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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Personal Geography #2: North, South, East or West?

This video clip is great fun, as well as a good lesson in geography.   I think it's so funny because you just can't make this kind of thing up.  I know how the lady feels in trying to explain this lovely spot.  I personally used to live just north of a little town called West in Texas.  They sold shirts for a while that said West Comma Texas.  And... I can report that if you're in the mood for great Kolaches (this amazingly tasty Czech pastry) stop in West, Texas.

So meet this lovely lady who spent many years in North, South Carolina.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Personal Geography #1: There's No Place Like Home

Summer is my busy season for teacher professional development events, so I find myself people watching at airports around the USA as I make the journey to various events.  This summer I had the pleasure of meeting two little boys (about 4 & 5 years old).  I was fresh from a conference where I had rubbed elbows with all sorts of brilliant geographic minds who are VERY serious about geography and all things geospatial.  As I patiently await the boarding process, two boys bounced into the waiting area like they were straight from the Tigger Fan Club Meeting.

One of the little fellows looks at me and says, "We're going to fly home!"
I replied, "Me, too!  Where's home?"
He quickly and assuredly says, "Alemeda and Broadway."
"What city is that in?" I inquire.
He retorts, "Alemeda and Broadway."
Now I'm curious as to how much he understands about his geography, so I ask, "Is that a city?"
"No" he explains, "it's a country!"
"What country is that?" I ask.
As he's dancing around the post he says, "Alemeda."
"Oh, I see.  I've never been there." I replied.
He QUICKLY exclaims as he slows down to emphasize his point, "Ohhhh, it's a beauuutiful place!"
I told him I'd add that to my places to visit and he smiled proudly as he skipped off with flagrant waves goodbye.

What a ground truthing experience!  Not in the way that geography professionals would think but isn't that truly grounding?  It certainly made me think about the "beauuutiful places" in my life, personal geography that gives meaning and shapes who we are.  As Dorothy says, "There's no place like home."

P.S. A salute to this little boy's parents who taught him where home is, the most beautiful place in the world!

Archaeologists find new clues why the Maya left -

You don't have to use fancy maps to include geospatial content. This article/website does a nice job of giving geographic perspective along with multimedia content. You students will groove on these kinds of experiences as part of their content!
Archaeologists find new clues why the Maya left -

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GeoCool: Exploring with GeoTechnologies

New Article published in Learning and Leading with Technology with Joseph Kerski "Geo-Cool: Exploring with GeoTechnologies" p. 28-31 (September/October 2010-Vol.38 No. 2).  We've highlighted some examples of geospatial technologies for the classroom.  There's something for every classroom!

ArcGIS Explorer Desktop 1500

The newest version of ESRI's free virtual globe is available at 

I love this tool for the classroom!  This virtual globe is the perfect mix as a first stop for including geospatial technologies into your content!

According to

New capabilities of ArcGIS Explorer (build 1500) include:
  • Directly use and optimize image services.
  • Improved support for ArcGIS 10 layer packages and geodatabases.
  • Ability to search for and add content directly from ArcGIS Online. You can also share map items immediately to your online account.
  • Ability to share (export) to layer packages and to KML. You can also create notes from KML.
  • Shared layer packages, notes, and KML can be saved locally, added to ArcGIS Online, or e-mailed directly from the application.
  • Improved KML handling in both 2D and 3D mode; regionated KML is now supported in 2D mode.
  • Ability to add data directly from Excel spreadsheets.
  • Inclusion of OpenStreetMap in the basemap gallery.
  • Notes can now be labeled.
  • Improved query capabilities, so you can create expressions to filter data displayed on your map.
  • Improved symbol appearance in 2D and 3D modes.
  • SDK has been updated to support Visual Studio 2010.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Using Web GIS in the Classroom

NCGE Live Webinar Series 
Topic: Using Web GIS in the Classroom. 

Presenter: Joseph Kerski, ESRI, Geographer and Education Manager 

Date: Tuesday 31 August 2010 

Time: 4PM Eastern, 3PM Central, 2PM Mountain, 1PM Pacific, 12PM Alaska, 10AM Hawaii 

Cost: Free for Members, $20 for Non-Members 

Description: Today's Web-based Geographic Information Systems have become powerful tools to enable students to think spatially while investigating real topics in real places.  All that is needed to interact with these tools is an ordinary web browser.  However, the inquiry they offer is rich and engaging, incorporating real-time data with local to global phenomena.  Much more than online maps, these tools allow students to investigate geographic patterns, linkages, and relationships.  Join Joseph Kerski as we explore natural hazards, language, economics, invasive species, population, and other topics using Web GIS tools including ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Explorer Online, National Atlas, World mapper, Modern Language Association interactive map, and more.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

3-D Printer

My friends at GISetc are in Bismark, ND this week. They shared this cool technology with us via their website. Watch the video to see 3D object printed out! Fascinating stuff! � 3-D Printer Complete Progression (a.k.a. LIVE from Bismarck)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My Summer Reading Adventure

Summer draws to a close, at least here in southeastern starts August 9th.  I have been talking with my tutoring students about their summer reading.  I too try to do some summer reading and wanted to highlight my favorite of this summer, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen.  I am a geography fan and adore adventure stories.  This selection rang both those bells like Christmas at the Vatican.  The story highlights the adventure, trials and triumphs of a 12 year old genius cartographer.  He maps life: people, places, events...everything.  One of his triumphs sets him on a cross-country journey that is replete with adventure.  Whether you want a good read, need to recommend one to a student or you're just curious...check it out!