My, how you’ve grown


Regular readers know that I get really excited about maps and visualization.

Peter McAsh shared the resource Human Terrain recently. He was excited to share it because it was all about geography. Me, I like the visualization concept.

You start out in the San Francisco area but take the tour (bottom left corner of your screen). You’ll get a sense of what is shown and how it’s displayed. Of course, there’s a great deal of learning to be done along the way.

Then, play locally.

I zoomed in so that I could see both Detroit and Toronto.

There is quite a difference between the population of the two cities as you can see here. If you zoom in, you can see that the information is displayed in blocks. The higher the block and more intense the colour, the higher the population.

It’s quite interesting to pick out communities – Chatham, Sarnia, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and so on. Zooming in on a location reveals quite the story.

We know that Detroit was indeed a bigger city as one time and there is a time shift that will take you back 30 years to 1990 and show the difference in two panels, side by side.

Of course, I didn’t stop there. I was off exploring the world with this tool.

Fascinating.

But don’t stop there. Back off to the home page for even more visualizations like this one showing US cities by their most Wikipedia’ed resident. Is that even a name?

Pounding the streets of St. Marys


It couldn’t have happened better if it was planned!

As regular readers know, yesterday I was inspired to look back on My Childhood Community as inspired by Zoe Branigan-Pipe’s Twitter messages on the weekend.  It was a fun look back at things.

Daily, I’m in contact with Former ECOO President Peter McAsh and a while back he shared with me a project that he was working on for the town of St. Marys.  My knowledge of the place actually does go back to my childhood and playing baseball there. We were positive that you could hit a home run over the fence into the quarry.  Our efforts really fell short! A frequent truck that we would see would carried the name St. Marys Cement. That’s pretty much all that I knew although I’ve dropped in to see Peter a couple of times and have taken mini-tours trying to figure out how to get to his place!

Anyway, to the project and why featuring it is a nice followup to yesterday’s post. As Peter had been developing it, I was his ongoing tester.

Along with the help of Amy Cubberley, Peter has constructed a Heritage Walking Tour of St. Marys.

Now, Amy is a Curator & Archivist and that gives her access to a lot of historical and modern images from about the town.  Peter used her assistance to create this walking tour.

All you have to do is visit the site at the link above.  Wander your way around the town and click on the bookmarks to see what they reveal.

Oh, look, a library!

Peter used the free ArcGIS Story Maps utility to create this tour.  Now, it’s online and visible to the world to help promote the town of St. Marys.  Can you find the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?

Peter has long reminded me that he’s a Geography major as his first choice and he uses his skills here to develop this walking tour.

If you and your class are looking for a social studies / geography project, could this fit the bill?  And, if you’re interested in pounding the streets of St. Marys when all this stay at home stuff is over, bookmark the link.

In the meantime, you can take the tour virtually on this site.

Check even your reliable sources


If you like scenic drives, Highway 3 from Wheatley to Fort Erie is one of the very best in the province. Sadly, with the rise in level of Lake Erie there has been much damage along there. Highway 3 east of Wheatley has a long detour and the Erieau Community has had huge problems with dikes.

Recently, I read a story from BlackburnNews about work taken to address the flow of water from recent rainfall and raising levels.

In order to address the flooding concerns, conservation officials are planning to operate the McGregor Creek Diversion Channel either late Saturday afternoon or evening. However, water from the Thames River should still be expected to rise and flood the sidewalk along the river in downtown Chatham.

Now, I have relatives that live in Chatham-Kent so I was hoping that they wouldn’t be affected. I hadn’t heard of the McGregor Creek Diversion Channel so I asked my browser to find it for me using its mapping function.

I don’t maps in the browser all that often, but went with the default map for my browser which was Apple Maps. I was really taken back by the result that it gave me. Colborne? And not even Port Colborne which actually is on Highway 3, not this location on the other side of Toronto.

Now, I knew enough to know that this was an incorrect location so explicitly did a search using tools I more regularly use – Google and Bing maps.

I know that we all are aware of fake websites. The one that we frequently use as a media literacy example is the Pacific Tree Octopus.

It’s a reminder that nothing should be taken in absolutely faith without a second opinion or a reasonableness test.

I’m just glad that I wasn’t ready to hop in a car to go and visit the site. Other than the fact that we shouldn’t be leaving home these days, that’s almost a full day’s drive from here!

Where have you been?


How about this for a little geographical diversion?

maploco lets you quickly and easily graphically display interesting graphic diversions. It starts with a simple premise … what provinces have you visited?

For me?

Yes, I have this thing about Western Canada. But, I’ll admit that a conversation with a friend this November has convinced me that I absolutely need to visit Prince Edward Island. It is in our planning stages depending on how things work out.

South of us, in the United States, here’s what I’ve got.

I’m sure that your head is spinning with teaching ideas to spin from something this easy to create.

It gets even better … toss in maps of Europe or the entire world.

There are share buttons at the bottom if you wash to share your results. Or, a screen capture like I did above might be a helpful way to handle things as well.

What a great way to visually show off diversity!

A second opinion


Earlier, I had shared a resource developed by John Hopkins University to allow internet connected users to track the COVID-19 virus. The post appears here.

The resource lets you check into things with the latest updates added.

Microsoft, through Bing has produced a similar resource. COVID-19 Tracker

As with the John Hopkins University tracker, the data is display in a visual manner on a world map. The size and intensity of the data plotted give you a quick sense as to location and numbers.

Data from the United States can be found by state. The map is zoomable and so you head to the state of interest. Canada’s data is accumulated into a single entry and it’s located in mid-Saskatchewan. You can hover over any identified location for more specific information.

Both resources are good examples as to how powerfully data can be used to illustrate the story behind it.