The vocabulary and concepts of maps kids should learn to enhance their map-skills & geography awareness. Concise definitions with clear illustrations.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
The vocabulary and concepts of maps kids should learn to enhance their map-skills & geography awareness. Concise definitions with clear illustrations.
You and your students can browse through this interactive map for an update on conflict situations around the world. The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict; they've created this interactive map to help us stay informed about the most important conflict issues around the world. I'm placing this on my list of favorite resources as this is one worth returning to on a regular basis.
As the climate shifts, rivers will both flood and dry up more often, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shortages are especially likely in parts of the world already strapped for water, so political scientists expect feuds will become even more intense. To track disputes worldwide, researchers at Oregon State University spent a decade building a comprehensive database of international exchanges—-both conflicts and alliances—over shared water resources. They found that countries often begin disputes belligerently but ultimately reach peaceful agreements. Says Aaron Wolf, the geographer who leads the project, “For me the really interesting part is how even Arabs and Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis, are able to resolve their differences and find a solution.”
Too often we think of political conflicts within the framework of state borders; this mapping project divides the world into watersheds and forces us to look at global politics through a different and enlightening lens (Hi-Res image). Oil might be the most economically valuable liquid resource, but water is the most critical for human habitation. This infographic is reminiscent of this one, asking where the next 'water wars' might take place...Foreign Policy says Central Asia.
This is a big announcement from ESRI, home of ArcGIS online and other geospatial tools. They are making ArcGIS online organizational accounts free for all K-12 schools in the United States. As ESRI spokespeople have said, "this will open up ArcGIS Online far beyond just a public account, by permitting more control of sharing, access to more data, engaging much more powerful analyses, supporting apps like Collector or Explorer, integrating with ArcMap and Microsoft Office, enabling login to Community Analyst, and lots more, with still more on the way." Click here to request an organizational account for your school.
EnviroAtlas is a collection of interactive tools and resources that allows users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. Key components of EnviroAtlas include the following:
This video is a brief introduction on how to utilize the EnviroAtlas mapping platform that has been created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This has great potential for the classroom and as a portal for students to explore the data on their own.
"The Habitable Planet is a multimedia course for high school teachers and adult learners interested in studying environmental science. The Web site provides access to course content and activities developed by leading scientists and researchers in the field."
The Great Green Wall initiative uses an integrated approach to restore a diversity of ecosystems to the North African landscape.
The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world. This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara. The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification. These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (as an aside, the Green Wall spatially corresponds nicely with the apocryphal Mountains of Kong).
"Population statistics are like crystal balls -- when examined closely, they can help predict a country's future (and give important clues about the past). Kim Preshoff explains how using a visual tool called a population pyramid helps policymakers and social scientists make sense of the statistics, using three different countries' pyramids as examples."
This is an incredibly powerful and remarkably well-done TED-ED lesson on the importance and value of population pyramids. This lesson goes nicely with this article fro the World Bank entitled "The End of the Population Pyramid" which highlights the demographic changes that will be reshaping global demographics in the next 50-100 years.
Translate any word from English to more than 30 other European languages, on a map
This is an incredible resource to visualize the linguistic similarities between European languages all on one interactive map. Just type in a word or phrase as it will translate it for you and place the results on the map. I just found this, but I think it still belongs on my list of favorite resources.
Questions to Ponder: Do you see any regions forming? How does language impact the diffusion of people, ideas and goods? Hoe do you think these languages diffused?
"An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile, generating a local tsunami. The USGS reported the earthquake was centered 95 km (59 miles) northwest of Iquique at a depth of 20.1km (12.5 miles). This video gives the context for this type of earthquake."
I woke up this morning to news of a large earthquake in Chile (security camera video footage). IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) creates teaching resources for teachers who want to use the current events such as yesterday's earthquake in Chile as an opportunity to discuss earth's physical systems and how they impact humanity. They've produces slides, animations and PDFs for classroom use all while you were sleeping last night.
In recent decades the state allowed logging — with restrictions — on the plateau above the Snohomish County hillside that collapsed in last weekend’s deadly mudslide.
There are several reasons for mudslides--some are purely a result of physical geography and others are related to land use patterns. This last week's mudslide in Washington state was a combination of the two and although this impacts one place (see on map), 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).
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 mudslide inevitable?
What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London's Olympic stadium? The answer - this year's new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea. Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).
These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries. The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia. Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.
"Earth is constantly changing. Some changes are a natural part of the climate system, such as the seasonal expansion and contraction of the Arctic sea ice pack. The responsibility for other changes, such as the Antarctic ozone hole, falls squarely on humanity’s shoulders. Our World of Change series documents how our planet’s land, oceans, atmosphere, and Sun are changing over time."
"In Raleigh, N.C., there's a house... or what looks like a house. What's hidden inside is more important than most people realize. Read the story: http://wunc.org/post/video-whats-inside-house-wade-avenue "
What looks like a wonderful little "Scooby-Doo" mystery turns out to be a great place-based video on city planning, land use and utilities (I don't want to ruin the surprise that comes at the 2 minute mark, but don't worry, it's worth it). If you are teaching a course trying to help students to think about the inner-workings of a city this article would be a very attention grabbing way to make a good point (NPR posted article on this as well). What 'secrets' are hidden in plain sight in your local neighborhood?
