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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"

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"

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Although Geography occasionally suffered from name recognition in the past (it’s Geography not Geology!), the hard work of geographic education advocates, coupled with increasing connectivity around the world, changing spatial awareness (through the everyday use of platforms like Google Maps and global phenomena such as climate change) and rapidly developing geospatial techniques, suggest the potential development of a new, and perhaps enlightened era for Geography.

This blog post is the first in a new GWU Department of Geography blog series. The Geography Department invites Geography faculty, current students, and alumni to get involved in the dynamic and diverse conversation this blog series creates. For our debut post, I am here to examine trends and significant developments in U.S. geographic education and in geography’s relevance. Geographic education has become the object of newfound awareness and acceptance in recent years in the United States. Its (re)incorporation can be seen across all education levels, from primary to post-secondary.

...continue reading "What’s Trending in Geography and Geographic Education? Rapid Growth – That’s What! | Joe Dymond"

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