Geography Goes Digital

gaw_spotlight1.gifToday’s topic for Geography Awareness Week is digital mapping. Maps have come a long way from those old and dusty wall maps that still hang in classrooms. Now you can access geographic data in many ways, and combine it any way you want.

At Google Maps, combining information with a map is called a “mash-up.” In college classrooms, it’s called a Geographic Information System. Either way, it makes it easier for us to look at information in new ways that reveal new things about our world.

You can try this out for yourself at National Geographic’s Map Machine. You can click on any region of the world, and add data about climate, population density, earthquakes, and physical features. You can zoom in for more detail. It’s a great way to start getting more familiar with all those seven continents out there.

Google Earth also has a whole collection of special maps in honor of Geography Awareness Week.