Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

The Geography Teacher’s Introduction to OpenStreetMap

“Wed, Mar 15, 2017 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, the NCGE will be offering a free webinar for educators on the OpenStreetMap project and how you can incorporate it into your class.”


My students and I join OpenStreetMap (OSM) projects, especially when there is a major humanitarian need…it’s a great way to make service learning and geospatial technologies come together. If you are interested learning more about OSM projects for the classroom, sign up for this NCGE webinar seminar as soon as possible, since this event is right around the corner (the webinar program is one of the many great reasons to become a member of NCGE). 


TagsNCGE, mappingedtech, cartography, geospatial, disasters, STEM.


Why China is building islands in the South China Sea

“China is building islands in the South China sea and its causing disputes among the other nations in the region; Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. China claims they aren’t military bases, but their actions say otherwise. The US has many allies in the region and uses its massive Navy to patrol international waters, keeping shipping lanes open for trade.”


Last year this was an intriguing story but now the geopolitical drama is growing as more countries are literally building islands out of reef outcroppings to strengthen their claims to the South China Sea.  For some without geographic expertise, this might some baffling.  For those that understand Exclusive Economic Zones, maritime claims, and expanding geopolitical aspirations, this makes perfect sense. 


Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

Why Is Greenland an Island but Australia a Continent?

“Why is Australia a continent and Greenland is not? Even though Australia is the smallest of the accepted continents, Australia is still more than 3.5 times larger than Greenland. There has to be a line in the sand between small continent and the world’s largest island and traditionally that line exists between Australia and Greenland. Geologically, Australia lies on its own major tectonic plate while Greenland is part of the North American plate.”


I’m sharing this link for two reasons. 

  1. To help resolve the confusion as to why Greenland the world’s largest island but Australia gets to be the smallest continent. The main reason is all about the continental shelf and not the coastline–Greenland is connected to North America to the continental shelf while Australia has its own shelf. 
  2. I know many of you have been fans of Matt Rosenberg’s online resources over the years.  If you have lost track of him, he is continuing to share geographic information on ThoughtCo


Tags: GreenlandAustralia, geology.

How did Zimbabwe get so poor?

President Mugabe’s economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe has brought the country poverty and malnutrition. After 36 years in charge, he’s looking to extend his rule by 5 more years.


Poverty at the national level is usually not a function of limited resources, but more often it is a sign of weak institutions.  This is but one example of how governmental mismanagement can put a country’s developmental progress back decades.


Tags: Africa, Zimbabwe, development, economic, political.

Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas

The president is expected to sign his new, more limited rule Monday.


It’s hard to discuss this topic in detail without a partisan political views.  Underneath all of those opinions are geographic perspective about how the world works as well as geographical imaginations on how things should operate. 


Tags: migrationrefugees, war, political, terrorism, ISISMiddle East, conflict.

The Most Popular Running Routes in the 20 Biggest U.S. Metro Areas

These are the top running routes in the 20 biggest metro areas in the United States, according to Strava data.


I’m a big advocate of running/mapping apps for my own personal training (I use Map My Run and Strava).  These maps were created with raw data from Strava to show the most popular urban runs in the US.   Prominent on this list are urban parks, scenic waterfronts, and retrofitted railways…in other words, successful urban planning that has help to foster a strong sense of place.


Tags: urban, place, neighborhood, planning, urbanism.

Population, Sustainability, and Malthus

In which John Green teaches you about population. So, how many people can reasonably live on the Earth? Thomas Malthus got it totally wrong in the 19th century, but for some reason, he keeps coming up when we talk about population. In 1800, the human population of the Earth passed 1 billion, and Thomas Malthus posited that growth had hit its ceiling, and the population would level off and stop growing. He was totally right. Just kidding, he was totally wrong! There are like 7 billion people on the planet now! John will teach a little about how Malthus made his calculations, and explain how Malthus came up with the wrong answer. As is often the case, it has to do with making projections based on faulty assumptions. Man, people do that a lot.


This is a succinct summary of Malthusian ideas on population.  What do you think of his ideas?  Any specific parts of his theory that you agree with?  Do you disagree with some of his ideas?  What did history have to say about it?  


Tags: Demographics, population, models, APHGunit 2 population

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

“A host of environmental factors are threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.”


Urban ecology, environmental justice, gendered inequities, primate city politics, the struggle of growing megacities…it’s all here in this fantastic piece of investigative reporting.  The article highlights the ecological problems that Mexico City faces (high-altitude exacerbates air pollution, interior drainage worsens water pollution, limited aquifers that are overworked lead to subsidence, importing water outside of the basin requires enormous amounts of energy, etc.).  just because the article doesn’t use the word ‘geography’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly geographic. All of these problems are at the heart of human-environmental nexus of 21st century urbanization. 


Tags: urban, megacities, water, environment, Mexico.

Shrinking cities: the rise and fall of global urban populations – mapped

“The world is experiencing rapid urbanisation, but not every city is growing. Population is likely to decline in 17% of large cities in developed regions and 8% of cities across the world from 2015 to 2025, according to a McKinsey report.”


This is a fantastic series of maps for human geography and regional geography classes. Some cities throughout Africa and Asia have experienced spectacular growth (click here for 5 infographics showing East Asia’s massive urban growth).  Europe, on the other isn’t see the same level of growth and is even experiencing urban decline in a few regions.   


Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you see in these maps?  What cultural, demographic and economic factors explain some of the regional patterns in these maps?        


Tags: APHG, urban, unit 7 cities, megacities.

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