Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Business graduates, students, and professionals can sign up today for a free online course to get the Location Advantage."
The Location Advantage is a free MOOC that will be offered by Esri in May 2015. It will last six weeks (2-3 hours of study per week). Registered students will learn how to collect, analyze, and visualize business datasets. You can register online for The Location Advantage.
Partly just because I love this highly quotable movie with an incredible soundtrack, but this short clip from O Brother Where Art Thou? can start be a good conversation starter. I'm hoping to use it when discussing relative location (or isolation) as well as the time-space compression. Frequently, I ask my student how far away they live from campus and invariably they answer with a unit of time (even though distance was implied in the question).
Questions to Ponder: Why do we often answer with a measurement of time when discussing distance? What technologies are dependent on our temporal analysis of distance? How would our perception of distance change based on our access to transportation and communication technologies?
Every so often, a hiker or a backpacker will run across something puzzling: a ginormous concrete arrow, as much as seventy feet in length, just sitting in the middle of scrub-covered America. What are these giant arrows? Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings solves the mystery.
This is fascinating...just because a technology is old and outdated in modern society doesn't mean it wasn't ingenious. The original mathematicians who calculated angles and distances study geometry so they could navigate and 'measure the Earth.' Before GPS, these giant arrows helped pilots navigate across the United States; they are part of the genealogical strands of navigational technology. Mathematics can be incredibly spatial as well as geospatial.
The coal economy in Central Appalachia is in an unprecedented freefall. Which isn't making it easier for workers to move on.
West Virginia and 'coal country' are in steep economic decline, but that doesn't mean people are eager to leave. Leaving for many is a last resort, but when residents feel a familial and emotional connection to a place--to the land--that can create a rationale for staying that is stronger than economic push factors. This video set in West Virgina captures the strong sense of place and community that can exist in a place even in in the face of tough times economic prospects. Geographer Ben Marsh wrote about in a 1987 Annals article: "The residents of the anthracite towns of northeastern Pennsylvania show a considerable loyalty to a landscape that provides them with little of material value. This should remind the observer that any broad concept of place must address two different aspects of a landscape: the physical support it provides (means) and the intangible rewards it offers (meaning). "
"Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots."
The vocabulary and concepts of maps kids should learn to enhance their map-skills & geography awareness. Concise definitions with clear illustrations.
"McDowell County, situated in the coalfields of West Virginia, has experienced a great boom-and-bust since 1950. But despite the economic decline and population loss, many still call it home and feel a great sense of purpose among the mountains. Residents speak about their connection to this place and the meaning of 'home.' Hear more stories at hollowdocumentary.com "
This video perfectly exemplifies some key geographic ideas; sense of place, regional economic decline, migration and resource extraction. This video would be great to shows students and then get them to analyze the geographic context that creates a place like McDowell County, West Virginia. This will be a great addition to my Place-Based Geography Videos StoryMap.
Great idea to help early years learners understand their 'place'...
In this map, all Zip codes with more than 500 people are ranked from 0 to 99 based on household income and education. The 'Super Zips' rank 95 or higher. The map at the top shows the highest concentration of the nation’s 650 Super Zips. The typical household income in a Super Zip is $120,272, and 68 percent of adults hold college degrees. That compares with $53,962 and 27 percent in the other zips mapped. Washington D.C. shows a powerful bifurcation: One-third of Zip codes in the D.C. area are considered ‘Super Zips’ for wealth and education and large swaths of the metropolitan area are considered food deserts.
This weekend I had the privilege of flying essentially from Boston to Washington DC at night and was mesmerized by the vast urban expanse beneath me. It was the greatest concentration of wealth in the United States as well as the some of the most blighted regions of the country. What explains the spatial patterns of highly concentrated wealth and poverty in the biggest cities? Are cities a causal factor in wealth and poverty creation? What does this zip code data tell us? What accounts for the spatial patterns in your region?
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
Think everyone should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Try this one on for size.
This video shows the place matters; a Washington D.C. educator shows how food deserts and other spatial problems of poverty impact his students on a daily basis. We usually look at life expectancy data at the national scale and that obscures some of the real issues of poverty in developed countries. Above is a map that shows the Gini index which measures the degree of economic inequality (the Gini coefficient was recently added to the APHG course content for the Industrialization and Economic Development unit). Here are some maps and data from the World Bank that utilizes the Gini Index as well as an interactive Gapminder graph.
|Suggested by Alex Northrup|
"With Europe sputtering and China costly, the 'stars are aligning' for Mexico as broad changes in the global economy create new dynamics of migration."
I’ve posted earlier about the end of cheap China; the rising cost of doing business in China coupled with the higher transportation costs to get goods to North American and European markets have made manufacturing in Mexican much more competitive on the global market. Many investors are turning to Mexico as an emerging land of opportunity and Mexico is now a destination for migrants. This is still a new pattern: only 1 percent of the country is foreign-born compared to the 13 percent that you would see in the United States. Mexican migration to the United States has stabilized; about as many Mexicans have moved to the U.S. (2005-2010) as those that have moved south of the border.
