imagery of the vast ocean but it would be a neat, yet dangerous spectacle.  I could only imagine any of the harm it's causing on the sealife on its way across the pacific.  We can only hope that doesn't bring too many issues once it washes up on the west coast, if at all.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 3:09 PM

Hopefully none of the wreckage that reaches the US is radioactive.... But the projected travel of the debris shows how ocean currents create, almost, a "natural" globalization of natural disasters. 

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How Big is my World?

This type of mapping project is a fantastic way to teach scale to elementary school students. 


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QGIS

QGIS | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

Do you want to use GIS but don't have the budgetary support to install expensive software?  Don't know where to start?  QGIS is a free, open-source GIS that is a nice option for schools operating on a limited budget that still want a full GIS platform.

 

Here is an excellent set of video screencasts that are an introduction to what GIS is, using the QGIS software: http://linfiniti.com/dla/ .  This site also has sample data, tutorials and worksheets.

 

Another excellent tutorial for novices to GIS is found here: http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/qgis-basics-journalists/ .  This tutorial was especially designed for journalists creating maps, and walks you through the installation process as well as some of the basics of the user interface.

 

Many small city governments without the budget to run proprietary GIS software use QGIS and here is a repository of QGIS resources including blogs, forums, tutorials and user manuals: http://www.townshipgis.org/resources/qgis ; An excellent blog with QGIS tutorials is: http://qgis.spatialthoughts.com/


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Interactive Map: Economic Stress Index

Interactive Map: Economic Stress Index | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This is a great interactive feature focusing on the differential impacts of the economic downturn on particular places.  You can zoom in, see county-level data, and slide the time bar at the bottom to get spatiotemporal data.    


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The sun never sets... on the Facebook Empire

The sun never sets... on the Facebook Empire | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
How Facebook connections mirror old empires EIGHT years ago Facebook launched as an online social network connecting a small college community from a dorm room at Harvard University.

 

These graphics show how in a post-colonial world, former colonies are still socially intertwined in a cultural network that mirrors the empires of yesteryear. Why are these modern social networks so similar to imperial patterns? What economic explanations are there for these patterns? What is the cultural impact?


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Lona Pradeep Parad's curator insight, May 29, 8:38 AM

How fb has made physical distance obsolete, connecting cultures to different cultures on a global scale.

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International Fast Food Consumption

International Fast Food Consumption | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This cartogram shows the distribution of one major fast food outlet brand (McDonalds's). By 2004 there were 30,496 of these McDonald's worldwide with 45% located in the United States.  The next highest number of these outlets are in Japan, Canada and Germany.

 

The world average number of outlets of this one brand alone is 5 per million people. In the United States there are 47 per million people; in Argentina and Chile the rate is a tenth of the American rate; the rate in Indonesia, China and Georgia is a hundredth of the American rate. In all the territories of Africa there were only 150 outlets: mostly in South Africa.  What does this say about consumption, economics, development, globalization and branding? Search http://worldmapper.org for more excellent cartograms. 


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The world map of chocolate (made out of chocolate)

The world map of chocolate (made out of chocolate) | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
You may be focussing on chocolate over the weekend - but where does it come from? A global trade analysed. In chocolate (this is what maps are made for!

 

What is the geography of chocolate like?  There is a dark side (no pun intended) to the production of cocoa in many places such as West Africa. 


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Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 6:53 PM

Very cool map. I have never really paid attention to where my chocolate came from before. 

ethne staniland's curator insight, May 16, 2013 8:33 AM

Interesting for our KS1 chocolate topic.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 10, 2013 2:43 PM

We all love chocolate.  We all love diamonds and jewels.  In western worlds, these items are easily come by in grocery stores and elsewhere, but what got them there was a challenge.  People in poorer tropical regions around the world worked to get the raw goods of these delicate items we all enjoy.  The payout difference is immense from cocoa to chocolate.  It is sometimes a very crooked market where if it wasn't for the hard working people who get the raw ingredients, chocolate as we know it wouldn't be the same.

