Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The Two Koreas

The Two Koreas | Geography Education |

"While the Korean War of the early 1950s never formally ended, its aftermath has created starkly divergent worlds for those living on either side of the north-south divide. What follows is a look at life in the two Koreas; how such a night-and-day difference came to be; and where the crisis could go from here. Both governments claimed to be the legitimate rulers of the peninsula. Tensions between north and south gradually mounted, until finally, in June 1950, hundreds of thousands of North Korean troops stormed across the 38th parallel. The unsuspecting South Korean defenders were outgunned and outnumbered, and beat a hasty retreat southward."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This excellent interactive was created by Esri's Story Maps team using the Story Map Cascade app--making it an great resources of the geography of the Korean Peninsula as well as a stellar example of how maps, infographics, videos, images and text can be combined using ArcGIS online.


Tags: mappingESRIStoryMapinfographic, visualizationNorth KoreaSouth Korea, East Asiaborders, political, geopolitics, historical.

Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, December 10, 2018 2:10 AM
The two Koreas are polar opposites literally, North and South. The Korean war that took place some 68 years ago never formally ended because they could not come to peace agreements. So the border between North and South Korea known as the DMZ is the most heavily fortified border in the world because tensions still run high. The DMZ is the cease fire line. Both sides fear invasion, however in the current state of things it seems as if the North is more aggressive towards invasion that the South, as the South has found some secret tunnels and fear there's more by the North Koreans. Economically the North is severely behind in the world because of there dictators. While the South has become an economic Tiger thanks to the UN and USA trying to promote democracy in the area.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 8:51 PM
The two Koreas are a great example of how Capitalism, Democracy, and liberty are far better than Communism. Just the difference in light visible from satellites at night in the two countries speaks volumes. The war being technically not over and only under cease-fire always leaves that chance for the conflict to reopen. Though today they are taking major steps toward peace and making moves that have never been done before. The amount of famine and overall  sub quality of life in North Korea is mind blowing, and with much of it kept secret its hard to imagine how bad it really is.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 8:54 PM
For the two Korean nations, there are stark contrasts in the standard of living and wealth of the people. While the Korean war began in the 1950's it never formally ended a ceasefire was called and has just not flared up in a massive battle again. The two nations are uneasy with each other having different ideas for what Korea should be, but both nations do want a joint Korea. Looking at a map of the energy consumption by the two nations there is a line between those who have it and those who do not. These two have shown solidarity as well in the Olympics joining as one nation, but tensions will continue to flare for a long time.
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10 countries that desperately want people to have more sex

10 countries that desperately want people to have more sex | Geography Education |
Roughly half the countries around the world experience low fertility rates, and some get pretty creative in how they encourage procreation.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While many countries have anti-natalist policies (policies to discourage more births), other countries with declining populations have pro-natalist policies in an attempt to increase fertility rates.  While not an exhaustive list, this list gives a few more examples that teachers can use to show how countries in stage 4 of the demographic transition are dealing with declining fertility rates.  



Tags: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, modelsunit 2 population. 

Deanna Wiist's curator insight, September 13, 2017 1:55 AM

While many countries have anti-natalist policies (policies to discourage more births), other countries with declining populations have pro-natalist policies in an attempt to increase fertility rates.  While not an exhaustive list, this list gives a few more examples that teachers can use to show how countries in stage 4 of the demographic transition are dealing with declining fertility rates.  



Tags: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, modelsunit 2 population. 

Ms. Amanda Fairchild's curator insight, October 16, 2017 6:21 PM
Examples of pro-natalist countries.
Frances Meetze's curator insight, September 10, 2018 6:18 PM

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Walled World

Walled World | Geography Education |
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an in-depth, multi-media interactive that explores the political, economic and cultural implications of borders that are heavily fortified or militarized (I found this too late to be included in the "best posts of 2013" list, but this will be the first to include for 2014).  Not all of these borders are political; in Brazil it explores the walls that separate different socioeconomic groups and in Northern Ireland they look at walls dividing religious groups.  The interactive examines various borders including U.S./Mexico, Morocco, Syria, India/Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Greece/Turkey, Northern Ireland, North/South Korea and Spain The overarching questions are these: why are we building new walls to divide us?  What are the impacts of these barriers?


