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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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mapping

GPS Tracking

wolf_packs_gps_image

This image of GPS tracking of multiple wolves in six different packs around Voyageurs National Park was created in the framework of the Voyageurs Wolf Project. It is an excellent illustration of how much wolf packs in general avoid each other’s range.” SOURCE: Earthly Mission

Maps are powerful tools to demonstrate spatial ideas and concepts.  Wolves are territorial, and using GPS trackers to understand this really drives home the point.  Here is a similarly fantastic map of an eagle’s flight paths shows the patterns amid noise.

gps-tracks-eagle-movement-over-twenty-years-5c79333418b97__700

As a runner, I keep track of my all my runs using some apps and Citystrides.com.  A screengrab of my “LifeMap” is included below.

Running GPS

With these tools at my disposal I stumbled on the decision to learn about my city by running every single street, exploring the cultural landscape, and make the training miles a part of a bigger goal.  With this newfound understanding of my city, I’ve mapped over 100 changes on OpenStreetMap (OSM) to give my newfound knowledge a bit of public utility.  The light blue line in the image below is the Cranston (RI) city boundary; As of March 12, I’ve officially run #EverySingleStreet, 100% of Cranston roads.  It was a quixotic goal, but an absolutely thrilling way to comibne my love of running, cartography, Cranston, and exploring the cultural landscape.

100percent
15 months in the making, a map documenting my runs on #EverySingleStreet of Cranston.

TOOLS: Using GPS data in mapping tools such as ArcGIS.com or Google Earth doesn’t require a lot of expertise, but gathering the data out in the field can usually be done with an app that can create a .GPX file (search your app store for GPX).  You can use GPS Visualizer to convert files, create GPX files or convert files to other formats.  Look at the screengrab below to see some of the options, especially the ‘sandbox’ tool which lets you create a GPX file.

GPS

GeoEd Tags: GPS, mapping, biogeography.

 

 

Mapping the Coronavirus

CoronaVirus

“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.

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.

Mapping the Wind

EarthNull

It is incredibly cold in New England right now.  How can maps help us to understand the weather patterns we are facing?  How is what we are facing in our community connected to global patterns?  Maps help us to contextualize information and understand processes.  So to investigate this our freezing wind conditions we will look at a series of online resources.

  1. Dynamic Wind Map of USA (Visualization).
  2. Interactive wind map (Ventusky).
  3. Interactive wind map (WindyTy).
  4. Digital Globe with Wind patterns (Null School)

GeoEd TAGS: physical,  weather and climate, mapping, visualization.

Persuasive Maps

Awakening
The Awakening” was created by Henry Mayer in 1915. It is considered one of the most striking of the ‘suffrage maps,’ which played a major role in the successful fight for women’s suffrage in the U.S. 

This is a collection of ‘persuasive’ cartography: ​more than 800 ​ maps intended primarily to influence opinions or beliefs – to send a message – rather than to communicate geographic information. The collection reflects a variety of persuasive tools ​, including​ allegorical, satirical and pictorial mapping; selective inclusion; unusual use of projections, color, graphics and text; and intentional deception. Maps in the collection address a wide range of messages: religious, political, military, commercial, moral and social.” SOURCE: Cornell University Library

This is a fantastic collection of historical maps.  I especially enjoy the rhetorical and overtly persuasive quality of the maps in this collection.  Too often, we assume that maps convey data and information from a strictly neutral position.  Just like every news article, how the information in a map is arranged, selected, and framed is helpful in evaluating the usefulness, important, and accuracy of the information that is being presented.

GeoEd Tags: cartography, visualization, mapping, art.

United States of Alaska Map

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.

Alaska

If the inset (and the insult) are too subtle for you, here is the meme that brought this to my attention.

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Questions to Ponder:

  • Describe the quality of the main map compared to the quality of the inset maps.
  • Why would the cartographer take the time to make this map?
  • Why would someone purchase this map?

How to Read a Topo Map

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“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).

Tags: mapping, physical, cartography, unit 1 geoprinciples.

Will the Supreme Court End Gerrymandering?

"Justices will be reviewing the case of North Carolina, where Republicans drew a map to maximize their power in the House. Plaintiffs challenging the map say it’s unconstitutional. A companion case centers on Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which Democrats admit they redrew in 2011 to make it harder for the Republican incumbent there to win re-election. The two cases hold the potential to set the course of American politics for generations."

Source: www.nytimes.com

Questions to Ponder: Do you trust the politicians that are in charge of your state to create better districts than a computer-generated set of districts that are optimized for compactness?  What are some of the potential limitations of compact districts?  Would an independent committee/bipartisan group do a better job?

GeoEd Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

Tags: gerrymandering, politicalmapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

Healthy Nation Rankings: These Are the Healthiest Countries

"Maybe it’s something in the gazpacho or paella, as Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country."

Source: www.bloomberg.com

This data offers excellent insight into regional developmental patterns around the world–it is very much worth exploring.  However I’m sharing this also for it’s mapping project potential; the data behind this map is available in the article and students can make their own maps with it.  

 

GeoEd Tags: mortality, medical, development, food, mapping.

Scoop.it Tagsmortality, medicaldevelopmentfood, mapping.

 

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