Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis via Story Maps

“Spatial analysis has always been a hallmark of GIS, the ‘numerical recipes’ which set GIS apart from other forms of computerized visualization and information management. With GIS we pose questions and derive results using a wide array of analytical tools to help us understand and compare places, determine how places are related, find the best locations and paths, detect and quantify patterns, and even to make spatial predictions.”

Source: blogs.esri.com

GIS is a key tool in spatial analysis, but it can also be a driving force in using math, science, technology and (yes) geography as interdisciplinary ways of teaching the curriculum.  StoryMaps can be rich with images and videos, but also filled with data at a variety of scales.  What stories can you tell in this rich, visual format?  What visual template shown might lend itself best for that sort of project? 

Tagsmapping, CSV, GISESRIgeography education, geospatial, edtech.

Aboard a Cargo Colossus

The world’s biggest container ships, longer than the Eiffel Tower is high, are a symbol of an increasingly global marketplace. But they also face strong economic headwinds.

Source: www.nytimes.com

This article and video from the NY Times is a great way to show the magnitude of the largest vessels that drive the global economy. These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries.  The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and today the vast majority of the world’s largest ports are now in East Asia.  Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.      

Learn What Spatial Analysis Can Do for You

“This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. Spatial analysis focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data. Spatial analysis skills are in high demand by organizations around the world. You’ll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS platform. Previous experience with GIS software is helpful, but not necessary for tech-savvy problem solvers. Could you and your career go places with spatial analysis?”

Source: www.esri.com

This course starts tomorrow…if you’ve wanted to learn about GIS with a no-risk on-ramp, this looks to be a safe bet from the worldwide leader in geospatial software.  While a grad student at Penn State, I was a TA for a course designed by David DiBiase (the instructor of the MOOC), and I still refer back to that class as one of the best courses to teach geographic skills for the non-geography major.  

Tagsmappingspatial, teacher training, GIS,  ESRI, geospatial, edtech.

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it’s not human food.

Source: www.marketplace.org

Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets.  Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.    


Tagspodcast, political ecologyagriculture, food production, land use.

Feeding the Whole World

“Louise Fresco argues that a smart approach to large-scale, industrial farming and food production will feed our planet’s incoming population of nine billion. Only foods like (the scorned) supermarket white bread, she says, will nourish on a global scale.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Many advocates of local foods favor a small-scale approach to farming and are opposed to large-scale agribusiness. It might be easy for those disconnected from the food production system (like me) to romanticize and mythologize the farmers of yesteryear and yearn to return to this past.  This talk highlights how essential large-scale farming is absolutely critical to feeding the global population; this other TED talk discusses many of the hunger problems especially the uneven access to food.  Here are some other pro-agribusiness resources.   

Tags: agriculture, food production, food distribution, agribusiness, TED