Tags: borders, political, territoriality, unit 4 political.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 6:06 AM

We looked at this map in class its really interesting nd weird to see all the dividing walls in the world and to discover ones youve never seen before.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 13, 2015 2:53 AM

The video attached to this article reminded me made me think "racism". It is not Americas first time targeting one cultural group and antagonizing them. We did it to the Indians, Jews, at one time we denied Chinese immigrants the right to enter the country or become a citizen. The projection of walls in my opinion only creates more room for crime. I would love to research what benefits its had. I think the world is lacking the understand that people are people .period. This segregation and division is so unnecessary and creates wars, tension, hostility, and divide.


Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 2:41 PM

the social impact is we do not get to mingle with people of different culture, religion, ethnicity. Economically businesses do not grow at least on the small business side. There is no chance of growth. what about population once again if you stay with in a section divided by walls then the population stays within. a society would have to stay above the 2.06 fertility rate to keep their population stable.

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What's in a Name?

What's in a Name? | Geography Education |

The Pentagon has upset patriots by labeling the body of water between Korea and Japan in an exhibition depicting various battles fought during the 1950-53 Korean War as "Sea of Japan" rather than "East Sea."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Earlier this week I posted on whether a group of islands off the coast of Argentina should be called the Falkland Islands or Las Malvinas.  There is some geopolitical significance to which name you ascribe to particular places.  Does it matter if I call the sea to the east of the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" and if someone else refers to this same body of water west of Japan the "Sea of Japan?"  For many years the Sea of Japan has been the defacto name internationally and South Korean officials have lobbied (quite successfully) to bolster the legitimacy of the name within the media, publishers and cartographers and other governments.  Last summer, a worker in the South Korean government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that I share some resources that state South Korea's position(see also this 10 minute video), showing their commitment to this rebranding effort.  Also see this GeoCurrents article on the subject in 2012, after South Korea's failed attempt to get international recognition.

Questions to Ponder: What other places have multiple names?  What are the political overtones to the name distinctions? What are other tricky places on the map where distinct groups would label/draw things differently?  Is the map an 'unbiased' source of information? 

Tags: language, toponyms, South Korea, historical, colonialism, cartography.

Justin McCullough's curator insight, October 17, 2013 3:16 PM

I agree with Peter Kim and others that are fighting to have the name changed to the East Sea. The term "Sea of Japan" was used in colonial times of South Korea. Now that those times are long gone, it I can understand why South Korea would want to get rid of anything related to that time period. This actually reminds of something that I'm going over in my colonial history class; the Pueblo Revolt (1680). During this time Indians revolted against the Spanish colonizers oppressing them and taking away their traditions, forcibly converting them to Christianity. During their revolt the Indians destroyed many of the Spanish institutions, especially those related to religion. They destroyed churches and even defaced the statues of the saints, and returned to their traditional practices.

This article also reminded of Sri Lanka changing the its colonial name on Government institutions from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. This happened not to long ago. The Island's colonial name (Ceylon) was dropped when they became their own country in 1972. However, the name Ceylon remained on many of the Government institutions (e.g. Bank of Ceylon or Ceylon Fisheries Corporation). However, in 2010 the name was dropped for good.  

James Hobson's curator insight, November 22, 2014 2:55 AM

(East Asia topic 10 [an independent topic])

{And finally a topic outside of China...}

Just as mentioned in a Scoop from a previous topic section, names can be viewed as more than a word which identifies a place. The context of a name can run very deep and be highly contentious. In this case "Sea of Japan" and "East Sea" are contenders for the official name of the body of water between Japan, Korea, and Russia. Sea of Japan is an older term with more of a history, which especially invokes mentioning of the Korean War. East Sea is a post-war term hopes to remove national tension form its name.

   Should officials really 'rename the wheel', or can the original name be accepted just because of its location and historical use? Or perhaps neither of these options, or even a national-level split as is currently the case?

   Personally, I see it as the difference between Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island (the actual island, of course), or even relatable to French fries vs. freedom fries. Physical things don't change just because their names do. In my view, perhaps everybody should just choose whichever they are more familiar with and comfortable using, while taking into consideration and expressing that their reference of a location is not meant to imply any political views.

