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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Which Countries are in the European Union in 2020, Which Aren’t, and Which Want to Join?

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“The UK has finally officially left the European Union (EU), almost four years after its famous ‘Brexit’ vote, and taken the British territory of Gibraltar out with it. Here’s our updated map and list of which countries are in the EU, which ones are trying to join, and which European countries are in neither group.” SOURCE: POLGEONOW

Today I’m teaching the  my first class on “the Geography of Europe” since the UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union.  As I went looking for any updated map of the EU, I found this excellent article along with the map and thought it was worth sharing.  Since Brexit has finally been formalized, these snarky tweets were fun:

GeoEd Tags: Europe, supranationalism, UK, European Union.

Delhi riots: City tense after Hindu-Muslim clashes leave 23 dead

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Mosques have been vandalized as religious strife grips Delhi.

“The deadliest violence in India’s capital for decades leaves 23 people dead and scores injured.” SOURCE: BBC

It is so disheartening to see the news that India is undergoing a wave of religious unrest.  As citizen and immigration laws have been enacted that have a religious component to it, many feel that this is unfairly targeting Muslim migrants and refugees.   Some see this as the beginning of a delegitimization of Muslim citizenship within India. As people are protesting these laws, there are groups that are also a violently clashing with protesters in the streets.  Some are targeting Mosques, and the police have been unable to keep the peace.  This is some nasty business that I hate to see anywhere, but if you need an example of how religion can be a centrifugal force in a country, this is a perfect example  Here is an NPR podcast (and article) that also nicely covers the topic.

GeoEd Tags: India, South Asia, conflict, political, religion.

Mapping the Coronavirus

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“We are tracking the COVID-19 spread in real-time on our interactive dashboard with data available for download. We are also modeling the spread of the virus.” SOURCE: GIS and DATA at Johns Hopkins University

UPDATE: ESRI has also created a GIS dashboard for the COVID-19 virus that complies an amazing amount of spatial data in a user-friendly format that is definitely worth your time.  Also, this article titled “Why Geography is a Key Part of Fighting the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak” is another example of that shows the importance of spatial thinking in interdisciplinary contexts.

After several inaccurate maps spread misinformation (dare I say, in a viral fashion?),  I felt it would be important to not only share some good maps, but the most data-rich maps as well.  Some U.S. west coast cities, such as San Francisco, are declaring emergencies in anticipation of an outbreak. The Tokyo Marathon has been cancelled (except for the elite runners), and some are worrying out loud about whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics games might face a similar fate.  This article nicely explains just how contagious the COVID-19 virus actually is…(short answer, it’s pretty contagious).

The video below covers 3 major economic impacts that the virus will have on the global economy.  In short, 1-Tourism and Travel, 2-Supply Chains, and 3-Flight to Quality Goods.

My favorite source is a GIS dashboard from John Hopkins that is incredibly detailed.  This is a great way to show how big data, mapping, and geography become very relevant.  Here is a link to the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) page about the Coronavirus and a copy of their map (accurate as of Feb 24) in the image below.

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Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

GeoEd Tags: medical, mapping, GIS, statistics, mortality.

VIDEO: My Dear Kyrgyzstan

My Dear

Emil is a social media-obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on earth: An abandoned Soviet mining village in Kyrgyzstan. Emil has returned to put his village on the map as an international tourist destination.” SOURCE: MailChimp

This delightful video shows the former Soviet mining town of Jyrgalan and a local entrepreneur that wants to revitalize the village economy, bring in the outside world, and make is home a tourist destination.  It serves several purposes for a geography teacher.  One, it’s a great portal into a Central Asian country where most of my students don’t have any real reference points.  Two, the video highlights important geographic concepts such as tourism’s impact on indigenous cultures and globalization’s impact on previously isolated locations.  Three, this is a great case study for a cultural landscape analysis.  The video has some incredible juxtapositions; nomads wearing traditional clothes encountering adventure tourists outfitted in Patagonia gear, people in town cutting grass with scythes as well as gas lawn mowers, and traditional architectural styles intermixed with signs of modernity such as satellite antennas.  The physical and cultural landscapes in this are absolutely stunning and worth the twelve minutes of your time.

GeoEd Tags: landscape, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, video, tourism, globalization.

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Exploring Landscapes through Sport

“Way Back Home is the incredible new riding clip from Danny MacAskill, it follows him on a journey from Edinburgh back to his hometown Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye.”

I love Danny Macaskill’s video that puts Scotland’s cultural and physical landscapes on display.  This extreme sports clip is in many ways more about the places that are being shown that infused with gorgeous physical landscapes.  The architecture, the historic sites, the everyday towns, and transportation infrastructure all speak to the importance of landscape in creating a place that is beloved by its people.

GeoED Tags: landscape, sport, UK, video.

