Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Coastal Hazard Threat Map

Coastal Hazard Threat Map | Geography Education |

This interactive map of coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island shows some basic flooding data including: 1) where are the flood warnings (essential the entire coastline), 2) how high the storm surge is, and 3) how high the waves are.

Tags: Rhode Island, water, disasters, geospatial.

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Geo-Literacy | Geography Education |

The Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance seeks to promote geo-literacy here in the Ocean State.  So what is geo-literacy? The National Geographic Society’s Educational team...

As the Alliance Coordinator for the state of Rhode Island, I organized  these three videos (two from National Geographic) and some pictures to provide a basis for understanding what geo-literacy is and why it is important for society and within the workforce.  In the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd share these links beyond the borders of Rhode Island. 


Tags: GeographyEducation, NationalGeographic, geo-inspiration, RhodeIsland.

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Ocean Opportunity

Ocean Opportunity | Geography Education |
the undersea work & world of Michael Lombardi...

Michael Lombardi is a both a scientific and commercial diver; as an author and environmentalist and an Explorer in Residence with the National Geographic Society.  This Saturday he will be the guest speaker for the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance meeting and I am incredibly excited to hear from him.  


Tags: water, National Geographic, RhodeIsland, physical, biogeography, environment.

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"Political Landscapes"

"Political Landscapes" | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

While touring Kevin Babola's art studio yesterday, I found this thought-provoking piece entitled ‘Political Landscapes.’ I greatly enjoyed my conversation with the artist about the political, economic and urban visions that went into this painting.  The conceptual idea behind this painting started when the artist was exploring the neighborhoods of New Bedford, MA and noticed how a sense of place can change very quickly. I dare say most cities have areas similar to the one portrayed here where the socioeconomic character changes very abruptly. While physically it might be very easy to cross from the side of the street with tenements to the neighborhood with single family homes, making that transition permanent is incredibly difficult.


Questions to ponder: what leads to cities having abrupt changes in the urban fabric? What might this chasm represent to people on either side of the divide? How does this impact the neighborhood institutions (schools, local government, etc.)?  Please visit the artist's webpage at:

Cynthia Williams's curator insight, July 29, 2013 12:33 PM

The picture ‘Political Landscapes,’ is a portrait of the haves and the have not’s and it illustrates the widening chasm of socioeconomic levels with the top 1% gaining and the rest steadily losing ground.  


The decline of industry very often leads to the decline in jobs, schools and local government.  With the erosion of the tax base cities are no longer able to maintain these institutions.

Donald Dane's comment, December 10, 2013 8:41 AM
this picture meant a lot to me simple due to the fact that I've lived in the city of providence for the last three years now. everywhere I look in the city shows an identical view to this picture that protrays inner-city compact houses vs grass and space of the kind of suburbs. on the right is the inner-city version where houses are only separated by a one car width driveway and are two to three stores high to accommadate more families and people. the left side of the picture protrays a more suburb area of the city. but this area isn't necessarily the suburbs because it would be an area just minute outside of the busy city center like a north providence or east providence area. in north providence yes you technically have a yard and grass but it is so small that you mine as well have scissors to cut the lawn. with a bite more space houses being more single family oriented this is more luxurious than the left side of the picture
Denise Pacheco's curator insight, December 17, 2013 1:27 PM

This pictures shows the difference between the city and suburbs. Even in the same city, you can  have some parts that look more economically wealthier. But looking at it from a political view, I would guess that the whole in the ground that divides the two neighborhoods would be the line that divides democrats and republicans. City folk tend to vote more democrat because they want the government to assist the people. WHile Republicans tend to look out more for themselves.

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A CVS at Chipman's Corner? We say No!

A CVS at Chipman's Corner? We say No! | Geography Education |

RT: As we discussed in class today about businesses basically running cities, CVS has a dominating presense in Woonsocket, where it's corporate headquaters is located. In 2009 closing the exsisting CVS on Cass Ave and erecting a new larger one up the street was proposed, doing so would involve demolishing 7 buildings, and change the comunity forever. An uproar was caused within the community, and the in protest this blog was created. Despite the community disagreement, CVS was able to pass all the zoning laws and problems involved with constrution. This is an example of a corporation using their influence to get what they want.

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Gentrification in Providence

Gentrification in Providence | Geography Education |

KV: Development of a high end apartment complex in a low income area would force pre-gentrification people out of the neighborhood. The taxes would get raised to amounts that make it difficult for these people to afford. However, the people in charge of this project are ignoring the consequences and focusing on the 5 million dollars tax break. 


