Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Pre- and Post-Storm 3D Lidar Topography

Pre- and Post-Storm 3D Lidar Topography | Geography Education |
This project investigates the coastal impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms.

Here is some more post-Sandy geo-spatial imagery. LIDAR (think sonar and radar but with light and lasers) is Light Detection And Ranging that can produce some amazing data. 

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A Sense of Place

A Sense of Place | Geography Education |
THERE WAS SOMETHING odd about the black car at the junction of Sutter and Hyde Streets. It was an ordinary saloon. Its windows were clear, and it looked in good...

Technologies today have allowed us to be digitally connected from anywhere.  This impacts geographic patterns from outsourcing to local businesses that rely on interpersonal communications to connect potential demand with resources.  Some may see this as geography becoming less of a barrier, and consequently, less relevant.  This article in the Economist argues that as these technologies have rendered location more important than ever since they rely on geospatial technologies.  "The reports of the death of distance have been much exaggerated." 

Tags: technology, globalization, location, place.

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Trekking the Grand Canyon for Google Maps

Trekking the Grand Canyon for Google Maps | Geography Education |

The term "street view" in Google Maps is continually getting stretched as the world's oceans, canyons, mountains and even cemeteries are being added to this ever-expanding database. 

Tags: Google, mapping, cartography, geospatial, cemetery

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Archeology from Space

TED Talks In this short talk, TED Fellow Sarah Parcak introduces the field of "space archeology" -- using satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilizations.

The uses of geospatial technologies is NOT limited to studying geography, but it is the bedrock of many research projects that involve spatial thinking (as demonstrated in this TED talk).  Geographic principles and geographers can be very important  members of interdisciplinary teams.

Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, TED, MiddleEast, historical

Joshua Lefkowitz's curator insight, January 15, 2014 11:13 PM

This sounds really intruging to me; I have heard of astroarchiology before in the aplication of finding undiscovered large objects (cities, towns sttlements) by using satellites to map deviations in teh earths surface accurately enough to distingush structures like a building foundation. I just find this sort of thing fascinating. I am still in awe that this dort of thing is possible.

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Selecting a Map Projection

Selecting a Map Projection | Geography Education |
Video. Cartographers at National Geographic discuss how they select an appropriate map projection for the September 2012 magazine map supplement.

There is no one perfect map projection that fits all circumstances and situations. Think of a situation in which this map projection would be an ideal way to represent the Earth and in another situation that same projection would give you an incredibly limited perspective. 

Tags: cartography, K12, geospatial, NationalGeographic, water

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Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change

Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change | Geography Education |

By moving the slider, the user can compare 1990 false-color Landsat views (left) with recent true-color imagery (right). Humans are increasingly transforming Earth’s surface—through direct activities such as farming, mining, and building, and indirectly by altering its climate.

This interactive feature includes 12 places that have experienced significant change since 1990.  This is an user-friendly way to compare remote sensing images over time.  Pictured above is the Aral Sea, which is and under-the-radar environmental catastrophe in Central Asia that has its roots in the Soviet era's (mis)management policies.  


Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, esri, unit 1 Geoprinciples, zbestofzbest.

Jake Red Dorman's curator insight, November 13, 2014 2:25 PM

Clearly the water level has decreased in Kazakhstan from 1990 until now. Farming, mining, and building are all indirectly changing the geography of some places. The use of rivers for cotton irrigation has shrunk by 3 quarters in the last 50 years and it is extremely affecting the Aral Sea. 

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:10 PM

Is sad to see how humans are changing the environment forcing the wild creatures to abandon the places they've been living for hundred or years or die of starvation. I wonder what will happen in 300 years when there is no more big lakes and the oceans will be completed polluted .

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, November 20, 2015 2:57 PM

Great tool to show students how human use of natural resources can change landscapes and have permanent impacts on geographical landmarks such as the aerial sea. How do we stop it? Can we undo the damage done? How do we prevent these tragedies from happening in the future?

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Apple Apologizes for Its Maps Problem

Apple Apologizes for Its Maps Problem | Geography Education |
"We are extremely sorry," Apple CEO Tim Cook says in an open letter.

Producing a poor map can have disastrous consequences, especially if that map is widely disseminated.  Given that people rely on maps to be accurate and base decisions on spatial information, it is the mapmaker's responsibility to not go live with a map (or mapping platform) until it does meet the standards of expectation.  

