"NASA goes to the World Cup! Satellite imagery from each country playing."
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"NASA goes to the World Cup! Satellite imagery from each country playing."
Not that we need any extra incentive to view NASA's gorgeous satellite imagery, but now that the World Cup has entered the knockout rounds, it is the perfect opportunity to view selected images from the participating countries. This gallery of a dozen World Cup StoryMaps are but a few of the thousands of Esri StoryMaps that can serve as motivation to get your K-12 U.S. school an organizational account for ArcGIS online (then your students can make cool maps like these).
Argentina and England are unlikely to meet at the World Cup finals, however their rivalry was reignited at the weekend when the Argentine national side posed behind a banner claiming the Falkland Islands belong to the South American country. Ahead of their warm-up match with Slovenia in Buenos Aires, the team displayed the message in support of the country's claims over the sovereignty of the islands in the South Atlantic, which are a British Overseas Territory.
The World Cup can make things interesting when nationalistic fervor becomes politicized and moves to issues off the pitch. Are they the Falklands or Las Malvinas? It's not just a simple linguistic translation but also a statement of territoriality and geopolitical recognition. Like Gibraltar, the Falklands are British Oversees Territories, ones that Margaret Thatcher was willing to fight Agrentina to maintain; Argentina still claims Las Malvinas as their territory. For a great teaching resource on this issue, see the second slideshow in this series of AP Human Geography talks that was given at NCGE 2013 (sign up to attend NCGE 2014 here).
“The thing about football - the important thing about football -is that it is not just about football."
They eyes of the world will be turning to Brazil next month as the World Cup will be played in this South American country. This is a perfect opportunity to pounce on student interest and teach them about Brazil, the urban geography and politics of hosting a major event such as this. Follow the link for some lessons bound to garner student interest.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
Hamm said he was drawn to the true story of an agent looking for India's first pro-baseball player
This 6 minute clip is a preview of the movie "Million Dollar Arm." It looks to be a fun movie, but what I find academically interesting about the movie is that it is a portrayal of one of the countless fascinating cultural and economic interactions that was created by globalization. The story is about the economic forces motivating baseball scouts to seek out untapped labor pools in areas such as India that were previously not a part of baseball's cultural reach (and the really cool global lives of these individuals).
"Fans may not list which team they favor on the census, but millions of them do make their preferences public on Facebook. Using aggregated data provided by the company, we were able to create an unprecedented look at the geography of baseball fandom, going down not only to the county level, as Facebook did in a nationwide map it released a few weeks ago, but also to ZIP codes."
This isn't just a fun sports map--there are some good geographic concepts that can be used here. When discussing cultural regions, many use the core-domain-sphere model. This map uses the brightest color intensities to represent the core regions and the lightest hues to show waning strength, but to still signify that the area is a part of a team's sphere of influence. Essentially, this map is begging you to explore the borderlands, the liminal "in-between" spaces that aren't as easy to explain. What other phenomena can be used to demonstrate the core-domain-sphere model of cultural regions? What other geographic concepts can you teach using this map?
The history of baseball reflects the story of expansion in the United States. New cities have emerged and modern stadiums have been built as a growing population fueled the popularity of our National Pastime. The result is an extensive network of baseball teams at every level - from the major leagues to the little leagues - that represent the communities and environments in which they play. Everything from jersey colors, names, and symbols to the foods served at ballparks reflects the local landscape and culture of baseball teams. A simple game that began with a bat and ball is now a comprehensive case study of how people and geography are interrelated.
All of the lessons and activities have been prepared to accompany "Geography: Baseball Coast to Coast." You will find that the curriculum is organized into three levels: Level 1 for elementary school students, Level 2 for middle school students, and Level 3 for high school students.
Some deeply held opinions that individuals hold are rooted in the cultural and regional influences (even if they feel that they are being purely objective). Sports fans though, are rarely objective and are often swayed by those opinions that they hear the most, which often come for those closest to us. While we are on the subject of basketball and geography, you've got to try Population Bracketology, which challenges your knowledge on the sizes of Metropolitan Statistic Areas and state population.
Why would Vladimir Putin want to host the Olympics in an underdeveloped place where terrorists lurk nearby? The answer is not as complicated as it may seem.
This article is an excellent explanation of the geopolitical significance of holding the Olympic Games in Sochi. Geographer Carole McGranahan writes critically about the location of the Olympics given Putin's policies in the Caucasus Mountains (especially in regard to the 2008 invasion of Georgia to protect Russian interests in South Ossetia). Additionally, here is a link from Stratfor discussing the shifting foreign policy concerns of the United States towards Russia.
ESPN Video: Jeremy Schaap details the threats to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
It's not everyday that ESPN will use terms like insurgency, region, state, suicide bombs, attacks, threats, heightened security, terrorists and black widows during a video clip, but when they do it's worth paying attention to the geographic context of their story. Here is an additional NY Times interactive, also on the geopolitical context of Sochi.
Fury, anarchy, martyrdom: Why the youth of Brazil are (forever) protesting, and how their anger may consume the World Cup.
