A great map creation tool

I have to give a big shout-out to Miguel Guhlin for this lead. It came out in this morning’s TCEA Education Newsletter.

Those that know me know that I’m a sucker for any good mapping tool and this one put me over the top.

There is a little American bias in the menus but I can see past that. It’s just the reality of living north of the 49th parallel. You could see my issue just by looking at the navigation bar. When in the Program Department, it always sparked a discussion as to whether we promote a utility like this or not.

It would spark great and healthy debates.

It’s hard to argue that the level of detail is so rich.

I had to smile. Does anyone but me remember when Geography was taught with a pull-down map at the top of a chalkboard and an up-to-date teacher would have magic marker written to correct things that weren’t quite right?

This utility has so much, I think I would glance over the menu bias. After all, when you look at “More Maps”, the list is pretty impressive.

I spent the most time looking at the map of Africa and mousing over the “All first-level subdivisions (provinces, states, counties, etc.) for every country in Africa.” Wow.

Coming back, mousing over the Canadian Electoral Districts was fascinating. Do yourself a favour and look at the showcase option; someone may have already done a lot of legwork for you.

This isn’t a project that’s been done and the author moved on. There is a section devoted to Covid-19 that tells so much. If you’re into Gaming, check out that section.

If you’re teaching anything that involves Geography, this needs to be in your toolkit.

Thanks, Miguel.


Let’s go on a trip

WARNING – if you’re like me, this could be a real time suck!

Aren’t we all ready to do a little travelling again? As we know, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I even heard rumblings that the stay at home order might be extended later this month.

Fortunately, we have the internet and now, City Guesser.

I’ve seen things like this before and they tend to be easy. CN Tower? I know where that is. Skylon Tower? I know where that is. Math Building at the University of Waterloo? I know where that is. Calgary Tower? Pffft.

This is really different and I found it so engaging. (and hard)

First, pick a location. There actually is a section dealing with monuments.

I decided to go easy on myself and started with Canada.

That wasn’t so easy! I wasn’t prepared for this.

City Guesser puts you at street level and starts you walking. All that you need to do is look around and try to recognize landmarks, buildings, streets, buses, and everything that’s there in detail. Then, you plot it on a map.

It’s not easy. Every Canadian City has many TD Banks, Scotiabanks, … You’re going to have to go deeper than that.

Give it a shot. I’m sure that you’ll be pushed to remember everything you thought you knew about places!

All hits, all the time

Well, maybe …

After writing my blog post on Saturday for World Radio Day, I went on a bit of a nostalgic tour of the radio stations that I’ve followed as I moved from place to place.

Here they are, and their current format.

CKLW – the information station

WCAR – sports radio

CKNX – country, talk, news

CFTR – new

CHUM FM – adult contemporary

CKMS – independent, progressive university

WLS (The call letters kicked in while thinking about this Chicago station) – news and talk radio

WRIF – rock ‘n roll

CJWF – country

E STREET RADIO – Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band

voicEd Radio – education and music

It comes as no surprise that these days all of these stations have a website. I mean, who doesn’t have a website these days. I tracked each of those down to see it and also to see what format of radio they currently have.

I can’t help but be impressed with the change in mindset radio has had over the years. Originally, you had to be in a car or near a radio AND within the broadcast area of the station to hear it. There was nothing more frustrating to drive outside the range of a station and have to endure static. Then, you’re scanning for a new station that was both strong and the same format that you wanted.

It’s not the same these days. Since stations also broadcast over the internet, distance and antennas are no longer the requirements. I can, and did, tune into CKNX to find out what was happening in Western Ontario.

Radio is also very competitive. It was interesting to see the chance in format for some of the radio stations. Listenership is important and having the loyal following is key.

So, thanks to World Radio Day for taking me back to some great listening memories. As I leave, I’ll leave you with this link to Radio Garden. Here’s a place to go and search for a station or just explore on a map. After all, once you know location and where the stream is, you can listen from anywhere.

Or zoom way out to see stations across a continent.

Or take the earth for a spin. We don’t have a monopoly in North America with radio stations.

Shifting over the years

I still remember the lesson in Geography in high school. It was about the tectonic shift. I don’t recall any video or other proof that this was real. We just took his word for it, I guess. We probably had a textbook too! All I can remember was thinking that some day we might end up in Lake Huron or something!

But things do change. A few years ago, the annual CSTA conference was i Omaha, Nebraska. I flew into Eppley Airfield. I had been told that it was a quick 10 minute Uber ride to the hotel. It actually was quite quick. But …

As I’m sitting there, I’m taking it all in. I was surprised when I ended up seeing a “Welcome to Iowa” sign. Was my driver taking this foreigner on a long drive?

It actually was a pretty quick drive and there I was at the hotel. I guess somewhere along the line, we’d passed back into Nebraska and I had missed it. Once I caught up with my Nebraska and Iowa friends, I told them about my observation. It wasn’t news to them; apparently, the Missouri River over the years has moved!

All that came back as I read this story this morning…

Interactive map lets you track the location of your hometown as the Earth changes over 750 million years

It’s a wonderful read and explains what’s happening quite nicely. Of course, I had to check it out. The presentation was spectacular. If you’ve used Google Earth, you’ll find spinning and navigation quite easy.

I turned off the cloud layer and brightened it a bit in the settings and then turned the clock back 750 million years.

I guess the plates have indeed moved!

Like most things this interesting, I was down yet another map worm hole. Ever the educator, I couldn’t help but think how much more interesting this concept would have been if it had been available when I was in high school.

It doesn’t stop there, although if it did it could have saved me some time.

The application is tied to a number of databases.

This truly is a fabulous resource.

Make sure that you bookmark it.

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.