This interactive requires WebGL (viewable in Chrome). Even more compelling than the data is the visualization platform.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Your neighborhood just got a lot more interesting. Google has released a new feature for Maps that lets you turn any location into a game of Pac-Man — all you have to do is click the new Pac-Man button that resides in the lower left corner of the screen. When you do, whatever section of the world you're looking at will transform into the pixelated arcade classic, complete with four colorful ghosts and the iconic music.
In strictly economic terms, sprawl is inefficient. Spread people out, and it takes them longer to drive where they need to go, and it costs them more in gas money to get there. Disperse a few people over a lot of land, and that land is used inefficiently, too. Then give those people roads and sewers — you’d need a lot more of both to serve 20 households living over a square mile than 20 on the same block. And that's to say nothing of the costs of fire and police service when people live far apart.
These costs add up, in both private budgets and public ones. It’s a messy thought exercise to contemplate tallying them, akin to trying to calculate the productivity America wastes by sitting in traffic every year. How do you measure, for instance, the saved health care costs in a community where many people walk for transportation every day? How do you quantify the pleasure gained from a big yard that offsets any of these costs?
"Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…"
Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there. Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision. Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.' These articles from the Society Pages, the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses. This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.' Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).
Between rampant racial inequality and Ebola outbreaks, South African comedian Trevor Noah admits he hesitated to visit a country as underdeveloped as America.
Since social media is buzzing with the news that Trevor Noah is replacing Jon Stewart as the host of the Daily Show, I wanted to show a geographically themed clip from one of Trevor's previous correspondence pieces on the show. This clip was filmed during the height of the Ebola hysteria and Ferguson protests; the main topic is misconceptions in the United States about Africa. His life itself is a portal into mixed South African geographies.
Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in recent history. And these trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life.
A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share who are ideologically consistent has doubled: 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy and many others.
The relatively recent decline of music industry, as well as the newspaper industry, are good examples to teach the concept of creative destruction. As jobs are created through new emerging technologies, older jobs will be rendered obsolete and be 'destroyed.' While many bemoan the loss of particular jobs as regrettable, it is a part of globalization of economic geography that as jobs are created with new technologies, other jobs disappear. Indoor plumbing meant the death of the water-carrying guilds (while I might be sad they lost their jobs, I'm keeping my plumbing). The trick is to make these transitions smooth and to prepare the labor force to have skills that the new economy will demand so that individual families and workers aren't casualties of this 'creative destruction' process.
"How well do you know your Saskatchewan slang? At Insightrix in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, we've got the prairies down flat!"
Here's an entertaining clip on different regionalized vocabularies and a hint of accent confusion thrown in there. The portrayal is over the top, but it's all local vocabulary that life-long residents certainly understand. Here's 320 more Canadian slang terms for you (scroll to the bottom).
"In the heart of Thailand’s most populous city, an oasis stands out from the urban landscape like a great “green lung.” That’s the nickname given to Bang Kachao—a lush protected area that has escaped the dense development seen elsewhere in Bangkok. The city is built on the alluvial plain of the Chao Phraya River. Toward the southern end, near the Gulf of Thailand, is an old meander that never quite formed an oxbow lake. That meander traces the boundary of Bang Kachao, which TIME magazine once called the 'best urban oasis' in Asia. According to a travel story in The New York Times, Bang Kachao is gaining popularity among tourists lured by bike tours, a floating farmers’ market, and the relaxed atmosphere."
London to New York City by car? It could happen if the head of Russian Railways has his way.
As Asya Pereltsvaig, the author of Languages of the World, wrote: "That's what happens when Russia's main problems, fools and roads (дураки и дороги), are combined..." It's the opposite idea of the summer road trip that is designed to hit all the major tourist sites.
Questions to Ponder: What are the pros and cons of this project? What would it take to actually happen? This map is a Mercator Projection--would a different map change your perspective on the feasibility of the project?
"In Highland Park, as in other Latino barrios of Los Angeles, gentrification has produced an undeniable but little appreciated side effect: the end of decades of de facto racial segregation. It's possible to imagine a future in which 'the hood' passes into memory. Racial integration is on the upswing. For all the fortitude and pride you'll find in Latino barrios, no one wants to live in a racially segregated community or attend a racially segregated school."
iScore5, the app for AP Human Geography is now available in the Apple Store for $4.99. With five levels of questions at increasing difficulty, bonus and double bonus rounds and a study mode with extensive vocabulary, APHG students and teachers alike will find this a great test prep resource and a fun and engaging way to help students earn that 5 (open disclosure--I was a part of the team that developed content for the app, but am NOT receiving any money for promoting it. I'm sharing it because I'm excited about this new resource).
