Geography Daily

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

All Literature Begins with Geography

(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. 

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The Aerial Alphabet

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.


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August 2008 Newsletter

Read the August 2008 Newsletter: “Cool Geography: Olympics, Earthcaching, Videos, and More”

MWW Facebook Page
GeoFeature: Earthcaching
Geography in the News: Beijing Olympics
Blog: YouTube Dancing Sensation Matt Harding

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Continue reading “August 2008 Newsletter”