"Three women’s Death Valley day trip soured after their GPS led them to the edge of survival."
This is a extreme example, but this video serves as a cautionary tale. The harsh and unforgiving physical geography of Death Valley does not tolerate a lack of preparation. Here is part 2 of the video. Garmin the GPS manufacturer's statement on these videos is quite telling "GPS's shouldn't be followed blindly...it is incumbent on users to obtain and update their GPS devices with the most recent map updates."
Technology is designed to guide and assist our decision-making process--that does NOT mean we should turn over thinking functions to the device. Spatial thinking is just like a muscle that will atrophy if it is never used. So consult a map and think for yourself; newer technologies aren't always better or more reliable.
Today we take it for granted that through GPS technology we can instantaneously determine our latitude and longitude. This video documents how for centuries it was fairly easy to determine latitude at sea by measuring the height of the sun in the sky, but longitude (determined by the difference in time between local noon and the noon of a fixed point) could only be estimated. The British Empire saw solving the "longitude problem" as the key to solidifying their economic dominance at sea and they established the Board of Longitude in this 18th century "race to the moon." Today the University of Cambridge has digitized the Board of Longitude's archives with a series of five shorter video clips.
Get the inside edge on the stories that connect Americans to the world -- in your ear every week.
This video explains why geography teachers should be interested in Latitude News given it's desire to show how global stories have regional impacts. They often have interesting perspectives on global stories that makes the geographic linkages explicit. They are currently raising funds to expand their reach.
The South Bay Power Plant was imploded Saturday Feb 2, 2013
to clear the way for development along Chula Vista's bayfront.
This powerplant was demolished primarily because of location (watch the cool videos of the implosion). The electrical powerplant provided energy for the region, but it's location right on the San Diego Bay doesn't line up with current land uses. When the area's economy was focused more on manufacturing, this was seen an ideal way to use the wetlands on the bay. Today our city planning priorites has shifted. First, how we view wetlands has changed and we no longer see them as "wasted" space. Second, an attractive waterfront that can be used to generate tourism is seen as a greater economic priority today than it was 50 years ago.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
West Virginia aims to put its residents on the map
While this article does occasionally play off of the country bumpkin stereotypes we've all heard about West Virginians, there are some important concepts lying under the surface in the article. All places have a location (both absolute and relative), but not one that is easily discernible to an outsider unfamiliar with the area. Many emergency responders rely on geocoded addresses and GPS systems to location those in need, and the state of West Virginia is trying to ensure that even the most rural of residents is on the grid. Many location-based technologies lose their value as soon as you leave a named road, so these systematic campaign will strengthen the push for modernization and digital systems. How will this change the cultural landscape?
The idea of flash mobs has spread quickly, diffusing at a time when online video sharing can immortalize the moment in time and social media can amplify the audience beyond just one place.
I LOVE this particular flashmob (as a bonus, 'read' the cultural landscape to try to identify where this took place). While there are many types of successful flash mobs, all share one characteristic: place matters. The place where a flash mob performs is not simply a stage; place is a crucial part of the meaning of the flash mob. An incredibly prominent place with open spaces and many sight lines is a prime location for a flash mob. Beyond these tangible characteristics, if a site has some importance cultural significance, those qualities can be meshed with the meanings of the flash mob. For more of my musings on flashmobs (and extra clips) you can continue reading here.
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.
Wal-Mart officials worked hard to ensure that zoning regulations were changed so that they could bring a store to a coveted location. They built a Wal-Mart in the shadows of arguably Mexico's most important world heritage site--the pyramids of Teotihuacán. This investigative report uncovers the illegal steps that Wal-Mart took to force through their agenda.
Questions to Ponder: Why would Wal-Mart be so keen on this particular location? Why would some in Mexico oppose this project so fiercely? Would Wal-Mart behave in such a manner in the United States?
During the holiday season, online sales shoot up as distant relatives seek to ship gifts in time for Christmas. Some have noted that online shoppers can stay at home and completely render the tradition physical storefront redundant. Online shoppers, whether they think about it or not, hoping that the physical logistics behind the scenes will work efficiently and quickly. This collection of images is a reminder that while it might appear that geography and location are eliminated with online communications, these virtual interactions in cyberspace are dependent on actual physical locations.
Although these were designed specifically for GIS day during Geography Awareness Week, these 2 excellent map-based treasure hunts from ESRI are great any time of year. The answer to the question will only pop up in you are zoomed in the the right region (SHIFT + Make a box = Zoom to area). These links will take you to the World Cities quiz and also to the Mountains quiz.
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."
Learn about the high-tech treasure hunting game being played around the world by adventure seekers! Learn more at http://www.geocaching.com Subscribe to this...
Geocaching is great way to get people outdoors, use geospatial technologies and have fun with the whole family.
Find the latitude and longitude of a point using Google Maps.
Simple, straightforward and easy to use. All you do is point and click on the map to get latitude and longitude in both decimal degrees and DMS (degrees, minutes and seconds). You can also quickly enter coordinates in either format an have the location displayed on the map.