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Korea and the Yellow Sea

Korea and the Yellow Sea | Geography Education |
While city lights at night serve as a good proxy for population density, North Korea provides a dark exception.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This image is appears to be a regional inset of the classic Earth at Night composite image however this nighttime remote sensing image was taken from Sept. 2012.  The Earth at Night image is typically used in classrooms to discuss what this actually means for human geography (Population density?  Development? Consumption? Where? How come?).  However, this particular portion of the global image focused on the Korean Peninsula highlights two other specific issues:

  1. the impact of a totalitarian state can actually be seen from space as South Korea has a per captia income level 17 times higher than that of North Korea. 
  2. the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) can be seen in the Yellow Sea as fishing vessels form a line approximately 200 nautical miles off the coast of South Korea.     

Tagseconomic, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, territoriality, states, unit 4 political, remote sensing.

서병기's curator insight, November 7, 2014 12:03 AM

We should try to alleviate the great difference of the North and South Korea. It's time to cooperate.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 25, 2014 3:59 PM

The contrast between North and South Korea in this Earth at Night image shows just how different these countries are. South Korea, with aid from the United States, is becoming a highly developed and prosperous power, with a impressive economy compared to what it was just decades ago. On the other hand, North Korea is dark, both literally and figuratively. North Korea's economy remains highly undeveloped, and the few utilities that the country provides are unreliable and not far stretching. The only visible bright light in North Korea is the city of Pyongyang, and even that is nothing compared to Seoul.


Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 7:16 PM

Devastated by the war that secured its independence, South Korea entered the 1960's as a third world country. Today, it is one of the strongest economies in the world, with a vibrant culture and strong allies in the US and Japan. The economic growth it experienced in the final decades of the 20th century is nothing short of remarkable, thoroughly earning its title as an "Asian Tiger" economy. The quality of life enjoyed by its citizens, and the nation continues to prosper in the face of aggression shown by its northern neighbor. The leaps and bounds made in the South Korean economy and its infrastructure is highlighted by this map, showing the intense amounts of development that have occurred all over the country- there isn't a dark spot in the entire southern half of the Korean peninsula. Contrasted to North Korea, its particular striking- the two nations have really taken opposite paths since the end to hostilities between the two in 1953. Should they be able to avoid another conflict, South Korea will only continue to prosper as we push forward into the 21st century.

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Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips

Baseball in South Korea is more than a game. It’s akin to a religion. American missionaries first brought the sport to the peninsula in 1905, and the country absolutely loved it. Today, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) features 10 teams and a unique sporting culture all its own. The city of Busan and its hometown Lotte Giants have a particularly passionate fan base. From the hitters’ flashy bat flips, to the team’s famous “cheermaster” and its unlikely American super fan, consider this is your crash course on the joyful madness that is Lotte Giants fandom.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If a sport (or other cultural practice) diffuses to a new place, is it going to look exactly the same as it does in the original cultural hearth? Maybe, or like baseball in South Korea, it can have a culture all its own. This is an interesting story that shows how the diffusion of cultural traits around the globe doesn't have to lead to a more bland cultural mosaic. As cultural traits are reterritorialized into new places, they add vibrancy to the cultural fabric of the institution/sub-culture that they've adopted.



Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 12, 2018 6:28 PM
I don’t know if I subconsciously usually pick scoops that focus on negative situations, but this was one of the few scoops I can remember watching and feeling happy afterwards.  It is so cool that two countries can share a love for the same sport and watch the sport in such different ways.  The Korean fans seem to have much more enthusiasm while watching the game and the atmosphere seems really fun.  I have always enjoyed watching baseball and when I ask other people why they don’t watch, they always say they find it to be too boring.  But watching a Lotte Giants game seems to be anything but boring.  I think one of the biggest cultural differences that I saw between American baseball fans and Korean baseball fans is the ways in which they cheer.  I think that Americans use a lot more smack talk and taunting when they are at baseball games, but the Koreans seem to only be positive.  This is ironic because the Koreans are much more showy with how they cheer, but it’s not obnoxious or unsportsmanlike, it’s just peppy.  I also think it’s unique that the Lotte Giants have a cheer master, who’s job is to get the fans hyped.  American baseball doesn’t have anything close to this with the exception of mascots.  The American equivalent to the cheer master would probably be football or basketball cheerleaders, but they never get the crowd to be so in sync.  I also saw a lot of American influences still present in Korea, even though their experience is so different.  The most obvious is that the team name is in English and happens to also be an MLB team.  I also noticed that many advertisements had English and Korean on them.  It’s interesting that even though the sport is the same, the ways in which the fans celebrate are so different.
Mike curta's curator insight, April 26, 2018 1:41 PM
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Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, December 10, 2018 4:26 AM
Baseball in South Korea resembles that of baseball in America however they have there cultural differences. Baseball fans in Korean stadiums resemble that of soccer in Europe there fans are legendary. The bat flips are also much different than that in America. In South Korea they chuck the bat because that is culturally acceptable there. In America if you pimp a homerun your mostly likely going to get nailed by a 90 mph fastball during your next at bat because its seen as disrespectful.
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The great Korean bat flip mystery

