This would be the perfect place to study. Next time I'm at L'Istituto delle Scienze, Palazzo Poggi, Bologna, I will definitely find this spot.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Finding Materials: This site is designed for geography students and teachers to find interesting, current supplemental materials. To search for place-specific posts, browse this interactive map. To search for thematic posts, see http://geographyeducation.org/thematic/ (organized by the APHG curriculum). Also you can search for a keyword by clicking on the filter tab above.
Staying Connected: You can receive post updates in the way that best fits how you use social media.
Email: Click 'follow' button at top right of this page.
I hope that you enjoy the content and materials that you find on this website. This represents the best news, materials and resources that I have found that can be used in geography (and other) classrooms. Use the 'funnel' as a way to filter and search for resources of specific topics or places.
Take a look at the first day of school celebrations around the world!
Access to education is one of the great indicators of development and political stability--educators wish nothing but the best education possible for the next generation, but the experience is quite variable across the globe. As many places have recently started school again, this article is a reminder that this practice is experienced differently around the world.
"Daily oil production in the Bakken is approaching one million barrels per day, placing it in an elite group of only ten super-giant oil fields in the world that have ever produced that much oil at peak production. In total, nearly one billion barrels of oil have now been produced in the Bakken oil fields, and all of that oil production and related activities have brought the unemployment rate in the Williston area down to below 1% in most months over the last three years. For the most recent month – April – the jobless rate here was 0.9%."
As an oil boom has transformed North Dakota, the influx of oil workers has changed all the sectors of the local economy. Agriculture has historically been the #1 economic contributor in the region, but huge piles of grain aren't be shipped to the market, as oil by rail is much more profitable.
Questions to Ponder: Why is WalMart offering such high wages in North Dakota? What local factors impact the prevailing wage rate? What does this tell us about places with low wages? How does the oil industry impact all the others in the region?
"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe. The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."
How can political stability and security be measured? What constitutes effective governance? The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe. There are 12 social, economic, and political/military categories that are a part of the overall rankings and various indicators are parts of the metrics that are a part of this index are:
•Human Flight and Brain Drain
•Uneven Economic Development
•Poverty and Economic Decline
•Human Rights and Rule of Law
If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.
This interactive is a series of related articles, each designed to tackle popular narratives that have been constructed to explain ISIS; there are bits of truths in these myths, but they fail to fully contextualize the reality on the ground. These nine myths are:
This video covers various topics important to mapping and satellite imagery (and a lesson from an APHG teacher on how to use this video with other resources). There is so much more to the world and space than what we can see see. Chromoscope, referenced in the video, simulates other forms of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum besides just visible light. This type of information is at the core of the science behind all of our satellite imagery. This video also covers many map projection issues and highlights online resources to understand map distortion including:
"It took the folks at Google to upgrade these choppy visual sequences from crude flip-book quality to true video footage. With the help of massive amounts of computer muscle, they have scrubbed away cloud cover, filled in missing pixels, digitally stitched puzzle-piece pictures together, until the growing, thriving, sometimes dying planet is revealed in all its dynamic churn. The images are striking not just because of their vast sweep of geography and time but also because of their staggering detail."
This interactive feature shows time lapse satellite imagery of some selected locations that have experienced rapid environmental change in the last few decades (or you can simply watch the animated GIFs). These images are a way to show the power of remotely sensed data as well as massive environmental impact of rapid urbanization and globalization and the feature allows students to explore these places on their own.
In this image-filled talk, Yann Arthus-Bertrand displays his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat -- stunning aerial photographs in his series "The Earth From Above," personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project "6 billion Others," and his soon-to-be-released movie, "Home," which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video.
I've linked galleries of the artistic, aerial photography of Yann Arthus-Bertrand several times before. In this Ted Talk, you can hear what motivates his artistic vision and the global perspectives that he wants to bring to the fore. You can also watch the 90-minute video 'Home' that he discusses in the talk here.
"The Pew survey sorts people into major groupings--Christians; other religions, including Jewish and Muslim; and 'unaffiliated,' which includes atheist, agnostic and 'nothing in particular.' Roll your cursor over the map to see how faiths and traditions break down by state."
This is a particularly useful interactive map with a lot of teaching applications. It is a nice visual aid to process the religious data in the United States.
Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you notice? Are there religious regions that could be drawn based on this data? What geographic factors have created the differences in the religious geographies of the United States?
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
"Amsterdam City Dashboard presents the city of Amsterdam through the lens of data, including demographic statistics, traffic reports, noise readings or political messages.
