It’s no secret. I love maps. I’m pretty sure maps love me. Big. Small. Old. New. Treasure.
I love ‘em all.
And the cool thing about the InterWebs is that someone is always making new maps that I can fall in love with. Recently it’s been the Washington Post.
We’re all visual people and the brain loves to look at stuff. So all of the maps and charts listed below would work great as writing prompts, hook activities to introduce units and lessons, resources for research, basic geography skills, part of PBL projects, or to simply act as a sweet way to jump-start a current events discussion.
But I’m also sure that you’ll come up with all sorts of things that I haven’t thought about. (Don’t forget to use the links associated with each map to help your kids explore deeper.)
Here we go:
Google just keeps coming up with more cool stuff. And for all you map nerds, and history teachers, their new Maps Gallery is just the ticket.
Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas that lets you search for and find powerful, compelling maps. It’s much like the Gallery of tours you can find via the Google Earth tool. One of the biggest differences is that the Google Maps Gallery contains maps created by a variety of organizations, both public and private, and so you can find all sorts of maps, many mostly inaccessible to the public before now. Read more
I’ve been on a map kick recently.
Recently might be a bit relative. Recently and maps for me means since sometime during the early 1970s. But over the last few week, I have perhaps can a little past the normal map crazy.
And thanks to Lisa and her recent comment, I’ve gotten hooked on a whole new set of tools. Called MappingWorlds, the site offers users a new way to look at the world by resizing countries on the map in relation to a series of global issues. For examples, you can view which states have the most Big Foot sightings (Kansas – 26) or which states have the largest budget shortfalls (Kansas – $137 million). Users can then download data sets, maps and animations which can be shared across the Internet through websites, blogs, and email.
Created by a Dutch group, MappingWorlds provides a great way for kids to see data in a way that makes sense. We can talk about how many people live in China and India but when a kid sees those numbers via a MappingWorld graphic, deeper understanding starts to happen.
You can look at data for both the US, the world, and for some reason, Japan. So . . . you’re able to show the number of Sumo wrestlers by perfecture if you want.
Seems like a great place to start asking really good questions for your kids to noodle through.
(A similar site to look at is WorldMapper.)
“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.”
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
Tons of geography stuff.
Generic geography sites: Read more
If a gift is given two weeks after December 25th, is it just a little late or incredibly early?
I’m not really clear on the Christmas gifting protocol so let’s just call the animated Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States a New Year’s surprise.
You all know my love of a good map. A recent purchase was a 1945 Collier’s World Atlas and Gazetteer that easily occupied several hours of my time. There’s just something about a good map that grabs hold and sucks me in – I start measuring distances and looking for old images online and browsing contemporary StreetViews and thinking about ways to use the maps with kids and . . . well, you’ve heard this all before.
One of my favorite map quotes is from Miles Harvey, author of The Island of Lost Maps:
Sometimes a map speaks in terms of physical geography, but just as often it muses on the jagged terrain of the heart, the distant vistas of memory or the fantastic landscape of dreams.
That is why the animated Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States is so incredibly cool. Read more
The Google StreetView cars have mapped over six million miles of road around the world. And depending on your perspective, that’s either a ton (240 times around the equator) or barely getting started (just a tenth of the world’s possible 60 million miles of road.)
An article in a recent New York Time Magazine shared this information along with an interesting commentary on the state of digital maps. Adam Fisher, the article’s author, claims that over 20 percent of searches made using Google are “where” related and growing. It’s no longer just a matter of searching for the “what” – it’s becoming increasingly important to know the where. The StreetView cars, and the data they collect, are the new Google Search.
And it’s not just where. It’s something called “location-awareness,” the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function.
In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is — and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.
While it’s not exactly clear how or when we’ll get from what we have now to that sort of future, one thing is clear: Read more