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Next Supercontinent Will Amaze You

Next Supercontinent Will Amaze You | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Fifty million to 200 million years from now, geologists expect Earth's continents to smash together into one big supercontinent, just as they've done repeatedly in our planet's distant past — and a new computer model suggests that the Arctic Ocean...

 

This graphic displays the fluidity of the plate tectonic systems, and instead of thinking about what happened during the era of the dinosaurs, looking into the future provides an interesting perspective the dynamism of Earth systems (Disclaimer: this is one possibility on what might happen, there are other possible outcomes).  In human geography, I use this map to discussion the concept of region: regions are not static, but the the Earth is put together is (sometimes literally) shifting beneath our feet. 


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The 10 Most Expensive Streets in the USA

This video models how to conduct a lesson in urban geography using ArcGIS online (produced by the ESRI education team).  Specifically, this exercise examines the spatial context of the 10 most expensive streets in the USA.  


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Spatial History Project

Spatial History Project | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

The Spatial History Project at Stanford puts together some fantastic geovisualization that is an awesome site that allows you or your kids to spatial and temporally the diffusion of Nazi concentration camps.  It has some clickable 'GIS-like' layers to help students contextualize the data and to make some important interdisciplinary connections.  Originally spotted on http://ushistoryeducatorblog.blogspot.com/


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Distance To McDonald’s

Distance To McDonald’s | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This map answers a few simple questions:  How far away is the nearest McDonald's?  Where is the concentration of McDonald's highest or lowest?  While population density is the immediate pattern that we identify, what else can this map show us?   


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Kalin B.'s comment, November 5, 2012 8:27 AM
Diffusion and globalization are truly forces to be reckoned with.
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Old Maps Online

Old Maps Online | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This is a fantastic archive for historical geographer in search of old maps.  This database is has both a timeline to specify a time period and a map to search particular regions.  


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The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained


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chris tobin's comment, March 22, 2013 1:43 PM
Very clarifying information.......narrator really speaks quickly, like he just drank 5 pots of coffee and has to catch a plane or something...The You Tube Video 'Coffee The Greatest Addiction Ever' pops up next to his video
chris tobin's comment, March 22, 2013 1:43 PM
Very clarifying information.......narrator really speaks quickly, like he just drank 5 pots of coffee and has to catch a plane or something...The You Tube Video 'Coffee The Greatest Addiction Ever' pops up next to his video
Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:10 PM

A great and entertaining way to explain this part of Europe.  I know I have in the past used the terms England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom to all refer to the same thing. It was also amazing to see that people are the same everywhere in that the people in Wales do not consider themselves British, much the same way the people in Sicily consider themselves Sicilain and not Italian. 

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What Geography Can Teach Us About Basketball

What Geography Can Teach Us About Basketball | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Maps That Show NBA Players Where to Shoot...

 

What is considered a good play or a bad play in most sports is situational and depends on context.  One of the many contexts in basketball that determines that constitutes 'a good shoot' is where you are on the court in relation to the hoop.  In essence, this is a spatial factor, and spatial analysis is critical to informing sports strategy and a geography professor did just that in this study.  In this month of March, mentioning sports in a geographic context might help students see how spatial analysis matters is a wide range of subjects.


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CoreyMabray's curator insight, January 13, 5:24 AM

What seems like a good shot to you might not technically described as a good shot. Where you are in comparison to the basket will determine whether it is a good shot or not. whether or not you are squared up facing the basket when you shoot is a factor on how consistent your shot will be.

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Sporcle: Geography Quizzes

Sporcle: Geography Quizzes | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
The best trivia games and quizzes on the internet.

 

With over 800 games and quizzes on this site with varying skill levels, there is something for everyone here.  Some are standard quizzes such as "European Countries" or "Asian capital cities."  However some get you to reorganize your global knowledge in ways you've never considered.  For example, What is the most populous city in the world for each given time zone (not that easy right)? 