Not surprisingly, I’m also a fan of this other video, The Ridge.  The Ridge is far more about the physical landscapes of Scotland than the cultural landscapes, but both are stunning.

#TheRidge is the brand new film from Danny Macaskill… For the first time in one of his films Danny climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.

These students make maps for the Philippines and Belize. They never leave campus to do it.

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With Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ humming in the background, about two dozen students at George Washington University traced skinny lines and square-shaped landmarks on a satellite image of a rural chunk of Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines. They are in the early stages of piecing together a map of the region where half of the country’s food is grown but where most people live in poverty.

The students carefully scanned the photos to scope out buildings and roads tucked between thick trees. The task is painstaking but necessary to create an up-to-date map. This corner of the Philippines — like large swaths of the planet — does not have any recent digital maps.” SOURCE: Washington Post

Crowd-sourced mapping is increasingly an important resource during an emergency and one of the best ways to put geographic knowledge and geospatial skills in action.  Many high school and college students around the country are learning mapping skills by creating maps for places that aren’t well-mapped and in great need.  Poorer places are often not as well mapped out by the commercial cartographic organizations and these are oftentimes the places that are most vulnerable to natural disasters.  Relief agencies depend on mapping platforms to handle the logistics of administering aid and assessing the extent of the damage and rely on these crowd-sourced data sets.  My students and I are working on this over the weekend; can you join in and help?  The projects that are marked urgent by the Red Cross are all in Haiti right now.  Here are is a video playlist that explains the project and how you can help if you are new to OpenStreetMap (OSM).  The embedded TEDx talk below discusses the advantages of using OSM in geography teaching.

GeoEd Tags: cartography, disasters, mapping, STEM.

On the edge of America, census begins in a tiny Alaska town

Alaska

The first Americans to be counted in the 2020 census live in [Toksook Bay, Alaska], a tiny community of 661 on the edge of the American expanse. Their homes are huddled together in a windswept Bering Sea village, painted vivid lime green, purple or neon blue to help distinguish the signs of life from a frigid white winterscape that makes it hard to tell where the frozen sea ends and the village begins. Once the spring thaw hits, the town empties as many residents scatter for traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and the frozen ground that in January makes it easier to get around by March turns to marsh that’s difficult to traverse. The mail service is spotty and the internet connectivity unreliable, which makes door-to-door surveying important. For those reasons, they have to start early here.” SOURCE: AP News.

This article is a reminder that while we are on preparing for the constitutionally-mandated 2020 census (get ready for updated maps everyone!!), the census is tasked with counting everyone.  Some populations such as this indigenous village in Alaska are harder to count than others.

Questions to Ponder: What are other populations that might be under-represented in the census?  What would be measures that census employees could take to count those people?  How does the census improve our ability to understand geographic patterns?

GeoEd Tags: indigenous, census.

99 Percent Invisible: Mini-stories

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The 99 Percent Invisible podcast is an excellent one for geography teachers as well as students.  So many episodes deal with the unspoken things that make our world the way it is—unnoticed architecture and design with a heavy dose of urbanism and the built environment.  The particular episode has four “mini-stories” and each of them has some compelling geographic/landscape component to it.

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Also, here is a another great podcast with some trivia nerdiness from Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy champ who authored Maphead and presented at NCGE) is part of the Omnibus Project, a podcast with some excellent geographic nuggets (disclaimer: the language and content for this podcast is not always classroom-friendly).  Here are some geographic episodes about Cincinnati Chili, Alexander von Humboldt, Induced Demand (traffic), the Qibla, the Blue Men of the Sahara, the Port Chicago Disaster, Bir Tawil, the Sentinelese, and the Darien Gap.

GeoEd Tags: 99pi, podcast.

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Only in Cincinnati will I eat this!  Listen to the Cincinnati Chili episode!

The Trails Leaving Venezuela

Venezuela Migrants

The rich were the first to leave. They wired their savings abroad and hopped on international flights. The middle class departed next. They went on buses, sometimes riding for days across several countries. The poor remained. They stayed as the economy collapsed, food got scarcer, medicine shortages turned deadly and the electricity cut out for days at a time. But finally, they too began to exit Venezuela. They simply walked out. The departure of the caminantes, or walkers, began slowly in 2017 with young men hoping to find jobs and send money home.

Now women and children, the sick and the elderly also are taking their chances, expanding an exodus that already is one of the biggest mass migrations in modern history. Each day an estimated 5,000 people flee.” SOURCE: LA Times

The economic, political, and demographic crisis in Venezuela might not be at the top of the headlines anymore, that that isn’t because the situation has gone away, but it just has become ‘normal.’   This article is an in-depth look at the lives of those fleeing Venezuela on foot into Colombia.

GeoEd Tags: migration, Colombia, Venezuela, refugees, South America.

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