Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) is a classic--how often does cartography plays a key role in the plot of a TV show? In this episode the fictitious (but still on Facebook) group named "the Organization of Cartographers for Social Justice" is campaigning to have the President officially endorse the Gall-Peters Projection in schools and denounce the Mercator projection. The argument being that children will grow up thinking some places are not as important because they are minimized by the map projection. While a bit comical, the cartographic debate is quite informative even if it was designed to appear as though the issue was trivial.
Questions to Ponder: Why do map projections matter? Is one global map projection inherently better than the rest?
Yes, these globes are precise archives filled with geospatial data and locational information--however, that pales in comparison to the artistic brilliance of the globes. These hand-crafted globes are truly works of art. Marvel at the merger of mathematical precision and artistic design that makes a globe such as these a cartographic gem. If anybody want to get me a Christmas present, you know that I love cartographic gifts.
"Revolution and rotation are the terms we use to describe the motions of the earth and moon. Revolution is the movement of the earth in an orbit around the sun. The Earth completes one revolution around the sun every 365 days. The moon revolves around the Earth about once every month."
Understanding the relationships between the Sun, Earth and moon are critical for for understanding the seasons, climate and other geographic factors. This interactive simulates gravity unlike anything I've every seen on a computer screen.
To exploring Earth-Sun interactions, playing around with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Sun Simulator is a fun way to make a little more sense of the various factors that control how the Sun appears in the sky.
"Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers. Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers."
"Don’t let my New York City–centric comparisons hinder your imagination. The interactive at the top of this page lets you visualize how different parts of the country compare in population density.
Click the button at the bottom of the interactive to select Los Angeles County, for instance, and then click anywhere on the map to generate a (roughly) circular region of (roughly) equal population. The population data come from the 2010 census, and the square mileage was calculated by summing each highlighted county’s total area. You can also use New Jersey (the most densely populated state), Wyoming (the least densely populated state outside of Alaska), Texas, the coasts (the group of all counties that come within 35 miles of either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans), and, yes, New York City as the baseline for your population comparison."
Earlier I shared a dynamic map of near-live wind data for the United States and a static rendering of global wind patterns. This combines the features of both of those resources to provide a mesmerizing digital globe. This visualization of global weather conditions is updated every three hours from supercomputer data projections. Click on the 'earth' text in the lower left-hand corner to customize the display. For examining the wind patterns and oceans currents, this is much more useful than Google Earth; this is definitely one of my favorite resources.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
"This cool new historic mapping app from the folks at esri and the U.S. Geological Survey is worth exploring. What it does is take 100 years of USGS maps and lets you overlay them for just about any location in the nation. That allows users to see how a city – say Harrisburg – developed between 1895 and today. The library behind the project includes more than 178,000 maps dating from 1884 to 2006."
For more ESRI maps that let you explore urban environmental change, the 'spyglass' feature gives these gorgeous vintage maps a modern facelift (but not available for as many places). The cities that are in this set of interactive maps are:
"This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The team is based at the University of Texas at Dallas."
This video has garnered a lot of academic and mainstream attention--while I wouldn't describe in as the Entire History of Human Culture in 5 minutes as the Huffington Post did, it is a stellar visualization that uses big data and was created with some solid academic research. Hierarchical diffusion patterns are powerfully depicted in this video created by Nature as are other geographic concepts such as urban settlement patterns (e.g.-primate cities and rank-size rule in Europe).
In 1990, the manufacturing industry was the leading employer in most U.S. states, followed by retail trade. In 2003, retail trade was the leading employer in a majority of states. By 2013, health care and social assistance was the dominant industry in 34 states. This animated map shows the top industry in each state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2013.
Have you even wanted to explore an interactive map of the United States and be able to click on any neighborhood to see the local population age structure and compare that to the national, state or county data? If not, you don't know what you've been missing. This is a fantastic resource that lets you and your students explore the data AND ask spatial questions. It's definitely one that I'll add to my list of favorite resources.
Watch the commuting patterns of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This CityLab article and the embedded maps show the rhythms and patterns that make city life so beautifully complex. The Center for Advances Spatial Analysis has compiled numerous maps, time-lapse videos and other animations to show flows of urban life. These are great resources to visualize the 'spaces of flows.'