 


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Mapping the Anthropocene

Mapping the Anthropocene | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

As follow-up to an earlier post about how we have enter the age of the Anthropocene, this stunning map is a fantastic visual representation of the forces that merit the dawning of a new geologic age.  This map depicts the lights at night, major roads, railways power lines, oversea cables, airline routes and shipping lanes.  It also expands the areas according to population size.  For more on the production of this map, see the Globaia website: http://globaia.org/en/anthropocene/

 

Spotted on Living Geography: http://livinggeography.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-map-of-anthropocene.html


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Santorum Sees Divide Between Rural and Urban America

Santorum Sees Divide Between Rural and Urban America | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

The 2012 election are showing again some of the cultural, political and economic divides that exist in the United States.  This above map portrays the 2008 presidential election, with counties that voted for McCain in red and Obama in blue.  Rick Santorum has said, in reference the political map of the United States today, "Think about it, look at the map of the United States...it's almost all red except around the big cities."  Rick Santorum, by taking on “blue” big cities, is also criticizing the Republicans, his own party. This political portray is an attempt to accentuate the difference between rural and urban America to hit his key demographic, but it also begs for further analysis into the electoral geography of the United States.  As some social media skeptics have retorted, "It's all blue except where nobody lives."  Which is it?  What do these patterns say about United States politics?  Why do these patterns exist?  For more maps that shed light on the spatial voting patterns from the 2008 election, see:  http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/462087007/2008-election-maps


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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 10, 2013 7:50 PM

Senator Santorum has made a good point here. For years his party (and even the other) have been redistricting their states in order to gain advantages in state elections.  It has been common knowledge which areas are leaning red and which are blue.  Yet nobody seems to be trying to strenghten their base in weaker areas. One thing that would've helped immensely is if the Republicans had strengthened their support among immigrants and African Americans. They heavily populate these urban areas that Republicans need support in in order to strengthen their base.

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Video tutorial: How to use geteach.com

This provies the basic overview of the layout and function of http://geteach.com .  The video unlocks some great features that are not intended to be hidden, but many first time visitors tend to miss.

 

This is a phenomenal site, designed by an AP teacher to bring geospatial technologies into the classroom in a way that is incredibly user-friendly. This site allows you to use Google Earth with clickable layers. With multiple data layers of physical and human geography variables, this interactive globe puts spatial information in powerful, yet fun, student-inspired platform.


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Ultimate factories: Coca Cola

nat geo programme about the coke factory and the manufacturing process of coke...

 

Where is Coca Cola produced?  Some products are bulk losing some are bulk gaining in the manufacturing process.  Coca Cola and their containers represent bulk gaining products.  Although not the focus of this video, what is the geography behind where these factories are located?  How would this geographic pattern change if this were are bulk losing industry?  What are examples of bulk gaining and bulk losing industries?  Why are glass bottles not manufactured in the United States? 


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Kamaryn Hunt's comment, October 7, 2013 3:32 PM
As consumers, we never pay THAT much attention to how theproduct is manufactured, but only what's in it. Seeing this vide makes me wonder how many other well-known products are manufactured??
megan b clement's curator insight, October 31, 2013 8:40 AM

"The video displays the maufacturing and distribution of the Coca Cola product globally. Goal is to put Coke in all hands and they need ultimate factories for distribution. For non-alcoholic beverage market Coke is number 1. They produce 800 servings a day and Coke does about 670 billion dollars in sales a year. There recipe is the best kept secret, they use words like natural flavors that help keep the recipe a secret. Logistics, cheap labor, and cheap transportation are key to maximize every dollar. "

Denise Pacheco's curator insight, December 17, 2013 9:57 AM

I can't believe how much money this company makes in a single year. The people in this country must have some serious kidney stones lol. But on a serious note, this company definately has a good strategy on how to minimize cost transportation, because to transport 4.5 million servings that Coca Col makes in a single day, let alone, a year, must be quite expensive and time consuming. Not to mention that they distribute their products in 206 countries, they legit serve 99% of mankind. No wonder they make $670 Billion.