SD: This sign went up in to 2006 protest the mills-to-condo developments in Providence, Rhode Island.  Click here to see the photographer's work

megan b clement's comment, December 16, 2013 12:41 AM
Gentrification has both positive and negative affects on the city. I believe that it is beneficial for a city to take older buildings and utilize them or flip them into malls or financially beneficial businesses for their economy. But on the other hand you are taking people who were living in these areas with low rent and after you flip these buildings the rent is going to rise substancially. Therefore these former residents cannot afford to stay in the apartments and have to relocate their homes. Its hard to pick a side.
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Historic USGS Maps of New England & New York

Historic USGS Maps of New England & New York | Geography Education |
This historical collection of USGS 15 minute topographic maps dates from the 1890s to the 1950s. Geographic coverage is complete for New Hampshire and nearly complete for the rest of New England.


This is a great warehouse of historical maps of New England.  The picture above what is today South Providence and Cranston, but in 1894 the area around the lakes was a part of the City of Cranston.  Why would the city of Cranston 'lose' territory?  When did this happen?  This is just one example of the questions in historical geography that this resource can inspire.

Nicholas Ellis's curator insight, March 15, 2016 2:10 PM
Interesting look at some historic maps of New England and New York. 
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Container City

Channel 5 - Behind closed Doors Series on Container City at Trinity Buoy Wharf...


On my daily commute, I drive by a colorful container building in Providence, RI.  In terms of it's spatial configuration and aesthetic statement within the urban landscape, I found it fascinating.  After doing some more research, I began to appreciate this as a form of sustainable housing that 1) costs less than traditional structures, 2) can be built MUCH quicker that standard buildings and 3) has the potential to be an effective recycling method.  For more on 'Container Cities,' see:

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The Providence Postcard Project: Love letters to a city

The Providence Postcard Project: Love letters to a city | Geography Education |

"[Historic local icons in Providence, RI] are all here— as postcard pictures, that is — resting on wooden slats that jut out from the walls of a gallery at Brown's Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.   And they are all on display together for the first time — a drizzly Friday evening that marks the opening for the Providence Postcard Project."


What postcards would you include in creating a local historical geography?  This would be a fun way to analyze changing landscapes and history with a local twist.  


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Providence and the Virtues of Scale

Providence and the Virtues of Scale | Geography Education |

I live in the Providence metropolitan area so this particular blog posting about urban planning and economic revitalization hit very close to home.   


Rhode Islanders: how accurate do you feel this perspective on Providence and it's economic assets (and deficiencies) is?  What other aspects would you discuss in trying to understand the economic geography of the area?  What are the biggest obstacles for improving the city? 

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:20 AM

Well the providence area we are seeing a boost when it comes down to people getting jobs and also more people are coming to providence because of all it has to offer. Providence has lots to offer. One good thing that providence has to offer is one of the best schools in the area. Many people come and see and take in the scenery that just blows your mind. Also the economy seems to be getting better because this city seems not to be in such of a bad deficit. The city of providence in a couple of more years we will see a tremendous growth that the city will benefit from.

Anhony DeSimone's curator insight, December 19, 2013 9:52 AM

This article shows how you can improve a city to not only make it bigger but to make it better. not better in the sense that it has to beat out other cities and have the best buildings etc. but to allow the city to be more people friendly which means getting rid of congestion and traffic.

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Sediment Spews from New England River After Irene

Sediment Spews from New England River After Irene | Geography Education |
Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene drenched New England with rainfall in late August 2011, the Connecticut River was spewing muddy sediment into Long Island Sound and wrecking the region's farmland just before harvest.


The effects of the flooding in Vermont and New Hampshire graphically manifested on the downstream parts of the watershed.  Good image for showing fluvial deposition and stream load.   

Nic Hardisty's comment, September 4, 2012 12:04 PM
Fantastic image, One thing that isn't mentioned is the potential effect that this will have an marine navigation. With such a massive movement of sediment, it's hard to imagine that there won't be deposits left throughout the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. This can have a tremendous impact on boats traversing the waterways, when a foot of sediment can be the difference between safe passage and running aground.
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Hurricane Sandy may be unprecedented in East Coast storm history

Hurricane Sandy may be unprecedented in East Coast storm history | Geography Education |
WEATHER GANG | With computer models locked in on the eventuality of a punishing blow for East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, analyses suggest this storm may be unlike anything the region has ever experienced.

