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For our fourth installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study/research experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Gavin Derleth, who presented at the Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference in Austin, Texas this semester.

What are you doing research on?

I'm doing research on gentrification within Columbia Heights neighborhood in DC and the affect this has had on the demographics and makeup of the community itself.

...continue reading “In the Real World” Interview with Gavin Derleth, Presenter at the Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference, Fall 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty

For the third installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Environmental Studies and Geography double major Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for the Clean Water Action, Spring 2018.

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I became involved with the geography department as an Environmental Studies major when I came to GW as a freshman! I actually applied to GW as a Biology major, but switched to Environmental Studies before my freshman year even began, because I realized that is where my passion lies. I see environmental issues as one of, if not the most, pressing challenges that the world is facing today. I am super inspired by all of the research and work that is being done throughout the Geography department at GW to work towards dealing with these massive challenges.

And, after taking the Introduction to Cartography and GIS class required for the Environmental Studies major, I determined that I wanted to major in geography as well. So now I'm involved as a double major within the department!

...continue reading “In the Real World” Interview with Lucy Hummer, Canvasser for Clean Water Action, Spring/Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty

For the second installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed junior Geography major and GIS minor Hannah Ellingson, Intern for the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I came to GW with a preexisting interest in geography that I developed in high school. Fall of freshman year I took Human Geography with Professor Dymond and Political Geography with Professor Cullen to see how I liked geography classes at the university level-- I loved both classes, particularly political geography! I declared a geography major and GIS minor at the end of my first year, and I’ve loved it so far.

...continue reading “In the Real World” Interview with Hannah Ellingson, Intern at the American Association of Geographers, Spring 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty

For the first installment of Geography "In the Real World"-- where we showcase the accomplishment of GWU's Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIS students as they take their geographic education into real world work/study experiences-- we interviewed senior Geography major Sarah Cassius to talk about her experience this past summer interning for the Department of Environment and Urban Planning in Medellin, Colombia.

 

How did you first get involved in the geography department at GW? How are you involved now?

I started GW as a student in the Elliott School, concentrating in International Environmental Studies. I accidentally took 3 geography classes during the first semester of my Sophomore year to count toward International Affairs (GEOG 1001, 1002, and 1003) and loved them all. I realized that I was so passionate about what I was learning, which I didn’t feel in my previous Elliott classes, so I added on a double major and I strongly believe it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

...continue reading “In the Real World” Interview with Sarah Cassius, Intern at the Department of Environment and Urban Planning, Medellin, Colombia Summer 2018 | Siobhan Finnerty

Since the proliferation of GPS technology and the presence of map apps on most smartphones have made it easier than ever to locate where you are in the world, more and more people are using navigation devices on a daily basis. This is great for efficient transportation to work/school, for comparing multiple routes, and for exploring new places; but has unknown consequences for classical navigation technologies and geographical thought. How do "maps" apps affect how we interact with paper maps? How does it affect our ability to give directions? To know our way around the cities in which we live? To expand the mental maps we create of our lives? How does it shape our geographic identity?

To begin to answer some of these questions on the role that geography-- and especially cartography and GIS technology-- plays in our daily lives in the digital age, we at the GWU Geography Department Blog conducted a voluntary anonymous survey of 26 college-age students from around the United States via the internet to determine how students across the country perceive the effects of geographic information technologies on their lives.

...continue reading The Impact of the Proliferation of GIS/GPS Technologies on Geographic Thought and Directionality | Siobhan Finnerty

In a world where you can make phone calls from your watch and donate rice to the hungry by knowing vocabulary words, it's easier than ever to make a difference. Sometimes it can seem like all doom and gloom - sea levels are rising, the United States faced a record number of "megadisasters" in 2017, and temperatures in Jacksonville, FL were colder than those in Anchorage, AK. The good news, is that technology gives us the chance to help the world without having to un-bundle from blankets, dig out from under snow, or even take a shower (it's not too good to be true, promise).

