US That Could’ve Been: Creating Timeline X’s Map with GIS

I’ve been dabbling around with an alternate historical geography of the United States that I’ve called “The United States That Could’ve Been.” So far, I’ve laid out the initial concept map of the altered U.S., and I’ve drafted an alternate timeline of events, called “Timeline X,” which is almost certain to be updated and improved upon a little later. I decided that I’d like to go a few more steps with this and create some bare basic demographic analyses in a GIS, and perhaps put together a little almanac with entries about each of the states. To start, I decided to use existing data from these places just to see, assuming that all other migration events and such else remained largely the same in Timeline X as it did in our reality, what the populations of these new states would be. Continue reading “US That Could’ve Been: Creating Timeline X’s Map with GIS”

US That Could’ve Been: Building Timeline X

This past December, I put together a sort of alternate history map of the United States called “The United States …That Could’ve Been.” It was nothing more than just a bit of fun in a dull and dry winter spell. All of the states created in that entry were based on existing real-life partition proposals that were either flat-out rejected or which flamed out. Continue reading “US That Could’ve Been: Building Timeline X”

From Absaroka to Yazoo: The 124 United States That Could’ve Been

Most of my life, I’ve daydreamed about history — not so much the incredible depth of historical events that have already occurred, good thinking as that might be. No, I’ve constantly fictionalized history by changing the outcome of one event here and there and exploring the possibilities of what would have come next. Sometimes I come up with some utterly ridiculous progressions on these alternate timelines of whole new worlds based on relatively minor changes. Continue reading “From Absaroka to Yazoo: The 124 United States That Could’ve Been”

Push & Pull Factors Assignment, Spring 2011

Every semester in my introductory classes, I do an assignment on push and pull factors, and how they relate to migration.  Of course, push and pull factors are a relatively easy concept to understand, in that push factors are those ideas about a place that “push” people away from living there, while “pull” factors are those perceptions which attract people.  It’s (really) old news for population geographers, and there have been plenty of critiques on the conceptualization, but it’s nice and tidy for getting intro-level undergrads interested in migration.

Continue reading “Push & Pull Factors Assignment, Spring 2011”

Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: My Mental Map of the World

We usually have to stress to students in introductory geography classes that, despite the insistence of their high school football coach, er…. social studies teacher, that geography is not the memorization of maps.  I usually have an exercise to stress this on the first day of class, in which I have the students each draw mental maps of the world, using nothing but as many blank sheets as they like.  I wrote about this a couple weeks back, with examples of what they submitted.  It usually serves as an eye-opening experience for them, and they usually let out a big sigh of relief when I tell them it’s the last time they’ll be drawing maps for me.  Of course, I use it as a nice segue into what geography is really looking at, analyzing a selection of the maps on the overhead. Continue reading “Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: My Mental Map of the World”

Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: Travel

A lot of travelers — and especially geographers — like to keep track of numbers of places they’ve been…. countries, states, continents, capitals, everything. It’s a nice way to reflect upon past experiences, and yes, of course, brag to one’s friends about those travels. Continue reading “Mapping (Geo-)Autobiography: Travel”

Geographic Literacy: Our Job Isn’t Finished

This week is Geography Awareness Week, a designation that started in 1987 via presidential proclamation to promote geographic literacy in education and in the general public.  Each GAW has a theme; this year’s is freshwater, which isn’t a terribly interesting topic to me personally.  But, as an educator and a geographer, geographic literacy is something I find to be quite important. Continue reading “Geographic Literacy: Our Job Isn’t Finished”

50 States, 50 Movies

A piece was published on the Huffington Post today, identifying every state of the U.S. by one movie.  Here’s the map they came up with:

The selection criteria isn’t necessarily clear on the HuffPo…. not much is said about what kind of thinking was behind these selections.  It appears that most of these movies have stories based in the states listed, which is a good idea. Continue reading “50 States, 50 Movies”

Regions of the Continental United States (According to… Me)

My friend and colleague, Emily Fekete, who recently moved on to greener pastures and new opportunities in the geography PhD program at the University of Kansas, posted an entry trying to establish her mental map of regions of the United States.  I thought it was a good idea, and since I don’t have too many of those on my own lately, I figured I might as well replicate her efforts and provide my own map of regions so that we could compare our different thoughts, ideas and experiences. Perhaps this will filter through the community of geography blogs and we’ll get a whole bunch of mental regions floating around. Continue reading “Regions of the Continental United States (According to… Me)”