“Our World is All About Spatial Data”: A Conversation with Anita Palmer

Recognized as a “hero” in her industry, Anita Palmer has over 25 years pioneering the perception and education around the framework of geographic information systems (GIS). Anita is National Geographic’s first-ever GIS-focused Education fellow.  The growing field of GIS is continuously evolving and shaping the way we view geography beyond static maps. To further raise awareness and push the conversation around this focus, an annual … Continue reading “Our World is All About Spatial Data”: A Conversation with Anita Palmer

Earth Science Explorations Down Under: Part 2

We’re back with Anita and Roger Palmer of GISetc and Gary Lewis of the Geological Society of America for part 2 of their trip leading 19 educators and students in an investigation of Australia’s singular geography and geology.

Our group could not imagine enjoying anything more than the time we spent in the Sydney Basin, but forge on we did!


Koala habitat in Sydney Wildlife World

After breakfast with the koalas at Sydney Wildlife World, we flew to the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. We landed in Cairns (pronounced “Cans”), a beach town that is the launching off point for many adventures.



Pictures of Cairns looking toward the mountains and the ocean

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August 2009 Newsletter

Read the August 2009 Newsletter: How Can Geography Prepare Your Family for Disasters?

Take our new Reader Poll
GeoFeature: 4-H “Alert, Evacuate, and Shelter” Program
Geography in the News: GIS Aids Planners in Katrina Aftermath
Blog: Earth Science in Australia



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Earth Science Explorations Down Under

GISetc (Anita & Roger Palmer) and Geological Society of America education (Gary Lewis) decided that taking educators to Australia would be a tremendous way to learn about the physical geography and geology of this far away continent.  So we did!  On July 18, we took off from Los Angeles at 10:00 on Saturday evening, flew for fourteen hours and crossed the International Date Line (180 longitude), and landed in Sydney at 6:30 Monday morning.  After having “lost” Sunday while on the plane, nineteen educators and their family members converged on Sydney, Australia.   

The first thing we all noticed when we left the airport was that it was cold!  All of us were traveling from North America, where typical northern latitude temperatures were very hot, and we needed to switch our thoughts and bodies to the southern latitude winter of Sydney.  At 26 S, which U.S. city would be a best comparison in winter?  (You can check out weatherunderground.com or weather.com to verify your answers.)  

After adding another jacket layer and some gloves, we ventured out and were transferred to our hotel right in the heart of Sydney, near the beautiful downtown Hyde Park.  Hyde Park is a wonderful public space in the heart of the city where residents walk and play.  In Hyde Park, Gary did an introduction to GPS use and geocaching (geocache.com), and the participants proceeded to search for three geocaches in the park.  They learned what a “taperline” in Australia is, which helped them find one of the geocaches.  (Look up “taperline” and “Australia” in Google to find out for yourself!)

Looking down into Hyde Park
from 45 stories above Sydney

IMG_5587_HydePark.JPGAfter the fun of geocaching, our GPS walk continued to Sydney Harbor, which, historically, served as a working port for exporting Australian manufactured goods.  Sydney Harbor has been undergoing a metamorphosis to become an urban center housing fantastic hotels, dwellings, and world-class displays of all Australia has to offer.  The Circular Quays and Sydney Harbor area is a wonderful amalgamation of botanical gardens, ocean aquaria, Australian animal encounters, harbor tours, and the iconic Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point.


Sydney‘s Harbor
Bridge lends its
signature architecture to the harbor skyline


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