Tags: mapping, technology

Matt Mallinson's comment, September 30, 2012 8:38 PM
This image is trippy. I agree with the caption, it is only the mapmaker's responsability to not go live with a map until it meets standards. People need to know where they're going,
Nic Hardisty's comment, October 1, 2012 8:52 AM
While its terrifying that Apple would push a product that appears to be significantly flawed, it is nice to see them own their mistake and offer some solutions.
Charles Matley's comment, October 1, 2012 10:17 AM
I am glad that Apple has moved away from relying on google maps. I have not had a problem with Apple Maps domestically.
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Live Flight Tracker

Live Flight Tracker | Geography Education |

Flightradar24 is the best live flight tracker that shows air traffic in real time. Best coverage and cool features!

Ever wanted to find out where that plane overhead came from?  Where is it going?  Here it is.  The flight that was over Rhode Island 5 minutes ago that left the JFK airport?  It's officially on it way to Geneva Switerland and now over the Atlantic.   

Tags: mapping, worldwide, geospatial, transportation

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What is GIS?

This is a brief introduction to what geographic information systems are.  This is not a tutorial on how to use it, but a conceptual overview on the potential uses and applications for GIS.  

Tags: GIS, video, Unit 1 GeoPrinciples, geospatial, mapping and location.

CT Blake's curator insight, September 28, 2014 10:55 AM

Useful for understanding the use of GIS and differences with GPS.

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Using satellite images, young students learn about human impact on environment

Using satellite images, young students learn about human impact on environment | Geography Education |

With the help of satellite images fifth and sixth grade students at Mr. Tim Blum’s geography class at the University of Wyoming Lab School got a birds-eye view of how humans have impacted or modified their environments. Images acquired by satellites decades apart showed cleared forests, irrigated crop fields in the middle of the deserts, altered landscapes (new roads and water bodies), and urban growth.


SD: Geospatial technologies can sound daunting for teachers that don't feel that they are specialists. Yet there are simple ways to make sophisticated technologies very relevant to just about any grade level as this article demonstrates. 

Via Elpidio I F Filho
joachim jake layes's curator insight, February 10, 2014 9:44 AM

great to see 5th & 6th graders learning about environmental impact

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A History of Conflicts

A History of Conflicts | Geography Education |
Browse the timeline of war and conflict across the globe.

Seth Dixon's insight:


This database of global wars and conflicts is searchable through space and time.  You can drag and click both the map and timeline to locate particular battles and wars, and then read more information about that conflict.  This resource would be a great one to show students and let them explore to find what they see as interesting.  This site is brimming with potential.    

olsen jay nelson's comment, August 16, 2012 7:46 AM
This is just what I've been looking for, believe it or not:-)
Sakis Koukouvis's comment, August 16, 2012 8:06 AM
Oh... You are lucky ;-)
Paul Rymsza's comment, August 22, 2012 2:15 PM
the potential of this site is amazing between the interactive learning system and the correlation between the timeline and location. If the human geography class is anything like this i can't wait for it!
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Pixelizing Dutch Landscapes

Pixelizing Dutch Landscapes | Geography Education |

The artistic collection entitled 'Landscapes' compiled  "the bizarre instances of cartographic dissonance inflicted by the Dutch government over their virtual lands. As Henner notes, the number of censored sites within the small country of the Netherlands is surprising, as is the technique used by officials to disguise them. Tracts of land deemed vulnerable to attack or misappropriation are transformed into large tapestries of multi-colored polygons, archipelagos of abstraction floating in swaths of open fields, dense forests, and clusters of urban development."  For additional context, see the original gallery.

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Advancing STEM Education with GIS

ESRI has recently released a free PDF book entitled "Advancing STEM Education with GIS."  GIS and STEM represent an important opportunity for geography.  

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GIS Day video

GIS Day video | Geography Education |

This is a great video for GIS day (TODAY!) to remember why and how spatial thinking and spatial technologies can improve education and communities.   GIS will be a mainstay in the emerging workplace.

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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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A animation showing edits to over the period 2007-2012.

OpenStreetMap recently had it's "State of the Map" conference (Oct. 13-14) in Portland, Oregon. This video was embedded in a great article entitled "The New Cartographers" that summarizes some of the current issues discussed at the conference as well as concerns that confont the project.  The project has experienced exponential growth and is a major player in the world of online mapping (think Wikipedia for maps).  