A map projection is used to portray all or part of the round Earth on a flat surface. This cannot be done without some distortion. Every projection has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no "best" projection. The mapmaker must select the one best suited to the needs, reducing distortion of the most important features. Mapmakers and mathematicians have devised almost limitless ways to project the image of the globe onto paper. Scientists at the U. S. Geological Survey have designed projections for their specific needs—such as the Space Oblique Mercator, which allows mapping from satellites with little or no distortion. This document gives the key properties, characteristics, and preferred uses of many historically important projections and of those frequently used by mapmakers today.
This article chronicles 18 map projections, how they are mathematically rendered with their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Questions to Ponder: Why do map projections matter? Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest? What is your favorite?
The historic abbey of Mont Saint-Michel became an island on March 21 after a rare “supertide” flooded a causeway.
Coastal physical geography produces some beautiful landforms such as tombolos. A tombolo is created when sand deposits attach an island to a larger piece of land--think of it as special type of isthmus. Mont St. Michel (picture above) is the world’s most famous example because of the iconic walled city with crowned with a striking medieval abbey. As the tides fluctuated, the city and abbey were alternately connected or disconnected from the mainland. However, a ‘super-tide’ that occurs once every 18.6 years wiped out the artificial causeway stranding motorists on France's most visited tourist destination (I wouldn't mind be stranded there right about now).
I found this on pinterest (where else?) and decided to share the geographically inspired craftiness:
1. Paint your nails white/cream
2. Soak nails in alcohol for five minutes
3. Press nails to map and hold
4. Paint with clear protectant immediately after it dries.
This also works with newspaper, but don't try it with NatGeo Maps because the paper is of too high a quality to have the ink bleed out; I would recommend using an old USGS Topo map.
Three African leaders sign an initial deal to end a long-running dispute over the sharing of Nile waters and the building of Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam.
85% of the Nile's water comes from the Blue Nile that originates in the Ethiopian highlands--it is the Blue Nile that Ethiopia has been working on damming since 2011. The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be located near the border with Sudan (see in Google Maps). Prior to this trilateral agreement, Egypt and Sudan received the majority of the Nile's waters because of outdated colonial-era treaties that ignored upstream riparian states. This explains why in the past, Egypt was so adamantly opposed to Ethiopia's plan fearing that their water supply with be threatened. Today though, the Egyptian President said, "We have chosen cooperation, and to trust one another for the sake of development."
The new 550 megawatt facility in California produces enough electricity to power 180,000 homes.
The modules are part of Topaz Solar Farm, one of the largest photovoltaic power plants in the world. At 9.5 square miles (25.6 square kilometers), the facility is about one-third the size of Manhattan island, or the equivalent of 4,600 football fields.
Construction at Topaz began in 2011. The plant was mostly complete by November 2014, when it was turned on and began to generate electricity.
Most of the world's major religions are made up of multiple sects or denominations, and Islam is no different. Islam's two major sects are the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the division and interplay between the two is a major factor in the geopolitics of the Middle East. How well do you understand Sunni and Shiite Islam? Take our quiz and find out!
The ghosts of religious wars past are rattling in Iraq; The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This NPR podcast examines the historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today. Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis. Take this quiz to test your knowledge.
|Suggested by Courtney Barrowman|
The conflict over Western Sahara dates back to 1975, when, following the death of long-time ruler Francisco Franco, Spain ended its colonial rule of the territory. Spain ceded control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania, but the Polisario Front - the liberation movement of the indigenous Saharawi people - refused to accept the arrangement, and launched attacks on garrisons manned by soldiers from both countries. Morocco insists that the Western Sahara is part of its historical patrimony, and is unwilling to go beyond offering the Saharawi a limited local autonomy in what Morocco describes as the kingdom's "southern provinces."
"Fantasy cartography: An animated redrawing of the map of Europe.
Imagine a world in which countries could move as easily as people. A suggestion for a rearranged Europe."
A groundbreaking Mapbox project ushers in a new era for online cartography.
On Google Earth, the seasons rarely change. Most anywhere a digital traveler goes, the sky is cloudless and the grass is green. No snow on the ground in Iowa. No fire in Valparaiso. It's a big gap between the world as it is and as it's mapped.
Launched Thursday, a landmark project from Mapbox has changed the summertime paradigm for online cartography. Landsat-live reveals the planet's surface in real time and in stunning resolution, fed by a constant stream of public-domain imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite.
Visitors to Naypyidaw are routinely shocked to see how empty this city is and often refer to it as a ghost town. The capital of Burma moved to Naypyidaw in 2005, away from the busy streets of Rangoon. However, building the city, does not automatically bring the people, jobs, and economic networks that make a bustling city bustle.
For more than half a century, one small commercial radio station has been keeping French alive in the bayous of Louisiana.
"Where have immigrants to the U.S. come from? Natalia Bronshtein, a professor and consultant who runs the blog Insightful Interaction, created this fascinating visualization of the number of immigrants to the U.S. since 1829 by country of origin. The graph hints at tragic events in world history. The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845, while the massive influx of Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots). Meanwhile in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century."