Visit the EarthView web site to meet the team and learn about the project.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


One of the most important lessons of EarthView is that the earth is mainly covered in water. For decades, Dr. Sylvia Earle has been a leader in helping people to understand and explore oceans. Listen to her conversation with radio host Tom Ashbrook to learn about her work, her leadership as a woman in science, and how she got Google Earth to take oceans seriously! You can even follow the discussion on your own computer, using the new layers in Google Oceans. The Ocean layer includes a lot of links to ocean photos, videos, and more from National Geographic and other partners.

Another surprise for many EarthView visitors is the extent of islands and island chains in the Pacific Ocean. Even for the well-traveled EarthView Team, many of the island nations -- and even the U.S. island territories -- are difficult to place. We are finding the Australia/Oceania quiz from Lizard Point helpful, though we still have a lot to learn about this part of the world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who gets to say “Happy New Year” first?

This is a very geographic question, posed from the other side of the world by a friend of the EarthView Team! See the blog posting from the Indian Institute of Geographical Studies for a lot of interesting information -- and maps -- about this question. It includes some surprising information about time zones, such as a small island nation that used to have time zones that were 22 hours apart! (Hint: it is near the zipper on EarthView.)

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Balachandran was a professor of geography at Bridgewater State College close to a decade ago, when he worked alongside EarthView Team members Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan. Now he pursues geographic education on the other side of the world, where he is a leader of the Indian Institute. Explore the rest of his site for more about what Dr. Balachandran and his colleagues are doing to promote geographic education.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Row for Water

Katie Spotz is a young Ohioan on a mission that complements one of the major lessons of EarthView. Here she is studying a map of the equatorial portion of the Atlantic as she prepares for a three-month journey rowing from Dakar, Senegal to Cayenne, French Guaina.

EarthView team member Professor James first learned of Katie's project from her interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation program, on which she discussed the importance of timing and location.  Even though her boat and electronic equipment are quite sophisticated, the most important aspect of the journey is that she will be rowing every bit of 2,500 miles. No matter how good the boat is, this feat requires not only extraordinary strength and endurance but also quite careful attention to GEOGRAPHY.

Her route will follow the southern edge of the North Equatorial Current, which itself is the southern portion of the North Atlantic gyre. By leaving Senegal in January, she minimizes the likelihood of major storms (though the boat can handle them) and maximizes the chances that currents will be pushing her in the right direction, toward Cayenne.

Her project is called Row for Water because Katie is traversing salt water as a fund-raiser for a campaign to provide fresh water to 1,000 of the 1,000,000,000 people in the world who do not have a safe and reliable supply. In EarthView, students learn why water can be scarce on a planet that is 70 percent covered by water.

Once Katie departs Dakar, her supporters will be able to track her progress across the Atlantic. Geography students can have classroom contests: How far will she go each day? What will be her fastest day? Her slowest? How close will she get to Cape Verde? When will she arrive in French Guiana? Where will she arrive? What maps can you consult to help you guess some of the answers? What other geographic questions can you think of?

Use the "comment" link below to share the adventure with other EarthView students!

Monday, December 14, 2009

EarthView in a music video

See EarthView in this video about changing the world, from a local New Bedford artist. EarthView makes its appearance at 00:25 seconds.

"Miraculous Apertures" by Tem Blessed from Ben Gilbarg on Vimeo.