Maps are Arguments
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Maps are Arguments
"The maps are arguments, and the mapmaking is a rhetorical exercise." --Denis Wood (2010) | geography, literacy, media, and learning
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Will it be a white Christmas?

Will it be a white Christmas? | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it

We usually read weather maps--correctly--as displaying current conditions and/or short term predictions about upcoming weather patterns. This map from the National Climatic Data Center at NOAA (via @APHumanGeog's Seth Dixon) does something different: it displays the probability of a white Christmas (that is, snow on December 25) across the continental United States based on past weather patterns.

 

With Rogers Hall, Emily Shahan, Jennifer Kahn, and Emily's math literacies students, we've been thinking this semester about the mathematics behind data displays like these. How were these data generated? What do they mean? What is our impression, as readers, when we come across a thematic map like this?

 

The metaphor we've used to think about unpacking the mathematics is "dissection." If we dissect this data display, what can we determine about its constituent parts? What would young people need to know in order to read, make sense of, and act on a map like this? How is the mathematics more/less hidden here than when we're looking at a more traditional weather map? How do our expectations for the genre of "weather map" play into what we can read and understand with this map?


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Where Farmers Live and Which Countries Don’t Have Enough

Where Farmers Live and Which Countries Don’t Have Enough | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it

From Seth Dixon: "Read more from Slate’s special issue on the future of food. Which counties, states, and countries have the biggest stake in food and its future? Look to these three maps to find out. Where do most farmers live?  Which countries feed the world?  Which states produce the highest crop value per capita?  This series of interactive maps with data at a variety of scales will allow students to explore these questions.  What to understand the spatial patterns of food production and the geographic factors behind agricultural variation?  They are ripe for the picking."


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Maps of the Future

Maps of the Future | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it
A 1989 prediction about portable GPS devices was right on the money...

 

From Seth Dixon: "As technology continues to speed ahead, how we interact with maps will keep evolving.  This is a thoughtful blog post that spectulates about the future of mapping."


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Kyle Kampe's curator insight, May 28, 2014 11:20 PM

In AP Human Geo., this relates to the concepts of GIS, GPS, and mapping, because it indicates that technology will continue to play a significant role in morphing the utility and function of maps in the future.

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Spatial History Project

Spatial History Project | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it

The Spatial History Project at Stanford puts together some fantastic geovisualization that is an awesome site that allows you or your kids to spatial and temporally the diffusion of Nazi concentration camps.  It has some clickable 'GIS-like' layers to help students contextualize the data and to make some important interdisciplinary connections.  Originally spotted on http://ushistoryeducatorblog.blogspot.com/


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Why Map Projections Matter

From Seth Dixon:

This is a clip from the TV show West Wing (Season 2-Episode 16) where cartography plays a key role in the plot.  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?  

 

Tags: Mapping, geospatial, video, visualization. 

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Lydia Blevins's comment, September 13, 2012 6:17 AM
I think it is very important that we start using more accurate maps. In school, the maps we use are so different from how the world actually is. I agree that children will grow up thinking some places are less important because they are minimized by the map projection.
Greg Atkinson's comment, October 10, 2012 12:31 PM
Great clip. I use it in my WRG class as a comedic introduction to the power of projection.
Mary Patrick Schoettinger's curator insight, December 18, 2012 3:01 PM

This absolutely the best video clip for SS teachers EVER!

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Spatial Analysis of the NBA Finals

Spatial Analysis of the NBA Finals | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it
Navigate court maps and view analysis of every shot taken over the ’11-'12 season for the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Who said geography has nothing to do with sports?!?  While there are many cultural and economic impacts on sport preference and prevalence, let's discuss the geography of the hardwood and a spatial analysis of the shot selections between the two teams.  Clearly 'place matters' to many NBA players as their success on the court depends on finding their preferred spots within the flow of offense.     


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Google Lit Trips

Google Lit Trips | Maps are Arguments | Scoop.it

Google Earth is a great teaching tool for geographers, but it is also a way to bring geography and spatial thinking to other disciplines.  Google Lit Tips marks the journeys that take place in literature (both fiction and non-fiction) all the more real by mapping out the movements as a KML file that can be viewed in Google Earth.  By embedding pictures, websites, videos and text into the path, this becomes an incredibly interactive resource for teachers of all levels.


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Robin Manning's comment, May 3, 2012 6:02 PM
I make my students do one of these for their Spring Book Project - very fun.