One of the environmental challenges facing communities across Africa is the threat of flooding. Lots of communities are built along rivers, relying on the water source for agriculture, transportation, and drinking water. This is great - until a flood occurs. Many of these communities are very isolated, and do not have strong emergency response plans in the event of a flood. Flooding devastates towns, displaces populations, destroys agriculture, and spreads dangerous diseases. Until recently, it was very difficult to create strong emergency plans - and to even know which communities were most vulnerable.

The Red Cross in Togo, West Africa

YouthMappers has teamed up with The George Washington University, the World Bank, and the Red Cross to help communities better prepare for floods! Using satellite data, volunteers across the world can go online, and help generate data for international organizations trying to help.  The World Bank and The Red Cross are already using this data to help them target their interventions.

...continue reading Tackling Africa’s Floods – A Call for Mappers! | Bridget Smith; Michael Mann

“Hello! My name is Ben and I’m from Ghana. I like to…” then Ben slid his arm forward simulating the movements in a game of chess on an imaginary board. The circle of 30 strangers from around the world had to repeat Ben’s name, mimic his action, and then move on to the next person in the large circle. This initially embarrassing, but ultimately hilarious ice-breaker was the beginning of an engaging, demanding, and rewarding YouthMappers Fellows Leadership Workshop – the first of its kind – held in Kathmandu Nepal, in May, 2017.

YouthMappers student Fellows Manjurul Islam, Frikan Erwee, and Sasha Guttentag repeat
Faculty Facilitator, Richard Hinton’s, favorite activity – which is snowboarding.

YouthMappers is a network of university-affiliated chapters from around the world (currently 67 chapters in 23 countries and growing!) which creates free and open geospatial data used to address specific development objectives in USAID affiliated countries. YouthMappers students create original, quality, localized geospatial data in unmapped places of the world to support local development goals, and to help communities prepare for disasters.

...continue reading Mapping it all in Kathmandu, Nepal | Joe Dymond; Nuala Cowan; Richard Hinton

The vast Arctic territory is rich in resources including minerals, hydrocarbons, and wildlife. However, high latitudinal regions receive little sunlight for several months each year, which severely limits the region’s ability to grow fresh produce. Many Arctic urban centers rely on long, complex supply chains to receive shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables from their southerly neighbors.

Alaska imports about 95% of its fresh produce, moving about $2 billion per year of grocery spending out-of-state. Produce destined for the Arctic has to be picked early and ripened in-transit to minimize rot during the long journey from farm to table. Such practices affect the quality of produce polar consumers can buy and drive up prices. Arctic residents often pay exorbitant prices for items as simple as a head of lettuce.

...continue reading Tundra to Table: Vertical Farming in the Arctic | Luis Suter

This piece was originally published by Latin American Policy Organization (LAPO).

Chile has become the leading Latin American producer of solar Photovoltaic (PV) energy. The production of solar energy expanded so quickly that Chile is giving away electricity for free in certain parts of the country.

A country once closely associated with dirty environmental habits such as mining and an energetic dependency on coal and gas-fired electricity plants, Chile is turning into a clean energy frontier. It has been a testing ground for governments and companies to experiment with policy, and the investment has paid off.

...continue reading The Chilean Case for Solar Energy | Cody Etlin

Women Are Heroes
Rooftops covered with the eyes and faces of the women of Kibera. Women Are Heroes project, 2009.

I’ve been slumming for more than 15 years, wearing my best smile and my oldest clothes, drawn to areas of deliberate neglect in African slums. In early August, I traveled to Nairobi along with my SMPA colleague, Steven Livingston. We met with a group of community leaders in Mathare, a slum on the east side of Nairobi.

Communities such as Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi are points of entry for internal migrants from the Kenyan countryside. Increasingly they are empowered by the connective technology of mobile phones and social networking sites like Facebook. As we saw in August, these slums are often frothed by rising expectations. Residents want to do more than be “on the map.” They want education and access to opportunity, skills, and jobs. They would like more attention from their elected officials. ...continue reading Digitize Me a Job! | David Rain