The great Korean bat flip mystery | Geography Education |
MLB's code is clear: Flip your bat and you'll pay. But in South Korea, flips are an art. How does this alternate world exist? And what does it say about us? Writer Mina Kimes trekked across South Korea with illustrator Mickey Duzyj to unravel the mystery.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There are unwritten rules in Major League Baseball, or in geographic terms, there are are cultural norms that are informally enforced to maintain homogeneity and to prevent  cultural drift.  Jose Bautista's repuation as a villain has much to do with his rejection of a key MLB unwritten rule--Never 'show up' the pitcher by flipping the bat.  In South Korea, typically a country much more associated with cultural traditions of honor and respect than the United States, bat flipping is much more accepted and common (diffusion plays a role in the story--baseball came to South Korea via Japan).  This is an interesting story about South Korean baseball's cultural norms that might intrigue some sports fans. 


Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, South Korea, East Asia.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 29, 2018 1:39 PM
Baseball is America's pastime. It comes with a long history. If you are a baseball fan you have probably been lectured by an older family member about the history of this great game.  An there is no doubt you have heard about baseball's "unwritten" rules. One of these "rules" is to not show up the pitcher as a batter. One way in which we have seen this the past few seasons and especially a couple of years ago in the playoffs is the bat flip. The bat flip is a major no-no when it comes to baseball in America. However, in Korea it is commonplace. It is very strange to see how the Korean's play the game in such a contrast to the Americans. Korea and East Asia is usually known here in the West a quiet place that holds respect has an utter most importance. However, on the field they like to have fun. The Koreans learned the game from the Japanese when Japan's military held Korea. They learned the game and played the game with passion. The bat flip and other traditions became commonplace and have carried over just like baseball traditions here in America.  Baseball here in America has long look to regain its popularity with the youth and there seems to be  a push by younger players to bring more flare to the game. It has caused arguments among many of its older fans or players. So maybe we will see this Korean tradition used more in America soon, but for now it will remain controversial. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 20, 2018 5:11 PM
The unwritten rules of baseball are not static. They change from country to country and are influenced by the values and norm of the society in which the game is played. In South Korea, bat flips are seen as a way to celebrate your success at the plate. Also, it lends a feeling of individuality that rarely presents itself in a culture that values conformity over individuality. This mentality is totally different than in America where a bat flip is seen as disrespectful and showing up the opposing pitcher. In American baseball, the team is valued more than the individual, so if you act out to celebrate individual success, then you will face consequences the next time you come to the plate.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 9:05 PM
First off who thinks of baseball in South Korea? I am not a huge baseball fan, but I do know that if you flip the bat in the MLB next time you're up to bat the pitcher will remember and you'll have a new baseball-sized bruise. Interestingly in the individualistic U.S. it is for all intents and purposes prohibited,  while in a very collective and respectful society such as South Korea you are expected to make a spectacle out of it. Cultures do many things differently and some subvert expectations. 
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Wedding, Gangnam Style: S. Korea attracts affluent Chinese

Wedding, Gangnam Style: S. Korea attracts affluent Chinese | Geography Education |

South Korea's tourism ministry estimates that more than 2.5 million Chinese visitors spent an average of $2,150 per person in 2012, more than any other nationality. That's helping companies such as iWedding, which is the largest of the South Korean wedding planners hosting Chinese tourists, to flourish.

