MAPS MAPS MAPS! Geographers love maps!
While much of a geographer’s life is spent arguing
that geography is more than maps, we
have to admit, they’re pretty cool. In
their basic essence, maps help us visualize and navigate through space, and like
music or numbers, simple maps can be interpreted universally. This is because the age-old questions of,
“where are we?” and “how do we get there” stem from our primal instincts to
find food, and have evolved into our need to locate just about everything else.
Today we celebrate maps and their transformation into
the advanced geo-technologies we use today.
Not only do we rely on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to tell us where
we are, we also turn to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to tell us the
“who, what, and when” behind the “where.” GIS infuses non-spatial information
(like demographics, commercial trends, political affiliations, health
epidemics) into maps. This
“geo-referencing” of non-spatial information can then be analyzed, thereby
generating endless possibilities for the creation of new maps. It’s quite appropriate that today is GIS Day, an annual celebration of geospatial
technologies. We’ll be paying homage to
geospatial technologies today with ESRI, the country’s
leader in GIS software, and with a few others listed below!
Check out this great link
to brush up on your knowledge of the history of maps, and then read this recent
Opinion article in the New York Times about, “What
Maps Can Do.” See how maps can be
manipulated and changed by checking out this
site that shows the severity of different cultural, economic, and social
issues by resizing countries. You can
also see how Google is using GIS technology to track different flu trends by
mapping your Google searches for flu
Incorporate geospatial technology into your
classroom by visiting Google’s
Geo Education site for helpful information on using Google Earth, Maps, Sky
and Sketchup. After you’ve had your
tutorial, make sure to take one of our three geo-tours for the week. And
now that you’re a pro with geospatial technology, give GIS a try with My World GIS, a great way to get started
learning about the fascinating world of GIS. Then, advance to ESRI’s Education Community, where
you’ll find great GIS resources for educators of all grade levels.
Finally, celebrate GIS Day by finding an event near you.
Make sure to read the posts from our guest bloggers
today as well! Joe Kerski from ERSI tells us more about geospatial
technologies, and MWW Public Engagement Coordinator Adam Schwartz gives the
low-down on using GIS in the classroom and in the field in Brooklyn, NY!