This weekend's storm for the East coast is especially interesting.  I won't pretend to be a meteorologist, so I'll quote one: "The upper-air steering pattern that is part of the puzzle is not all that unheard of. It happens when the atmosphere gets blocked over the Atlantic and the flow over the U.S. doubles back on itself. Sometimes big winter storms are involved.  The freak part is that a hurricane happens to be in the right place in the world to get sucked into this doubled-back channel of air and pulled inland from the coast."  Stay safe everyone on the east coast.   

Tagsweather and climate, physical, disasters

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Spatial Thinking Key to Solving Crime

Spatial Thinking Key to Solving Crime | Geography Education |

What are all these news reporters and school administrators doing in my classroom?  Monday, September 24, 2012 was most certainly an interesting day in my Mapping Our Changing World (GEOG 201) class...

One of my students applied some mapping skills and spatial analysis to a string of unsolved bank robberies in Rhode Island.  After 7 months of eluding capture with at least 8 robberies under his belt, the "bearded bandit" was apprehended less than 48 hours after my student handed over his analysis to a contact in the police department.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Great work Nic, showing that spatial thinking and geographic skills can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and activities. 

Tags: RhodeIsland, GIS, mapping, GeographyEducation, edtech.   

Elizabeth Allen's comment, September 25, 2012 8:07 PM
Wow! Awesome story. Professor Dixon thanks for sharing this. Nic must be thrilled and you must be proud!
Matt Mallinson's comment, September 26, 2012 10:11 AM
Awesome presentation of it all, it was very interesting.
Victoria Morgia Jamolod-Umbo's comment, September 27, 2012 8:58 AM
This is a great development! Today, there are so many unsolved crimes because of lack of investigative skills of our investigating authorities. So, if this new way of solving crimes can really help victims to attain justice, then we have to support it, by all means....
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The Geography of Charitable Giving

Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your area? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people, according to a new study.


Questions to ponder: What are some reasons that Providence RI is the 'least charitable' metropolitan area in the United States according to this data?  Why is the state of Utah ranked as the 'most charitable state?'  Why are the bottom 3 states all in the New England region? 

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Mapping American Stereotypes

Mapping American Stereotypes | Geography Education |

There are plenty of regional biases about other places.  This map was generated by Google autocomplete.  If you Google, "Why is Rhode Island so...." if will automatically suggest some responses.  This was done for all the states and these autoresponses are quite revealing (and often humorous). 

Jesse Gauthier's comment, September 2, 2012 9:59 PM
I find it funny that from state to state the same adjectives are being used over and over again. For example: "so boring," "so humid," and "so liberal." As much as there are stereotypes for each region, we share the same qualities as a union, for the most part.
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GIS for home buyers

GIS for home buyers | Geography Education |
Whoa, check out Trulia Local - A visual way to explore crime, schools, home prices, and local data.


The map above was generated to display the areas within a 30 minute commute of Rhode Island College in Providence.  This site generates commuting maps and other layers that are especially pertinent for home buyers---schools, crime stats, property values and local amenities.  This is GIS data brought to the real estate shopping community, but consider this a project in the making.  One of the best exercises to get to know a place holistically is to shop for housing and make some locational analysis decisions.

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EarthView : Bridgewater State

EarthView : Bridgewater State | Geography Education |

"EarthView is an educational outreach project of the Department of Geography at Bridgewater State University."


Seth Dixon's insight:

Bridgewater State is the home of SEMAGNET, the Southeast division of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance (housed at Clark University).  Bridgewater State is also home to Project Earthview (I've never been so jealous of a globe before).  This inflatable, hand-painted globe in a fantastic teaching resource.  You can even enter the globe with a group under 20 and explore the Earth from the inside out.  The link is to the Earthview blog, with provides information of the project to take this globe to local schools, and other geographic resources.  UPDATE: This event was televised by WGGB with the clip now online.

Nic Hardisty's comment, September 4, 2012 11:58 AM
I love that Bridgewater opted to teach Geography from such a simple, yet unique perspective. It's an interesting concept to view the Earth outward from its core, and see if that inspires any unique views and observations from students.
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Rhode Island Stuck at Bottom of the List: Top States For Business

Rhode Island Stuck at Bottom of the List: Top States For Business | Geography Education |
The Ocean State didn't just place last in our overall rankings for the second year in a row, it also finished in the bottom five of four individual categories in 2012.  A  little Providence, please.


