This post is in response to Reginald Golledge’s article “Geography in Everyday Life”. It is written by National Geographic Education Intern, Ellen Esling, as part of the Geography Awareness Week Blog-A-Thon. If your experience was anything like mine, your exposure to geography in school involved a whole lot of coloring in maps and memorizing state capitols. Perhaps you’ve come to the conclusion that you aren’t very … Continue reading Geography Daily
(Photo Credit: Ashwin Ravi, submitted through My Shot)
Our friends at Google Maps Mania, citing Robert Frost, remind us that, “all literature begins with geography.” And it’s not just the physical world that inspires poetry, prose, history, drama, and spoken word. Geographies of the mind inspire stories as well. I first thought about geography’s role in actually creating literature while reading Ricardo Padróns“Mapping Imaginary Worlds,” in which he gives the history of the map of Treasure Island:
I this case, the map came before the adventure story. Robert Louis Stevenson drew it with his father and stepson, and only afterward thought to write a pirate story to go with his treasure map…. The island itself, that perfectly possessable geographic object, displaces the treasure as the reader’s object of desire.
What Padrón is saying is that cartography is a way to imagine and explore the subjective world of art, not just the positivist world of science.
But geography’s role in literature has other facets: deconstruction and comprehension. Not only does literature begin with geography, but geoliteracy is an important tool to unpack and interpret great writing. The Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature at RISD(ee) recommends mind mapping as a way to improve reading comprehension and dissect stories. Another fun way to map text is with wordle, which creates an artistic representation akin to a tag cloud.
I have always enjoyed looking at aerial photography. It is fascinating how the world we live in can seem so different when viewed from above. A building, for instance, is experienced internally as a series of rooms and hallways- – but look at the same structure on Google Maps and it takes on a whole new form.
Rhett Dashwood took this concept to a whole new level when he decided to use Google Maps to explore the Australian state of Victoria. The 32-year-old graphic designer set out on a mission to create an “alphabet” composed entirely of aerial photographs of natural and man-made features that bare resemblance to the Roman alphabet. His only rules: no manipulating the images in any way–meaning no “photo-shopping,” and no rotating.
Here’s a fun use of Google Maps–an interactive quiz that tests your knowledge of some of the world’s lesser known cities. It’s much harder than it looks! Have a go and tell us what you think. My Wonderful World Home | About My Wonderful World | Sign Up for Updates Continue reading World Geography Quiz