Questions to Ponder: What are some advantages (and disadvantages) to an open source mapping data set?  What do you imagine is the future for the world largest open-source mapping data?  

Tags: mapping, cartography, geospatial, social media.

Matthieu CLEMENT's comment, October 22, 2012 11:34 AM
excellent !
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Where Does Your Water Come From?

Where Does Your Water Come From? | Geography Education |

This interactive map documents where 443 million people around the world get there water (although the United States data is by far the most extensive).  Most people can't answer this question.  A recent poll by The Nature Conservancy discoverd that 77% of Americans (not on private well water) don't know where their water comes from, they just drink it.  This link has videos, infographics and suggestions to promote cleaner water.  This is also a fabulous example of an embedded map using ArcGIS Online to share geospatial data with a wider audience.  


Tags: GIS, water, fluvial, environment, ESRI, pollution, development, consumption, resources, mapping, environment depend, cartography, geospatial

Nic Hardisty's comment, October 15, 2012 9:01 AM
I was definitely unaware of where my drinking water came from. This is nice, user-friendly map... Hopefully it gets updated regularly, as it will be interesting to see how these sources change over time.
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, July 1, 2013 3:55 PM

water is a resource we all depend on. Some of my best studies were on local Chesapeake Bay issues.

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Digital Topographic Maps

Digital Topographic Maps | Geography Education |

Home page of USGS Topographic Maps...

Seth Dixon's insight:

The last paper editions of USGS topographic maps came out in 1973 and 1992.  If you are waiting for the next print edition, you'll be waiting a long time.  Like so many other agencies with information distribution, the USGS topo maps have gone digital.  In 2001 the USGS announced the production of a current, seamless digital National Map.  You can still quadrangle chunks of the National map and download them for free as PDFs (with geospatial extensions for measuring).   You can search for aerial imagery here.

Tags: mapping, cartography, geospatial.

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What Is Geocaching?

Learn about the high-tech treasure hunting game being played around the world by adventure seekers! Learn more at Subscribe to this...

Geocaching is great way to get people outdoors, use geospatial technologies and have fun with the whole family. 

Tags: GPS, edtech, geospatial, technology, location.

Shelby Porter's curator insight, November 4, 2013 10:56 AM

I have tried geocaching and it really does make you use geospatial tools. You have to know exactly where you are in reference to a map, you have to know directions in which you must travel, and you know you have to reach a certain place. While a fun activity, it is also a great geographic learning tool. 

Miles Gibson's curator insight, November 22, 2014 3:53 PM

unit 1 nature and perspectives of Geography 

This video relates to unit 1 because of its description of Geocaching, a vocab word of this unit, which is a high tech treasure hunting game where people use gps to find and identify little boxes that were hidden in the surroundings.

This relates to unit 1 because it is a defining example of globalization and helping a group of people come together in their environment. This is also an example of contagious diffusion because of the beginning spread of this invention, which spread rapidly and in an outward direction.


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Amazing view of Universe captured

Amazing view of Universe captured | Geography Education |
The Hubble Space Telescope has produced one of its most extraordinary views of the Universe to date.

The Earth is an amazing place to study...but this makes it feel remarkably small. 

Tags: geospatial, space, remote sensing, scale, perspective

Matt Mallinson's comment, October 1, 2012 11:32 AM
I like this kind of stuff, if i didn't choose geography I would probably have chosen astronomy. Everything about it interests me, there's so much that we don't know and will probably never know.
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, September 10, 2013 11:07 AM

I thought it was funny that even though many of the published telescopically captured photos are composites of different lens and filtered shots of a single item, or area of space, that if that item or area were really to be examined, to get more of a feel for the universe as it truly is rather than how we would ordinarily see it, would be to consider it from an infinite number of perspectives.  Rather than just one perspective, as humans are limited to, the universe has many eyes.  Instead of taking many photographs from the same perspective, we could, as many modern scientists do, do in-depth scans using X-ray technology, and magnetic resonance, assessing composition, to create a full picture of all angles, zooms, and subjects of everything, in order to determine more about origins and mysteries of the universe. I would endorse that to be done on an infinite scale, complete with documentation of all spatial anomallies and occurances, such that completion of understanding could, in theory take place by crossing the gap of the notion of infinity by utilizing technology to one's advantage.  This would allow us not to waste time looking at every detail, but to have something with more processing capabilities understand it for us, and communicate that infinity in a way that we could see it.  There are dangers of using X-ray technology, and it doesn't seem like NASA really cares about (as one could hope) not harming alien life, or planting life on other worlds, etc. I would more forcibly endorse that we do not try to observe other worlds and the Universe at all, because god forbid, some alien colony finds us and sees that we are not only cuturally divided, we are a torn world, shattered in the aftermath of the destruction that comes from our selfishness and pride that has long dominated the hearts of men.  They might be disappointed, and they should be.

