We've seen a world map made of each country's coins before. Here's another currency map that uses images of each country's bills...And of course I'm going to enjoy this.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Trying to understand what’s actually going on in the world’s climate seems like it might be truly impossible. For one thing, there are so many different factors at work. Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future. That also means there’s absolutely no use in looking at each piece individually … to understand what’s really going on, the climate jigsaw puzzle needs to be complete.
That, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, is where climate modeling comes in. The discipline synthesizes data from multiple sources, including satellites, weather stations, even from people camping in the Arctic and submitting measurements of the ice they see around them. Climate modeling, Schmidt says, gives us our best chance of understanding the bigger picture of the world around us. 'We take all of the things we can see are going on, put them together with our best estimates of how processes work, and then see if we can understand and explain the emergent properties of climate systems,' he says. These four silent animations show what he means."
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
America has more than 5,000 prisons. This is what they look like on our landscape.
Begley’s images capture the massive scale of this entire industry and the land that we devote to it (America has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners). His website, in fact, includes only about 14 percent of all of the prisons he’s captured (each one is scaled to the same size).
"MyLifeElsewhere allows you to compare your home country with different countries around the world. Ever wonder what your life would be like if you were born somewhere else?"
Did you know that with 1/30th the territory of the United States, Norway still has over 25% more coastline? I didn't either until I compared Norway to the United States using My Life Elsewhere. This site is designed allow United States students to imagine how their lives might be different if they were born in a different part of the world. Students would probably die 21 years earlier if they were born in Liberia and 11 times more likely to have died in infancy. Students would be 43.8% less likely to grow up and be unemployed and have 36.3% less babies if they were born in Taiwan. This side-by-side format is a great way to help students help make these statistics real and meaningful. One major drawback: this site only allows users to compare a country to the United States. If you prefer to have students compare, say Cuba to the United Arab Emirates, I would recommend that you try If It Where My Home.
"Data is great, but working with numbers can be intimidating. We have more data than ever before that is available to us, and graphs, charts, and spreadsheets are ways that data can be shared. If that data has a spatial element to it, the best way to visualize a large dataset might just be a map."
There really are two different Americas: the heartland, and the coasts....
These maps together show that most of the grain from the American breadbasket does not directly on the table but into the feed trough. I imagined before I saw this data that the percentage of animal feed in the Midwest would be higher than the rest of the United States, but I would not have guessed that it was that high.
"China is in the midst of a crackdown on what it describes as 'terrorism driven by religious extremism'. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China's Uighur ethnic minority who are predominantly Muslim."
China does not have a good track record of dealing with ethnic and religious minorities and the murals that can be seen in Xinjiang are a testament to that fact. This has led to many Muslims in Western China being attracted to more radical ideas. While I certainly don't condone radicalism nor China's heavy-handed tactics, I am fascinated by the cultural messages that are strategically being placed in the landscape to influence the politics and culture of the region.
"The large landslide that occurred in March near Oso, Washington was unusually mobile and destructive."
There are several reasons for landslides--some are purely a result of physical geography and others are related to land use patterns. The landslide in Washington state last year was a combination of the two (see on map) and it is a good teaching moment to discuss the environmental impacts of land use patterns and resource extraction projects. As seen in this interactive, the river was cutting at the base of the hill, while loggers were clear-cutting at the top of the mountain. Trees help prevent erosion as the roots hold the soil in place--a critical piece to the puzzle in a very rainy climate. With $1 million worth of timber on the slope, logging companies persisted despite objections from the Department of Natural Resources and some restrictions (but in hindsight, those restrictions clearly were not enough). Watch a simulation of the landslide here.
Questions to Consider: Other than economic worth, what other ways are there to value and evaluate the environment? How could this landscape have been protected and managed better or was this landslide inevitable?
Take a tour through America's immigrant heritage — at its most and least welcoming
American politicians, and Americans themselves, love to call themselves "a nation of immigrants": a place where everyone's family has, at some point, chosen to come to seek freedom or a better life. America has managed to maintain that self-image through the forced migration of millions of African slaves, restrictive immigration laws based on fears of "inferior" races, and nativist movements that encouraged immigrants to assimilate or simply leave.
But while the reality of America's immigrant heritage is more complicated than the myth, it's still a fundamental truth of the country's history. It's impossible to understand the country today without knowing who's been kept out, who's been let in, and how they've been treated once they arrive.
The Choices Leadership Institute is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Choices Program’s award-winning curriculum materials and approach, and to plan strategies for introducing the Choices Program to your colleagues. Participants will examine strategies for engaging secondary students in the study of contested international issues, share best practices with other dedicated teachers, and explore methods for conducting effective professional development. The Institute will be held July 13-17, 2015 in Providence RI and the deadline to apply will be March 16, 2015. Click here to apply.