Protests in public spaces are colliding with the Brazil's World Cup/Olympic dreams. The government wants to show the world the best that the country has to offer and protestors are using this moment to highlight the social ills in their country and some of the collateral damages of these major sporting events. This may not seem like a sports issue per se, but one of social unrest that happens to be more highly publicized because of the coming international sporting events to Brazil. Many see the money that went to constructing massive stadiums as money that bypassed those that needed it most and the poor neighborhoods (favelas) that were demolished to make way for an 'ideal city' that the world would see. The world's eye is on Brazil and both sides know it.
|Suggested by C. Kevin Turner|
" 549 players from 62 different countries play in MLS in the United States"
In the United States, soccer is not as prevalant as it is in so many other countries around the world (but it is growing in importance in the United States as well). This cultural discrepancy accounts for both of the spatial distribution of where athletes playing in Major League Soccer in the United States come from--answer: all over. Also, American fans of the English Premier League have distinct preferences based on different cultural meanings behind team affiliations.
"Football’s analytics are evolving quickly. Thanks to new forms of data and emerging kinds of analyses, teams, media, and fans are gaining new insights into on-field performances."
The more advanced metrics in sports are now spatial: analyzing where on the field a particular play is more likely to be successful. Conversely, scouting out opponents relies on detecting if a player has spatial tendencies on the court or field that might be exploited (for example, where is LeBron's sweet spot on the court?). This ESPN article shows how different teams and quarterbacks use the field in their offense schemes. Increasingly, many professions are embracing the power of spatial data and spatial thinking.
"By using Facebook data from the 2.5 million people in New York or New England that ‘like’ either the Red Sox or Yankees I was able to create a more accurate rivalry map than ever before."
Sports maps with team logos on them are often hand-drawn works of art without much data to back them up--not so with this map. Read the article to find the actual data which is much messier than these bold color proclaim. These regions aren't homogenous (are they ever?) but this is the best fit line between the major groups of fans, showing that Connecticut is the true 'battle ground' for this regional rivalry.
Cedric Thompson retraced some of the steps that led him from L.A. to a dusty California outpost to, finally, the Gophers football team.
A young man for the tough streets of South Central Los Angeles found refuge from from gang troubles out in the desert in a community on the Salton Sea. His family believes this unconventional move was key to him becoming a successful football player at the University of Minnesota. His personal geographies follows uncommon migrational patterns, but it demonstrates that personal geographies can show some of the great diversity that is a part of the human mosaic.
The origins of the protests were based on hikes in public transit fares, but a movement of general discontent began, with many voices and multiple perspectives. While the World Cup is a rallying point, many argue that it isn't the World Cup they are angry about, but corruption and social inequality. FIFA is starting to think of contingency plans if protests continue and threaten the World Cup. The lack of clear leadership some feel is the reason why the protest have lost some steam in July as stated in this NPR podcast. This photo essay of the protest movement with a gallery of 39 photos is quite intriguing.
Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah's journey to the NFL, beginning as a walk-on to the Brigham Young University football team from Accra, Ghana, who had never played foot...
Ezekiel loved playing soccer and never played American football until he was in his 20's; that is NOT a typical path to the NFL. Ziggy's life represents the geography of opportunity. If he had grown up in the United States, a boy with his physical abilities would have been funneled into football leagues at an early age. If he lived his whole life in Africa, he would never become a millionaire (probably not anyway). However, global diffusion of religious ideas brought LDS missionaries to his home in Ghana; enhanced migrational opportunities took him to Utah and all of these geographic factors (combined with his personal skills and ambition) helped him to become the fifth overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft and a member of the Detroit Lions. Read here for more on Ziggy.
This story also makes be wonder if those with the greatest physical talent for a sport always gets the opportunity. I'm sure some kids in tropical countries have the physical tools to be fantastic hockey players, but without access to participation at an early age because of the cultural preferences of the area (although with hockey you could argue it's also climatically determined), they are geographically constrained to a different set of possibilities for their lives.
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pushes participants to the brink on an unforgiving trek to the end of the world. And, as one writer who tracked the race by air discovers, that is exactly the point.
The Iditarod is as much about conquering the physical environment and harsh climates as any sporting event in the world. This article about this famous Alaskan race also has a unique geo-visualization component to it that is worth exploring--it has a map showing where the action takes place in the article and as the reader scrolls through the article, the map changes and it highlights the progression along the trail.
LeBron explains how he transformed himself into a ruthlessly efficient scoring machine.
This series of spatial diagrams (dare I say, maps?) shows how the offense game of LeBron James has changed dramatically over the last few years, greatly increasing his efficiency. Do you know of a basketball-loving student that might appreciate spatial analysis more when seen through the lens of their favorite sport?
The brackets are rarely as "regional" as the names Midwest, West, South and East would suggest; still a map of all the participating teams shows that there a geography to basketball participation. See also this collection of maps visualizing basketball fandom. Also, what about the high schools areas that produce college basketball players? What patterns to you see?
When it came time for the Super Bowl, Clemmie Greenlee was expected to sleep with anywhere from 25 to 50 men a day.
There certainly is a dark side to large sporting events as this article on human trafficking makes perfectly clear. The 'event economy' based on tourism (even without trafficking) also has some negative impacts.
Facebook Data Science wrote a note titled NFL Fans on Facebook. Read the full text here.
Who is rooting for which team in the Super Bowl? How does regional geography play a role in this distribution of the data captured in this map?
On the surface Facebook is a social network, but those in the know recognize that it's actually one of the largest datasets of human trends, preferences and activity ever catalogued.
This is a crowd-sourced map of NFL fans is very different from this more stylized version.