This story map will introduce you to ways to get the most out of my Geography Education websites. Updates are available on social media via Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. For articles specifically about regional geography (GEOG 200) can be found here.
If the title of this post is confusing, it’s because the map is completely unconventional (and I love it). True, it is not the title of the map, but it could have been. So often we see a map of the United States with the 48 contiguous states prominently displayed and Alaska and Hawaii scaled down, and stuck in a corner somewhere. Well, this map ingeniously inverts that paradigm.
If the inset (and the insult) are too subtle for you, here is the meme that brought this to my attention.
Questions to Ponder:
Describe the quality of the main map compared to the quality of the inset maps.
Why would the cartography take the time to make this map?
“A topographic map is designed to show the physical features and terrain of an area. They’re different from other maps because they show the three-dimensional landscape: its contours, elevations, topographic features, bodies of water, and vegetation.” SOURCE: Backpacker.com
This article gives a nice introduction to topographic maps, explains how to read them, and why they are useful. While I love digital maps and the features that are offered through GIS, old school paper maps still play a vital role in helping us navigate this world of ours. This additional article from CityLab, shows how you can lie with maps (and it’s not just with a sharpie).
” Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.” Source: Pew Research
The percentage of residents in the United States that are migrants (born in a country other than the United States) has been rising since the 1970. This is much higher than the global average of 3.4%, but not surprising given how economic pull factors are reshaping global demographic patterns. High-income countries attract more migrants; so the demographic impact on the global patterns of migrants is profound. High-income countries have 14.1% of their residents coming from other countries, where middle and low-income countries average between 1 and 2% for their percentage of migrants in their populations.
Questions to Ponder: What are some of the demographic, economic, cultural, and political impacts of these statistics? How might this impact certain regions?
They have been protesting for months in Hong Kong, at first about the extradition bill, but now about so much more as well. The government has backed down, and withdrawn the hated extradition bill, and now it’s remains to be seen if the protestors will continue with their demands or will be appeased with this compromise. China doesn’t back down very often with their citizens so this still a potentially volatile situation.
“Indonesia will build a new capital city on the island of Borneo, home to some of the world’s biggest coal reserves and orangutan habitats, as President Joko Widodo seeks to ease pressure on congested and sinking Jakarta. The relocation of the capital, some 1,400km away from Jakarta, will help spread economic activity outside the nation’s most populous island of Java.”
Jakarta is a megacity that will continue to grow, but it is a sinking city–in fact, the fastest sinking city in the world. The pressures of being the primate city are enormous–the rush hour traffic is considered one of the worst in the world and the continued centralization of government in Jakarta limits economic group in other regions of the country. This plan to create a forward capital to encourage growth in Borneo and attempt to limit growth in Jakarta will be fascinating to monitor. For more on forward capitals, here is a BBC article with 5 other examples of countries that have changed their capital cities.
Istanbul’s location on the Bosporus has been vital to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire as well as the modern state of Turkey. This is one of those crucial chokepoints of global commerce like the Straits of Malacca, and the demands on both of these natural waterways will soon exceed their capacity. Thailand is working on the Thai canal to relieve the pressures on the Straits of Malacca (and enrich themselves in the process); Nicaragua is also seeking to create an alternative to the Panama Canal which is in the process of expanding their locks to accommodate the massive container ships.
Istanbul is likewise looking to find other ways the keep their locational advantage as the gateway to the Black Sea region and beyond. Projects on this grand of a scale have tremendous real estate, trading, transportation and even tourism impacts. They can also bring negative impacts to the local water supply, wildlife, other environmental concerns. The bigger the project, the bigger the environmental risks and the greater the economic rewards.
South Korea is the world’s first country to have a total fertility rate below 1 (in 2019, it dropped to 0.98). It may not be the largest population of the 86 declining populations (114 countries have TFRs above replacement level), but it makes for an incredibly important case-study to explore emerging demographic patterns because in the coming years, it probably won’t be the only country with a TFR below 1.
South Korean governments at multiple levels have implemented some pro-natalist policies (tax-benefits, cash incentives, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc.), and the TFR continues to drop. The economic reasons for this demographic decline make it a textbook example of a highly-developed economy where raising children is very expensive in a post-industrial, overwhelmingly urban context. However, I think more time should be spend investigating the cultural patterns that led more and more young adults to either postpone child-rearing or skip it all together. In South Korea, as in other countries, marriages are becoming more infrequent, but the social stigma associated with raising a child out of wedlock remains very strong (only 2% of births are to unwedded mothers). Many women returning to the workforce find that child-care options are limited they struggle to find the same wages that they had before they started a family. Even before without children though, women in South Korea are confronted with the highest gender wage gap among OECD countries. As reported in the WSJ, “South Korea has a strong economy, fast internet—and a big gender gap.” Korean work culture expects long hours, after hours social gatherings, and other practices that make it difficult to workers, but especially women, to find a manageable balance between having a career and a family. Many corporations are reluctant to hire/promote/mentor women that might conceivably conceive and leave the company.
Today, many Korean families see having no children as the only way to survive/improve their quality on life given the economic and cultural context within which they are operating. The government has been pouring millions of dollars to reverse this pattern but the fertility rate continues to drop. The video below gives an introduction to the issue.
This video provides a more in-depth look into the issue (turn on the closed captioning)
“While Pennsylvania only has two teams, the state’s team allegiance is split across seven different teams.”
There are some good geographic concepts that can be used by showing this map (based on SeatGeek purchases). In this related map of baseball fan regions (based on social media connections), we can see more clearly the value of 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 patterns do you see? Explanations?
“We offer a variety of resources on U.S. Export/Import Trade with the World with millions of free datasets.” Source: U.S. Trade Numbers
This data visualization tool is very reminiscent of the Atlas of Economic Complexity. While the Atlas of Economic Complexity is better for exploring global trade patterns, this site adds a local impact to the global economy. Users can explore the major port of entries and see what goods are entering or leaving the United States from particular cities as nodes in global transportation networks. The permeability of borders are an economic necessity to take advantage of the economies of scale.