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Articles in GeoNotes

More Great Maps from M. Izady at Gulf 2000

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2012 | 13 Comments
Middle East Cultural Historical Regions Map by M. Izady

The fantastic map trove at Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 Project, generated by cartographer M. Izady, continues to expand. Many detailed maps of language, religion, ethnicity, and cultural-historical regions in the greater Middle East are found on the site.
Today’s GeoNote highlights Izady’s map of “Primary Cultural and Historical Zones.” This map makes an invaluable companion for historical sources covering the region. …

Egypt’s Electoral Geography Revealed

By Martin W. Lewis | March 4, 2012 | 3 Comments
Egyptian Block Vote Map from Electoral Politics 2.0

By Western standards, Cairo is a socially conservative and religiously devout metropolis. By Egyptian standards, however, it is a rather liberal place. Such a position is evident in the electoral maps of Egypt’s 2011 legislative election, recently put on-line by the invaluable website, Electoral Geography 2.0: Mapped Politics. As the first map posted here shows, the secular, center-left party, Egyptian …

Misleading Lists of Large Lakes

By Martin W. Lewis | March 1, 2012 |

Conventional lists of the world’s largest lakes by area are often misleading. Most claim that the Aral Sea is one of the Earth’s most extensive bodies of inland water, some placing it in the fourth position, and others, including infoplease and factmonster, in sixth place. In actuality, the Aral Sea has virtually disappeared, and now is essentially a massive salt-flat, …

Africa GeoQuiz Answers

By Martin W. Lewis | February 29, 2012 | 6 Comments

Yesterday’s GeoNote introduced this Sub-Saharan Africa GeoQuiz. This page shows the answers in bold, so if you would like to first take the quiz without seeing the answers, see yesterday’s post before scrolling down.

1. The island marked A:
b. has a unique mixture of Southeast Asian and African cultural influences; all of its closely related indigenous dialects are Austronesian, linked to …

Africa GeoQuiz

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2012 | 4 Comments

Yesterday’s GeoNote criticized a Christian Science Monitor Africa Quiz. Today’s gives an example of the way in which I test my students in multiple-choice exams (I also give essay-format exams).  Answers tomorrow.
1. The island marked A:
a. is culturally a mélange of South Asian and African influences; partially as a result, it is one of  the more economically successful countries of this …

Is Geography Reducible to Country Names and Locations?

By Martin W. Lewis | February 27, 2012 | 4 Comments
Africa Quiz from the Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor asks its readers, “Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.” In the quiz, 16 of 20 questions merely ask for the name of a country indicated on a map. One question asks the name of a mountain range, and two ask for the names of cities shown in photographs. The final question is a bit …

NY Times The Geography of Government Benefits Map

By Martin W. Lewis | February 24, 2012 | 3 Comments

GeoCurrents reader Brett Lucas recently brought to my attention a fascinating interactive New York Times map of “The Geography of Government Benefits,” which shows the share of income in each county that derives from government benefits (social security, medicare, medicaid, etc.). Brett also makes some interesting observations about the map. As he notes, “In the Pacific Northwest, the counties with …

Religious Diversity in Northern California

By Martin W. Lewis | February 23, 2012 | 5 Comments

Most detailed maps of religion in the United States depict the leading denomination of each country, as in the first map here. Here one can see a Baptist belt in the southeast, a Mormon region in the central part of the west, a Lutheran Zone in the center-north, and a vast area of Roman Catholicism spread over most of the …

Mapping Mormonism (and Religious Adherence)

By Martin W. Lewis | February 21, 2012 |
Slate Magazine Map of Mormons in the US, modified

Slate Magazine recently published an excellent interactive map of “Mormons in America,” which shows “where the country’s largest homegrown religion thrives—and where it doesn’t.” By moving one’s cursor over the map on the Slate site, one can see how many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reside in almost every U.S. county. My one criticism …

Mapping Locust Swarms

By Martin W. Lewis | February 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

The recent GeoCurrents post on California cuisine ended on the odd note of insect eating. Of all insects across the world, locusts are probably the most widely consumed. They are the only six-legged creatures considered halal by Muslims and kosher by Jews. Allowing the consumption of locusts may have had an ecological rationale; when they swarm, crops can be devastated, …

An Innovative, Inaccurate Baseball Fan Map

By Martin W. Lewis | February 16, 2012 | 6 Comments

It is not often that I would go out of my way to praise a map that advertises itself as “highly inaccurate,” but I will do so in the case of the Common Census Major League Baseball Fan map. The map was constructed from crowd-sourced data, relying on responders to specify where they live and what team they support. Unfortunately, …

Lines on the Map: the Hajnal Demographic Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | February 15, 2012 | 5 Comments
Wikipedia Map of the Hajnal Demographic Line

A little-noted cartographic genre is based on heavy lines, named for the individuals who brought them to notice, that separate broad areas distinguished by specific features. Examples include Wallace’s Line, which separates Eurasian from Australian wildlife regions in eastern Indonesia, and the Barassi Line, which divides Australia into rugby and Australian-rules-football spheres. In Europe, one of the more prominent of …

Geographical Survey

By Martin W. Lewis | February 12, 2012 | 4 Comments
GeoCurrents - A Geography Blog

Dear Readers,
If you have a few free minutes, please consider filling out this survey from the American Geographical Society.
The American Geographical Society (AGS) needs your help in a matter of vital importance.  We are conducting a nationwide survey of public attitudes toward geography and knowledge about geography.  This is our part in a major study funded by the National Science …

“The American World” Farcical Maps

By Chris Kremer | February 9, 2012 | 8 Comments

“The American World” belongs to a genre of maps that make fun of the geographical ignorance and prejudices of people from different countries. These maps are usually made by Internet users and crop up on blogs, forums, and social networking websites. They often have titles like “The World According to India,” or “The World According to Americans.” While some of …

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