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Mapping Sept. 11

Mapping Sept. 11 | Geography Education |
In collecting cartographic materials relating to the events of 9/11, the Library's Geography and Map Division is concentrating on documenting the role maps played in managing the recovery effort.

This page from the Library of Congress, hosted by the Geography and Map Division is a visually rich resources of geospatial images (aerial photography, thermal imagery, LiDAR, etc.)  that show the extent of the damage and the physical change to the region that the terrorist attacks brought. 

Tags: Mapping, geospatial, remote sensing, historical, terrorism

Matt E.'s comment, September 12, 2012 10:19 AM
I found the thermal imaging and the lidar was very interesting, because it provided data and potential threats that rescue workers on the ground might be unaware.
Jesse Gauthier's comment, September 12, 2012 10:34 AM
These thermal imagery and LIDAR maps are very useful and high-tech for the year 2001. I have not seen maps like this in regards to the landscape of Ground Zero. What an awesome tool that was able to organize a scene like this one that was out of control.
Lisa Fonseca's comment, September 16, 2012 8:13 PM
These images are very interesting because it provides you with such a clear visual of just how much was effected by the disaster. I wasn't ever able to view the actual 9/11 location after the incident but these maps provide enough detail.
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EARTH Masterpieces

The natural landscapes shown as captured by satellite imagery is as beautiful as anything artists have ever created.  Some of the colors shown in the video may seem otherworldy.  Most of those color anomalies are due to the fact that remotely sensed images have more information in them than just what we see in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Some of these images are processed to show different bands so we can visually interpret data such as what is in the near infra-red band, skewing the color palette.

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Stories Displayed on Maps

Stories Displayed on Maps | Geography Education |
On myHistro you can create advanced geolocated timelines that you can play as presentations. Pin your events, videos and photos to the map and share them with friends and family.


This new resource, myHistro, combines interactive maps with timelines to organize stories, journeys or historical events as the move over time and place.  By embedding photos, videos and links this creates an incredibly dynamic platform for telling historical and geographic stories.  By combining these features, this is a powerful tool to create customized resources for you students.  Pictured above is a sample timeline that shows the spatial and temporal journey of the Olympic torch for the 2012 Games.   

benjamin costello's curator insight, May 20, 2015 5:38 PM

Interesting concept but not totally fleshed out for use by historians... genealogists perhaps would have a better or easier time using this program. It is very interesting but it only allows for one movement, so rather than showing the history of a nation you can show the history of a family through its interactive timelines. Google maps is not always accurate as well. 

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Back to School with Google Earth

Back to School with Google Earth | Geography Education |
Amazing things about Google Earth - news, features, tips, technology, and applications...


If you've never seen the Google Earth Blog, this post is a good primer to the educational possibilities that this technology opens up to teachers.  It is not just for geography teachers; it can be a visualization tool for any subject that has real-world applications that take place somewhere. 

Lindsey Robinson's comment, August 27, 2012 5:22 PM
Google Earth is an amazing way to teach children of all ages (and adults for that matter) about the geography of the Earth. It is such an abstract way of conveying geographic concepts. What an amazing teaching tool....and as an added bonus, it's FREE!!
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NASA Satellite Tracking

NASA Satellite Tracking | Geography Education |

J-Track 3D Satellite Tracking is an online educational tool that maps hundreds of satellites as they orbit Earth.  One of the ironies of the space program is that it's greatest scientific advances from the space program is in observing our own planet instead of deep space.  J-Track 3-D should appear in its own window and plot the satellites in an interactive panel.  This is a great way to learn more about the remote sensing platforms that give us all the beautiful imagery of our planet.

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