The business leaders and politicians in Rhode Island are working hard to attract more investment and greater job opportunities.  Rhode Island's only neighbors, Connecticut and Massachusetts attract massive amounts of venture capital compared to the Ocean State (per capita as well, so Rhode Island can't just claim that it's a matter of scale). With 11% unemployment (2nd worst in the country), the economic geography of Rhode Island has problems.  What factors have led to this economic situation?  Possible solutions?    

Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 12, 2012 5:19 PM
Reading and discussing this in class I wondered after. With all the taxes Mass imposes on the residents and business owners wouldn't you expect for there to be even less of a reason to have one there. Why wouldn't owners set up in RI or in tax free NH?
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Survey: Maine ranked 'most peaceful' state; Louisiana last

Survey: Maine ranked 'most peaceful' state; Louisiana last | Geography Education |
An annual survey ranks Maine as the "most peaceful" state, while Louisiana places last for the 11th straight year.


The five criteria used in the ranking are the number of homicides per 100,000 people; number of violent crimes; incarceration rate; number of police employees; and availability of small arms.  How 'peaceful' is it where you live?  How would you measure it?  The Providence RI metro area is ranked as the 6th most peaceful place among metropolitan areas.    

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Understanding a Rhode Island Accent

Mark Colozzi of Ocean State Follies translates Rhode Islandese. I recorded most of Charlie Hall's Ocean State Follies performance at Rhode Island College (Oc...


This provides a humorous look at a regionally distinct accent and way of speaking from the city I live in, Cranston, RI. This might be tough to follow for some non-Rhode Islanders since many local places, stores and institutions referenced as deeply local. 


(As a side note, this version was performed on my college campus and I'm actually in the background of the video since I was running the book sale as a fundraiser for the Shinn Study Abroad Committee. At the 2:30 mark, I'm the guy in the green shirt behind the Cranston sign)

John Peterson's comment, February 2, 2012 5:13 PM
Sadly this is a very good representation of a true Rhode Island accent, speaking from past experiences with my own family.
Em Marin's comment, February 2, 2012 5:27 PM
he used to teach in my highschool
Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 2014 3:34 PM

This funny video highlights how phonetically different words are in different dialects.  This is focused on the sound of the Rhode Island accent and it was interesting to see how the words were spelled when written phonetically.

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Red Sox Radio Rivalry | Bostonography

Red Sox Radio Rivalry | Bostonography | Geography Education |

A fun visualization about the geography of sports fans, specifically where can you get a radio signal for games for the Red Sox or Yankees games.  

Brett Sinica's curator insight, September 27, 2013 12:16 PM

Now this is very interesting.  First of all I live along the coast of Eastern Connecticut, which essentially is a battleground between New York and Boston.  Sure there is Patriots and Jets/Giants, Celtics and Knicks, but nothing is comparable to the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry.  Fortunately my area is covered by the New York radio stations, as well as the Boston stations, but in an area where you're either "for them or for us" it's almost a judgement depending on which team you favor.  Growing up it was always fun to have half your friends root for the Red Sox, and half for the Yankees.  Yet as I've grown older I've realized it's much more geographical and territorial than I had ever thought.  Hands down, the best rivalry in American sports, and I'm lucky enough to be right in the middle of it.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 15, 2014 9:15 AM

(North America topic 1)
This map of Red Sex vs. Yankees radio coverage caught my eye for 2 reasons. First, the general divide between radio broadcasts seems mostly identical to a map I've seen about fans by county and city. I wonder if the fans caused the coverage, OR if the coverage made the fans?? Hmm...

Also, I couldn't help but notice the uncannily-large Yankee coverage area posted right in the middle of Rhode Island. I'd think that Hartford would have a larger circle.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, November 23, 2015 2:39 PM

New England's most famed baseball team! The Red Sox have a storied rivalry with the New York Yankees from the 2004 MLB Playoffs where the Sox won the last four games of the ALCS to be the first team ever to win a series from being 3 games down and on the brink of elimination in all their remaining games in that series. They also compete with the Yankees with radio broadcasts. Fans mainly in Rhode Island, Massachusetts listen to the Red Sox radio Broadcasts. The areas up for dispute where there is competition is extreme southern Rhode Island, Western Connecticut, and areas on Long Island, and Greenwich Connecticut have people who listen to both broadcasts/