If you have met me, you know that I would love to teach a geography class using the book World War Z by Max Brooks, a journalist who uses a zombie apocalypse to discuss current events and world geography. David Hunter, a middle school teacher in Seattle, Washington beat me to the punch. He is asking for help on Kickstarter to create a Grade 5-8 Standards Based curriculum “Learning Geography skills through a Zombie Apocalypse Narrative”. His concept is not as far fetched as it seems. At the WV Association for Geospatial Professionals conference this week Sheila Wilson, Executive Director of the GIS Certificate Institute (GISP) started off her talk with the CDC Zombie Preparedness Guide. She talked about how in the guide a GIS team who were prepared to spatially analyze zombie hot spots, were prepared for anything. According to Cartographia, Austin TX has been prepared for a zombie outbreak since 2007.
Joking aside, I think that the zombie apocalypse creates a “sandbox” for researchers, educators, and society to analyze and understand complex, interconnected geospatial issues in a non-threatening way. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant a geography professor at Monmouth University is hopefully going to be presenting a paper on “Popular Culture and GIS: Using Geospatial Technologies to Model and Prepare for the Zombie Apocalyze.” at the 2012 ESRI Education User’s Conference (EDUC). There is also a 2012 ESRI International User’s session dedicated to Health, Behavior, and Zombies. Preparing for zombie outbreaks on Earth is inspiring geospatial professionals to innovate and think big much like Star Trek has inspired decades of engineers.
If you want to experience your own zombie attack, Class 3 Outbreak is a zombie outbreak simulator played via Google maps at hundreds of locations world wide.