Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.



Every Name Is a Music Reference

The designers behind the “Alternative Love Blueprint” are back with a map of the world. Only this map uses song titles instead of place names.


As one friend said, I think we can forgive the poor projection choice because of the incredibly clever naming scheme of this map.  Very fun idea, and worth exploring. 


Tags: music, map.

The Sargasso Sea

“The Sargasso Sea occupies almost two thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean. Within this sea, circling ocean currents accumulate mats of Sargassum seaweed that shelter a surprising variety of fishes, snails, crabs, and other small animals. The animal community today is much less diverse than it was in the early 1970s, when the last detailed studies were completed in this region. This study shows that animal communities in the Sargasso Sea are definitely changing. The next step is to find out why.”


Often, we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their defining characteristics (this is one reason why many don’t know about the Southern Ocean as a distinct body of water or consider it an ocean). The Sargasso Sea is defined by ocean currents; it is surrounded by great currents but is itself without a strong current, making it perilous for early seafarers.  These oceanic doldrums became shrouded in superstition as stories of the fabled Bermuda Triangle spread, but the truth is all in the ocean currents.   


Tags: water, biogeography, environment, physical.

Geographic Illiteracy and the Rise of Trump

Even the most accomplished American high school student can graduate knowing more about criminal justice in Puritan New England than about the actual injustices going on every day in the United States. Students can learn every step of the process of photosynthesis and yet have never heard of the Kyoto Accords. They can know how nuclear fission works, and yet they don’t know which countries have nuclear weapons and don’t understand the (perverse) logic of mutually assured destruction. They know the Five Pillars of Islam but don’t know what modern-day country Mecca is in.


I know, I know.  This is more partisan than most articles I typically share, but the title is bit misleading and clickbait-ish.  Approximately 7/8ths of the article is a plea for more geographic instruction in the United States and the value of the AP Human Geography curriculum for understanding the world we live in (and 1/8th is a partisan perspective).  The bulleted section of the article is especially good and would be useful to extract for students (as would some other portions).


Tagseducation, APHG, geography education, 

The silent minority

America’s largest ethnic group has assimilated so well that people barely notice it


German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). Yet despite their numbers, they are barely visible. During the first world war, parts of America grew hysterically anti-German. Many stopped speaking German and anglicized their names. The second world war saw less anti-German hysteria, but Hitler and the Holocaust gave German-Americans more reasons to hide their origins.


Tagsculturemigrationhistorical, ethnicityUSA.


Climate Migrants

Climate change has already displaced tens of thousands of people. If it continues unabated, it could lead to one of the largest mass human migrations in history.


This StoryMap shows some key regions where migrants are fleeing some of the negative impacts of climate change, a trend that appears very likely to increase in the future.  It is also an excellent example of the ESRI’s new Cascade template for creating a web app. 


Tags: physical, weather and climate, climate change, environment, resources, watercoastalmappingESRIStoryMap, visualization, environment depend, political ecology.

An Old King for Congo

“On December 20, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had been a democracy for the past decade (flawed though it was), lost that distinction. The backsliding of democracy in the country was preventable; it unfolded slowly and under the watch of the international community. DRC President Joseph Kabila, faced with the end of his constitutional mandate, had two options: call elections or resort to repression to stay in power. He chose the latter. Kabila’s ultimate decision is not that surprising. He faces deep levels of unpopularity. A Congo Research Group poll of 7,545 Congolese showed that he would have only received 7.8 percent of the vote if elections had been held this year. Furthermore, the presidency guarantees his safety. As Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics has noted, 43 percent of African leaders have been jailed, exiled, or killed after losing power since 1960.”


Tags: DR Congo, political, conflict, Africa.


Scottish baby box pilot scheme launched

“All newborn children in Scotland will receive the boxes by the summer following a three-month pilot. The boxes include clothing, bedding and toys and are based on a project that has been running in Finland since 1938 to give all children an equal start.”


Just before World War II, the Finnish government provided boxes filled with material goods to expectant mothers with the hopes of improving infant mortality rates, pre-natal care, and promoting good parenting.  The baby box was born and not surprisingly, Finland has the best infant mortality rates in the world.  Now Scotland is implementing a similar program as this idea is has diffusing around the world.       


Tags: FinlandUK medical, population, demographic transition model, unit 2 population.

Making Globes

“Colored printed sections showing the map of the world are cut to shape then pasted onto the surface of the globes and a protective coat of varnish is added. Narrator recounts the fact that lots of the workers have been there for over 30 years and quips: ‘While the rest of the mankind does its best to blow the world up, they like building a new one.'”


I love watching globes made by hand and this vintage video shows the process of globes being made in London in 1955.  While most globe production is mechanized today, you can also watch the Bellerby company use gorgeous artistry to handcraft globes today.   


Tags: cartography, visualization, mapping, artgeo-inspiration.

The languages the world is trying to learn, according to Duolingo

If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.


Tags: language, colonialismtechnology, diffusion, culture, English.


Questions to Ponder: What role do colonial history and modern economics play in shaping this linguistic data? How does migration influence patterns in bilingualism?  What is a lingua franca?

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