Month: November 2011
A recent article in The Guardian, “Your Moons are Rubbish, Astronomer tells Christmas Card Artists“, by science Ian Sample was entertaining but also raised several serious scientific questions. Peter Barthel from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands wrote an article for the journal Communicating Astronomy with The Public on astronomical realism in holiday cards. He found that many cards depicted the moon in ways that were not realistic for the time of night being portrayed. When asked “so what?”, he thinks that realism adds to instead of detracts from the wonder and “Moreover, understanding leads to knowledge which lasts”.
His remarks started me thinking about how geography is portrayed in greeting cards and what are the most common themes. The National Environmental Education Foundation has a good handout on the difference between the North Poles, the Antarctic, the Artic and how polar bears and penguins don’t live together in the same place. In order to conduct my own informal research, I went to Blue Mountain Cards and Hallmark Cards online to review all of their cards for geographic fallacies. I gave up after the first few pages because of the predominant lack of geography in the cards.
Not much more to say since you guys are the reason that we keep doing the podcast year after year.
Matthew Erickson, deputy graphics director at The New York Times, has a great post about “When Maps Shouldn’t Be Maps” or how location can be represented by a broad range of geovisualizations. He discusses that while using a map is often the right choose when presenting information that geovisualizations can add to the story. He has some great examples with explanations. His blog post is timely because the theme of Geography Awareness Week this year is about geography in your community. Reading or watching the news is often the easiest way for people to get involved in their local geography, so it is nice when journalists understand the many ways they can present geospatial information. I think journalists are often an overlooked source for great neo-geography.
On Tuesday Sue and I sat down for our first distance presentation. Our audience were faculty and students at the University of Szeged in Hungary where a friend/colleague of ours is spending time as part of a Fulbright. Since we were on Skype and in front of mics anyway I recorded the presentation to share. This wasn’t recorded for VerySpatial, but it is the easiest place for us to share it…and hey, we needed something for GIS Day.
In the near future I will update this post with a video version which will have the slides to go along with the audio as well as a few videos from Sue’s Virtual Morgantown project as demos.
Each year as the holidays approach (and yes I include GAW in that list of holidays) we try to reach out to a vendor who carries Geographic or cartographic items to see if they would be willing to cut you guys a break/provide a discount in exchange for some free ad space on VerySpatial. This year we have talked ODTMaps.com into working with us…and for the first time it was actually easy to get a retailer on board.
We hope to have an ad up on the site soon that will highlight the 10% discount you can get using our coupon code veryspatial on the ODT Maps order summary page. However, in the short term they would like you to know that if you sign up for the ODT Maps newsletter you will get an exclusive newsletter subscriber discount in the November 21 issue of the ODT Maps newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter head over to http://odtmaps.com/ and select Get E-Updates or follow this direct link. The newsletter discount will save you 30% Nov 23-28…ah Black Friday/CyberMonday sales.
If haven’t visited the ODT Maps site before take a minute to check it out. They have everything from maps to inflatable globes to magnets and stickers. They also have a selection of gift suggestions which includes a Hugg-a-Planet skin for those do-it-yourselfers who want to make the world themselves…and then hugg it (our Hugg-a-Planet still holds a place of honor). But perhaps most awesome of all is the large collection of south oriented maps and the EarthBall which has NITEGLOW CITIES! I am telling you now the the EarthBall may very well be the grand prize for our 6.5 year anniversary contest coming up in January…which means I need to go register for the newsletter so that we can afford to give one away (with the help of the coupon).
Ladies and gents, we are firmly into Geography Awareness Week 2011 (#gaw2011) and events they are a-happenin’ from your local classrooms to the social media circuses. If you haven’t checked out the usual suspects you should head over (in no particular order) to:
Remember, this year’s theme is “the adventure in your community” so go out and share, create, or take part in a Geography adventure to spread the word!