This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) is a classic--how often does cartography plays a key role in the plot of a TV show? In this episode the fictitious (but still on Facebook) group named "the Organization of Cartographers for Social Justice" is campaigning to have the President officially endorse the Gall-Peters Projection in schools and denounce the Mercator projection. The argument being that children will grow up thinking some places are not as important because they are minimized by the map projection. While a bit comical, the cartographic debate is quite informative even if it was designed to appear as though the issue was trivial.
Questions to Ponder: Why do map projections matter? Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest?
"This map shows Human Development Index (HDI) for 169 countries in the World. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living for countries worldwide. The HDI sets a minimum and a maximum for each dimension, called goalposts, and then shows where each country stands in relation to these goalposts, expressed as a value between 0 and 1, where greater is better. The Human Development Index (HDI) measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: health, knowledge and standard of living."
In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.
Kunstler passionately argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement. We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems.
Question to Ponder: How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place? What elements are necessary? Warning: He uses some strong language.
"In the United States, there is a long tradition of trying to draw sharp lines between ethnic groups, but our ancestry is a fluid and complex matter. In recent years geneticists have been uncovering new evidence about our shared heritage, and last week a team of scientists published the biggest genetic profile of the United States to date, based on a study of 160,000 people."
Race is a cultural construct; even though it is incredibly problematic, it is a powerful way in which we think of who we are and how others think of who we are.
Questions to Ponder: What are some problems with putting too much stock in race? Why does the idea of race still matter so much in the United States?
More complex international borders in this follow up to part 1.
In this video I look at even more enclaves and exclaves."
This video (like part 1) shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated. Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video) on these complex borders:
I'm a sucker for online quizzes like this one that shows only the grid outlines of particular cities. This isn't just about knowing a city, but also identifying regional and urban patterns. What are some other fun trivia quizzes? GeoGuessr is one of the more addictive quizzes where 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" are shown and you have to guess where. Smarty Pins is a fun game on Google Maps that tests players' geography and trivia skills. In this Starbucks game you have to recognized the shape of the city, major street patterns and the economic patterns just to name a few (this is one way to make the urban model more relevant). If you want quizzes with more direct applicability in the classroom, click here for online regional quizzes.
"The position [that belief in God is essential to morality] is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East. At least three-quarters in all six countries surveyed in Africa say that faith in God is essential to morality. People in richer nations tend to place less emphasis on the need to believe in God to have good values than people in poorer countries do."
An important part of the geography of religion is how the non-religious are treated and perceived around the world. More secular countries tend to be more developed, affluent and wealthy; generally speaking these are the countries that do not believe that morality and a belief in God have to be linked together. What do you think? What cultural perspectives shape your thinking?
"Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day, for science research, education and public outreach. The photos are often dramatic, and help us all appreciate home planet Earth. These images help astronauts share their experience, and help you see Earth from a global perspective."
As a British expat who has lived and worked in the U.S. for over five years, I remain very much in favor of embracing the various wonderful nuances this country has to offer. However, there was one aspect of my move that—during the initial settling-in period—I secretly feared: the gradual Americanization of my vocabulary.
While this list was created for English speakers in the UK, I will invert the list to show some terms that Americans rarely use, even if we understand their meaning: rubbish, mobile, motorway, petrol, car park, you lot, maths, pavement, football and fizzy drink. If this interests you so will this list of 10 British insults that American don't understand.
"The ships, railroads, and trucks that transport containers worldwide form the backbone of the global economy. The pace of globalization over the last sixty years has accelerated due to containers; just like canals and railroads defined earlier phases in the development of a global economy. While distance used to be the largest obstacle to regional integration, these successive waves of transportation improvements have functionally made the world a smaller place. Geographers refer to this as the Space-Time Convergence."
I've posted here several resources about the global economy and the crucial role that containers play in enabling globalization. In this article for National Geographic Education, I draw on many of these to to put it all in one nice container.
Geographers or anyone with a history of geography education or practice have special skills that can enhance their resumes across nearly all career options. From GIS skills to graphic design to multiculturalism, here are eight ways to market your geography experience as viable job skills.
Last year, Julie and I wrote this article for Maps 101 (which was also created into a podcast) about the historical and geographic significance of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King fought racial segregation, which, if you think about it, is a geographic system of oppression that uses space and place to control populations. Derek Alderman and Jerry Mitchell, excellent educators and researchers, produced lesson plans to help students investigate the politics behind place naming, specifically using the case study of the many streets named after Martin Luther King.
Questions to Ponder: Why are streets named after Martin Luther King found in certain places and not in others? What forces and decisions likely drive these patterns? What is the historical legacy of Martin Luther King and how is it a part of certain cultural landscapes?
Yes, these globes are precise archives filled with geospatial data and locational information--however, that pales in comparison to the artistic brilliance of the globes. These hand-crafted globes are truly works of art. Marvel at the merger of mathematical precision and artistic design that makes a globe such as these a cartographic gem. If anybody want to get me a Christmas present, you know that I love cartographic gifts.