The small collection of information graphics are divided in distinct domains, such as transport, environment, statistics, economy, social, cultural and security. All data is shown in near real-time, based on blocks of 24 hours. Larger dots and darker colors symbolize higher values, whereas an interactive map provides a geographic reference."
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population. I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that. It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well. Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago? Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification).
"Lets start off the new school year in style! This is a re-imagining of an older resource designed to introduce the subject to new students in a highly visual manner. Feel free to use & share it."
Maps and charts updated weekly show the latest extent of the drought in the United States.
I've shared numerous links here about the drought situation in California over the past few months, but the situation extends far beyond California as these animated maps and charts demonstrate. Some of the best public data on drought can be found at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
"Temperatures across the Northeast have been unusually cool, and they have been unusually hot across the northwest. A strange jet stream is behind the flip-flop between summer conditions in the two northern corners of the country. The polar jet stream is the prevailing band of wind that blows west to east across the upper half of the U.S. in summer. (There is a subtropical jet, also, that typically crosses northern Mexico). We often see the jet stream depicted on TV weather reports—that big, wavy line across the U.S. and Canada that bends south then north then south again. Low-pressure weather systems, sometimes called cold fronts, ride along the jet stream, bringing us much of our daily weather. But this summer the polar jet steam seems to be somewhat flattened out, and it’s been in that position more than usual."
"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."
Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence. However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.
Canada has dispatched two icebreakers to map the Arctic seabed beneath the North Pole to support a bid to extend the country's maritime territory deeper into the waterways at the top of the world.
Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland) are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic. Globally speaking, the retreat of Arctic sea ice can be seen as a unmitigated disaster, but disasters for the many can open up new economic opportunities for the few. When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes). This fits in with the APHG new course outline which includes political ecology (the study of the political and economic principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another and to the environment).
Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.
This Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia, where a network of roads makes the movement of people, goods ideas possible. Unfortunately though, those same roads make spread of diseases easier. In the past African Ebola cases in isolated villages could be contained but increased transportation has accelerated the diffusion process. If this spreads to Lagos, watch out.
Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years.
This incredible series of interactive charts from the New York Times show where the residents of every U.S. state were born and how that data has changed over time (update: now available as an interactive map). This graph of Florida shows that around 1900, most people living in Florida were from the South. Around the middle of the 20th century more people from other parts of the U.S. and from outside the U.S. started moving in. What changes in U.S. society led to these demographic shifts? How has demographics of your state changes over the last 114 years?
On the flip side, many people have been leaving California and this article charts the demographic impact of Californians on other states.
"A great Florida teacher produced this video. Visit his course website for additional incredible resources."
This just one of my favorite "start of the year" videos. I've compiled them here so they can be used to at the beginning of the school year to show the importance of geography, spatial thinking and geo-literacy. They show why taking geography courses is so important, useful and interesting. Do you know of a great video that I should put on the list? Send me a tweet.
"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."
There is a geography to insurgency. This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power. On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
"This cool new historic mapping app from the folks at esri and the U.S. Geological Survey is worth exploring. What it does is take 100 years of USGS maps and lets you overlay them for just about any location in the nation. That allows users to see how a city – say Harrisburg – developed between 1895 and today. The library behind the project includes more than 178,000 maps dating from 1884 to 2006."
For more ESRI maps that let you explore urban environmental change, the 'spyglass' feature gives these gorgeous vintage maps a modern facelift (but not available for as many places). The cities that are in this set of interactive maps are:
Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.
"How do you think the world (starting with our perceptions) could change if the map looked differently? What if Australia was on top and the hemispheres switched? By changing how we look at a map we truly can begin to explore and change our assumptions about the world we live in."
Geography doesn’t just teach us about the Earth; it provides ways for thinking about the Earth that shapes how we see the world. Maps do the same; they represent a version of reality and that influences how we think about places.
Using aerial photographs that render imperiled landscapes almost abstract, Edward Burtynsky explores the consequences of human activity bearing down on the earth’s resources.
"This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas."
This video has garnered a lot of academic and mainstream attention--while I wouldn't describe in as the Entire History of Human Culture in 5 minutes as the Huffington Post did, it is a stellar visualization that uses big data and was created with some solid academic research. Hierarchical diffusion patterns are powerfully depicted in this video created by Nature as are other geographic concepts such as urban settlement patterns (e.g.-primate cities and rank-size rule in Europe).