"The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond has created an enhanced version of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, which was published in 1932. The atlas, which took dozens of researchers to assemble, used maps to illustrate a variety of political, demographic and economic concepts."
I'm sure many of you have already seen it but this is a gem. This is something that you must explore on your own, but I will say that there should be something for everyone in this digital treasure trove. Read a New York Times review on the digital atlas here.
Professor Seth Dixon shares over 50 of his favorite geography videos in this online map http://bit.ly/KDY6C2
Have you ever wanted to watch a video and to have a map handy at the same time? Ever since I first watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, I love the idea of combining video with maps. I produced this bare-bones map on ArcGIS online to spatially index over 50 videos that I enjoy using in my classes; all are place-specific videos (so they can be ‘located’ on the map). These videos have also been shared here earlier, but this map can function as a more user-friendly way to search for engaging video clips. Do you have a great place-based video that teaches the principles of geography that you love? Please share the URL in the comments section with a brief paragraph.
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
This is an in-depth, multi-media interactive that explores the political, economic and cultural implications of borders that are heavily fortified or militarized (I found this too late to be included in the "best posts of 2013" list, but this will be the first to include for 2014). Not all of these borders are political; in Brazil it explores the walls that separate different socioeconomic groups and in Northern Ireland they look at walls dividing religious groups. The interactive examines various borders including U.S./Mexico, Morocco, Syria, India/Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Greece/Turkey, Northern Ireland, North/South Korea and Spain. The overarching questions are these: why are we building new walls to divide us? What are the impacts of these barriers?
"A sampling of my 35 personal favorite posts of 2013. Enjoy!"
As we reflect on 2013 and prepare for 2014, I've compiled 35 post that were helpful to me in my classroom (see page 1 and page 2). These are resources that I enjoyed curating or producing. They might not be the best or the most important for your particular interests, but I look forward to continue curating this site and sharing valuable tidbits to geography educators in 2014.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
Turkish hazelnuts, Malaysian palm oil, Nigerian cocoa, Brazilian sugar, French vanilla...
Some 250,000 tons of Nutella are now sold across 75 countries around the world every year, according to the OECD. Nutella is a perfect example of what globalization has meant for popular foodstuffs: Not only is it sold everywhere, but its ingredients are sourced from all over the place too.
"Are you looking for a way to promote geography in your school in a way that involves students, parents, other teachers and administrators? A Family Geography can absolutely help. Here are some guidelines to run a Family Geography night at a school or an Alliance function."
I’ve had the privilege of working with NEGEN (New England Geography Education Network). The great people in the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance have collaborated to create a template to run Family Geography Nights at schools. These Family Nights are incredibly successful in showing the relevance of geography education to administrators, other teachers, parents and the general public.
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
This hour-long podcast addresses some has key issues in urban geography by exploring the history of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing initiatives. The urban cultural mosaic of the United States and the neighborhoods of our cities have been greatly shaped by these issues. Currently gentrification is reshaping many U.S. cities and fits into the wider scope of the issues raised in the podcast.
In May 2013, GeoGuessr came online and quickly became a favorite quiz game of geo-enthusiasts. Using 5 random locations in Google Street View. The game player can search the area in Street View and then make a guess as to where it is on the map."
So how can a geography teacher leverage this new platform to enhance the classroom experience? Teachers can allow the students to explore the various locations to analyze the cultural landscape. It is randomized, but teachers can now create their own GeoGuessr quizzes using GeoSettr. Anyone can arrange 5 locations into a customized quiz with a unique URL. Try this quiz I created (hints below):
"Just as you shouldn’t trust everything you read or see on television, you should never blindly trust information just because it is on a map. All maps posit arguments. Maps present information about how something is. All maps posit arguments. Maps present information about how something is. Just as there are no unbiased arguments, there are no unbiased maps."
This is a really good article that explores the idea of how to critically read maps. It gives good guidelines, techniques and questions to ask when assessing the positionality of the map. If you are looking for a video for a younger audience to teach this same principle, see this clip.
"This video captures some amazing footage of the 2011 tsunami in Japan."
This is an absolutely gripping video, that is equally amazing and horrifying. In Kesennuma, Japan, the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused catastrophic damage, although many were able to survive on the high-rise rooftop (like the videographer). Much like a tsunami, the video starts out slow with only alarm bells, but at around the 2:20 minute mark the first sign of the small wave makes its way up the river, with onlookers unsure of the magnitude of the impending damage. The riverbanks are breached at 7:43. By 14 minutes, the debris and wreckage is massive, and the quantity of water flooding in is still growing. The last 6 minutes shows the waters receding, but the impact of the tsunami still spreads as fires spread through town. For a full documentary on the tsunami, click here. I surely hope that no one reading ever gets a closer look at what a tsunami looks like in person. This time lapse is an audiovisual representation of global seismic activity puts the Japanese tsunami into it proper context (wait for the dramatic event at the 1:45 mark).
Volunteers across the world are building the digital infrastructure for the organization's Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts
Want to see geographic knowledge and geospatial skills in action? Crowd-sourced mapping is increasingly an important resource during an emergency. Poorer places are often not as well mapped out by the commercial cartographic organizations and these are oftentimes the places that are hardest hit by natural disasters. Relief agencies depend on mapping platforms to handle the logistics of administering aid and assessing the extent of the damage and rely on these crowd-sourced data sets. Can you join in and help?