This interactive map, produced by University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776, offers a time-lapse vision of the transfer of Indian land between 1776 and 1887. As blue “Indian homelands” disappear, small red areas appear, indicating the establishment of reservations (above is a static image of the map; visit the map's page to play with its features).
In the past I've shared maps that show the historic expansion of the United States--a temporal and spatial visualization of Manifest Destiny. The difference with this interactive is that the narrative focuses on the declining territory controlled by Native Americans instead of the growth of the United States. That may seem a minor detail, but how history is told shapes our perception of events, identities and places.
Want to learn more about the issues surrounding poverty in the world today? We ve assembled a collection of some of the best data visualizations for just that.
This set of 12 graphics all show a particular facet on the topic of global poverty. I've shared some of this before, but the compilation is definitely helpful. In the graphic above, the connection between low female literacy rates and poverty is demonstrated quite powerfully.
"Google is using a new technology to automatically generate 3D buildings from 45-degree angle aerial photography made by overlapping passes of aircraft. The aerial photos are combined to create 3D models."
Some of the nuts and bolts behind Google Earth might be difficult to replicate in the computer lab, but it is critical to conceptually understand how geospatial data is used today. This series of images shows how important remote sensing is for our modern digital mapping platforms.
"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.
|Suggested by PIRatE Lab|
This chart shows the lexical distance — that is, the degree of overall vocabulary divergence — among the major languages of Europe. The size of each circle represents the number of speakers ...
And yes, English has its deepest roots in German...the French aspects were tacked on after the Norman Conquest.
This represents less than 10% of the Terragen CGI created for "Drain the Great Lakes", a TV documentary made for MSP, National Geographic Channel & Discovery Canada by 422 South in Bristol, UK. I created all the Terragen landscape work over a period of 7 months in 2011."
Radical Cartography, brought to you by Bill Rankin
I was recently reminded of the graph and thought is was worth sharing again. This is an excellent spatial graph that helps to explain the distribution of the human population. Why do we live where we live? The longitude map is still fascinating, but has less explanatory power. What would be brilliant is a graph that charted population by latitude (as this does) AND charts the amount of land at each given latitude. Click here for Frank Jacobs analysis on the "Strange Maps" blog.
"Six students from De Montfort University have created a stellar 3D representation of 17th century London, as it existed before The Great Fire of 1666. The three-minute video provides a realistic animation of Tudor London, and particularly a section called Pudding Lane where the fire started. As Londonist notes, “Although most of the buildings are conjectural, the students used a realistic street pattern [taken from historical maps] and even included the hanging signs of genuine inns and businesses” mentioned in diaries from the period."
"CATHOLIC Argentina, Mexico & Phillippines have more babies born per woman than MUSLIM Indonesia, Iran & Turkey."
Gapminder is a tremendous resource that I've shared in the past and total fertility rates is an ideal metric to see in this data visualization tool. As Hans Rosling said in one of his TED talks using Gapminder, religion and total fertility rates are not as connected as previously thought. In this particular mode, you can see how three predominantly Catholic countries (Philippines, Argentina and Mexico) compare in Total Fertility Rates to three predominantly Muslim countries (Indonesia, Turkey and Iran).
Questions to Ponder: Historically many have assumed that Catholic and Muslim populations would have higher birth rates; why is this changing? How important a factor is religion in changing fertility rates? What are other factors impact a society's fertility rate?
"As a kid, I grew up watching the Rocky movies, shadow boxing with my brothers and doing push-ups during the workout montages. One on my favorite scenes was in Rocky II when Rocky runs through the whole city of Philadelphia, thronged by adoring fans as he runs to the top of the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and yes, of course I re-enacted that scene when I was there)."
I was thrilled to read an article in the Philly Post by Dan McQuade entitled “How Far did Rocky Go is His Training run in Rocky II?“ This article identifies the locations in movie that were used to capture such a strong sense of place; earlier versions of this article did not have a map, and I wanted to see the images and a map together. That was enough reason to make both an online map on arcgis.com and an interactive web mapping application with an ESRI storymap template.
|Suggested by Sylvain Rotillon|
" The Smithsonian Magazine recently dipped into David Rumsey's collection of over 150,000 maps to find some of the best representations of American cities over the past couple hundred years. With some simple programming, they were able to overlay images of vintage maps of some major cities onto satellite images from today. The results are fascinating."
The 'spyglass' feature gives thesse gorgeous vintage maps a modern facelift. The cities that are in this set of interactive maps are: