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

Monday, May 31, 2010

World Ocean Day -- June 8

Waterworld: How the ocean made us who we are

As EarthView visitors know, water covers most of planet Earth. Most of that water, of course, is in the oceans, where it cannot be used directly by humans, other than to float boats. As this article about World Oceans Day (June 8) illustrates, however, humans and pre-humans have always been deeply affected by oceans.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Geography Careers

Because geography teachers -- such as the EarthView team -- like teaching geography so much, it is easy to think that teaching is the only job for geographers.

Perhaps this impression is created because employment ads do not usually include the word "geographer." Instead, geographers have jobs with many different titles, such as Regulatory Analyst, Publisher, Market Researcher, Park Ranger, Project Manager, or even President.

Some famous geographers include Michael Jordan, Mother Teresa, and Kofi Anan. Less famously, EarthView Team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan used his geographic education in an environmental consulting firm, a specialty food manufacturing company, and many local volunteer organizations -- even his church. We also know geographers who work in many interesting jobs in newspapers, department-stores, libraries, and computer companies. Of course, some of us do find teaching to be the most rewarding path, but it is not the only one available to geographers.

Geographers are hired for some jobs because of specific skills, but they also tend to have some general skills that make them suitable for all kinds of employment. The computer skills needed to work with Geographic Information Systems, for example, are applicable in many kinds of workplaces. Geographers also tend to be good at both research and writing, Geographers also tend to work very well as part of a team, because geography involves bringing together many different kinds of ideas.

For more information, see the "Perfect Major" page from the Bridgewater State College Geography Department and the Geography Careers pages from the Association of American Geographers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quabbin Regional Middle School

42° 24' 07" N
72° 06' 47" W
Thanks to Steve Morse for his wonderful lat/long finder! Use it to find the angular distance from Quabbin Regional Middle School to your house or to any place on earth. Use it with a globe to find the school's antipode -- the place on the exact opposite side of the earth. It would also be a cool thing to add to the school's web site!

The EarthView team is excited about its return to Quabbin Regional Middle School for the second time -- to be part of its annual overnight program. The entire event is beyond EarthView's normal bed time, so we will only be with the Quabbin seventh graders for half the night! We look forward to an enthusiastic crowd of geo-learners, and to seeing our friend Ms. Erin Stevens, the teacher who coordinates the overnight fun. She is also a leader in geographic education as part of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maps that Changed the World

The EarthView team is just like the Chinese emperor Zhédì (悊帝) in one respect: like him, we have a very cool globe. His is thought to have been prepared by Jesuit missionaries in 1623. It is remarkable for its accuracy, particularly for showing that the rest of the world was not just a series of small islands!

Emperor Zhédì's globe is one of ten maps that changed the world, according to a recent article by British map librarian Peter Barber.

How Big is the Gulf Oil Spill?

How big is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Google engineer Paul Rademacher has created a web page that allows users to show the size of the spill in relation to any location on earth. This is very useful for helping students to understand the scale of the problem. The map below is what the spill would look like if it were centered on Bridgewater, Massachusetts (where EarthView is based). Enter any other location on the site to make a similar comparison (a Google Earth plug-in may be required).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eliot School in Needham -- May 14

42º 18' 23" N
71º 14' 19" W

Thanks to Steve Morse for his wonderful lat/long finder! Use it to find the angular distance from the Eliot School to your house or to any place on earth. Use it with a globe to find the school's antipode -- the place on the exact opposite side of the earth.

You can also use the latitude and longitude of the school to calculate the angular distances (that is, how many degrees of latitude north or south and how many degrees of longitude east or west) the school is from the oil well that is currently leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. On the map below, the well is shown as a red X at "Mississippi Canyon 252" and the grid shows latitudes and longitudes. (Click the map to enlarge, see the complete map here, or see all of the maps from the incident here.) This is a forecast map -- it was made yesterday, but shows where geographers and other scientists expect the oil to be today. How can they make predictions like that?

The name of the Eliot School has an interesting history. John Eliot translated the Bible into the Algonquin language, which was remarkable for several reasons. First, to do so he had to create a written version of what had been a spoken language. Second, the printing itself came more than a century ahead of any other Bible printed in North America.

EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan has actually met missionaries in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil who do similar work. The Summer Institute of Linguistics studies the languages of indigenous people in order to create written versions of their languages, so that they can then teach them to read in their own languages. They then publish Bibles and other materials in those languages. Today, the work of such scholar/missionaries is controversial. What could be some reasons in favor of and against doing such work?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nauset Regional Middle School - May 7, 2010

41° 47' 03" N
69° 59' 15" W
Thanks to Steve Morse for his wonderful lat/long finder! Use it to find your angular distance from Nauset Regional Middle School. This is a rare visit for EarthView, which spends most of its time west of the 70th meridian.

The EarthView team is visiting Nauset Regional Middle School, near the "elbow" of Cape Cod. The Geography Department at Bridgewater State College (which is the home of EarthView) has an annual field trip to Cape Cod for its students. The trip is called HumPhy, which stands for HUMan and PHYsical geography. Cape Cod, which was deposited by receding glaciers in the recent geologic past and has a very interesting cultural mosaic, is an excellent place to explore all kinds of geography!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Return to Carver Middle School

41° 53' 31" N
70° 45' 11" W
Thanks to Steve Morse for his wonderful lat/long finder!
On April 30, 2010, EarthView returned to Carver Middle School, where it had been in March 2009. The blog post from that earlier event includes a link to a nice video about the visit.
The more recent visit occurred on Louisiana Day, the anniversary of Louisiana's admission to the Union in 1812. As we visited, there was great interest in the recent oil spill off the Louisiana coast, as well as volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Guatemala.

The Santiaguito volcano is part of a line of volcanoes along the southwestern coast of Guatemala, all of which are formed by the inch-by-inch subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Central American plate. It erupted most recently a few days before our visit, and though the impact has been far less than in the recent case of Eyjafjallajokull, it did close schools, restrict aviation, and damage crops. Santiaguito Volcano is located in a very remote region, about 10 miles west of Lake Atitlan, where EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan spent time with his family (and coffee farmers) in 2008.

We also discussed the recent oil spill in Louisiana, which is threatening coastal resources and communities.