"Chinese look up to South Korea for its sophisticated urban culture, style and beauty," said Song Sung-uk, professor of South Korean pop culture studies at the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul. "Rather than visiting traditional palaces or shopping for antiques, they would rather go to Gangnam to experience state-of-the-art shopping malls."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tags: popular culture, South Korea, East AsiaChina, tourism.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, November 17, 2013 6:28 PM

Seems that the Chiese are skipping over their ally to head to South Korea for a better time.  Seems that international isolation really does have an effect on the domestic life, and toursim, in North Korea.  They really also want to just go shopping somewhere new and modern and see what just might be avaliable in their neighbor to the south.  Guess this time they won't be invading South Korea with an army, as in 1950, but with tourists.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 2014 6:23 PM

I found this article very interesting because it seems so elegant for this new bride to have pictures takend and she has this new place where her and her husband are going to be getting married and then the article talks about where the best place is to go when these celebrations are happening. US Today talks about how it is not an elegant hillside or an ancient monument or even ruins that the newlyweds swarm to but the tony Seoul district made globally famous by South Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style." "Helping shape that image is the popularity of South Korean cosmetics and fashion and the many South Korean stars whose looks are widely copied in China."

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, April 23, 2015 12:22 AM

I am amazed that the Chinese look up to anyone about anything.  They always seem to think that they reign supreme in just about everything and that they are the center of the universe.  To hear people say that they look up to South Korea for fasion and beauty is astounding.  China has the best of both worlds when it comes to history and modernity, and there are so many vibrant up and coming areas of China that it is shocking to see them look up to another country.

Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks!

A very good sign that North Korea is bluffing about war

A very good sign that North Korea is bluffing about war | Geography Education |

If Pyongyang is as bent on war as it wants us to believe, why is it keeping the inter-Korean Kaesong industrial complex open?

Seth Dixon's insight:

News reports coming out of North Korea are grim and threatening right now.  However, this Washington Post article argues that it might be all for show.  The Kaesong Industrial Complex was opened in 2002 as a gesture of peace.  Located just across the northern side of the border, it is staffed by South and North Koreans (South Korea get super cheap labor, North Korea gets an infusion of currency, both get positive PR). The Kaesong Industrial Complex continues to operate with the permission of the North Korean government.  Were that to ever change and North Korea shut down this joint venture, THEN we'll know that they are serious.  Watch this short video for an overview of the geopolitical situation on the Korean peninsula as of March 2013. 

TagsNorth Korea, war, labor, industry, economicconflict, unit 6 industry.

Anthony morales's curator insight, October 28, 2014 4:39 PM

korea wants to start a war but are bluffing because they are leaving one of there main nueclar factories open and not closed off 

 This is a part of PERSIA by this ties in with economy by how Kim Jong lil has to decide what happens in this country

AnthonyAcosta/NoahMata's curator insight, November 5, 2014 6:32 PM

North Korea War


The North Korean leader is showing that he is pro war but the actions that he is taking lead us to believe that he is "All Talk". Does he really feel that war is the best option at this point or does he just want to seem like he is the best.  

brielle blais's curator insight, May 2, 2018 3:57 PM
This article showcases the importance of positive relations between countries and how it impacts the political geography. In this case, it is between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea has sent signals of starting a war for a long time now, so many times that people can now call its bluff. It is mostly because of the Kaesong Industrial Complex that employs both North and South Koreans. It is an incentive for both countries to remain friendly, if not, at least civil. 
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The Cultural Geography of a Viral Sensation

The Cultural Geography of a Viral Sensation | Geography Education |
The Gangnam Style! sensation is all over the internet, complete with parodies that both honor and mock the original.  This first video is the original, which in a few short months received well ove...

The following link has the video, parodies and infographics to help student explore the meaning behind the cultural phenomenon. 

Questions to Ponder: Considering the concept of cultural diffusion, what do we make of this phenomenon? What cultural combinations are seen in this? How has the technological innovations changed how cultures interact, spread and are replicated?

Tags: popular culture, video, diffusion, globalization, culture, place, technology, unit 3 culture

Rich's comment, October 3, 2012 7:27 PM
When I first saw this music video and heard the song I remember myself saying "I have no idea what is going on, but the human race is a better place thanks to this guy." I may not know what he is saying but it puts me in a great mood. This guy is breaking cultural and geographical boundaries with music.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 2014 11:07 PM

Culture and globalization has spread this song across the United States breaking records and trending on sites such as Twitter. Our exposure to different cultures is great. However, if you do not like songs that get stuck in your head, do not listen to this song . LOL