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November 29, 2012
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News for geographers

  Geography in Action 
  • How maps can reflect ongoing political conflict
    China's new passports, which depict several disputed territories as being under the country's control, are the latest example of maps being used as a political tool. Alexander Murphy, a former AAG president, recalls how a map he was using became an issue when he gave a talk in China near the disputed Aksai Chin area of Kashmir. "I had a map that was based on a study done in India ... but I was asked to cover up the border so that it wouldn't be a source of agitation for the audience," he said. In some countries, maps can offer an unreliable picture of reality. "They obscure how much control the government actually has," author Robert Kaplan said. National Public Radio (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Geographer studies disaster recovery in Joplin, Mo.
    Andrew Curtis, who leads the Geographic Information Systems Health and Hazards Lab at Kent State University, is using mapping techniques to research how communities recover in the wake of a disaster. During a recent visit to Joplin, Mo., he used a car outfitted with video cameras to study the area that a tornado struck last year. "We have a street view of all of these roads that were in the path of the tornado. We are looking at why places returned and how they got there. We are mapping how a community grows and develops in the face of a disaster like this," said Curtis, who was helped by Steve Smith, an associate professor of geography at Missouri Southern State University. The Joplin Globe (Mo.) (11/17), WKYC-TV (Cleveland) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analyzing China's transfer of power
    Xi Jinping, who recently took over as leader of the Communist Party in China, gave a straightforward first public speech that focused on problem-solving without promising political reform, writes C. Cindy Fan, a geography professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in this opinion article. "A breath of fresh air, it seems; a break from the past, I doubt it," writes Fan, who is also the university's interim vice provost for international studies. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Making the Most of Parcel Boundary Data
For a growing list of industries, the importance and widening use of parcel boundary and property data continues to grow. Thankfully, alternatives to traditional parcel acquisition efforts are now available through cost-effective and ready to use solutions. Read our guide to smart decision-making using parcel boundary data

  Research, Education and Global Change 
  • "Undiscovery" of island near Australia traced to cartographic error
    Scientists researching tectonic evolution in the Coral Sea found something was missing off the coast of Australia -- a large island that is represented on Google Earth and whose existence has even been cited by the CIA. Staffers at the Auckland Museum in New Zealand subsequently traced the error to the 19th-century whaling ship Velocity, whose master first reported the "Sandy Islets" in 1876. The feature was included on a 1908 admiralty chart and reportedly remained accepted until last week. TG Daily (11/26), The Guardian (London) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology and Applications 
  • Thanksgiving dish geolocation map shows how America celebrates
    Grits and okra were popular this Thanksgiving in the South, while the Midwest enjoyed some "hot dish," according to maps created by Floating Sheep. Analyzing food-related geolocated tweets, the bloggers created the maps using the DOLLY project. Stuffing was eaten most in the Northeast and Southwest, while mashed turnips only turned up in the New York area. Pecan pie was strongest in the Southeast, but pumpkin and apple pies proved popular in many regions. The Guardian (London)/Datablog/Floating Sheep blog (11/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • Bobby Wilson to receive AAG Presidential Achievement Award
    The 2012 AAG Presidential Achievement Award will be presented to Bobby Wilson, professor and interim chair in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama, for his dedication to anti-racist scholarship in geography. Wilson is also recognized for his mentorship to many students and for being an example for colleagues. AAG Past President Audrey Kobayashi will present the award just prior to her plenary presentation at the AAG Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The San Fernando Valley: "Totally Awesome"
    The San Fernando Valley, often equated with white, mainstream conformity, is much more diverse. According to Eric Carter, an assistant professor of geography at Macalester College, "What was once an archetype for suburban 'white flight' ... is today a truly multicultural and polyglot community." He adds, "People from all over the world have found the promise of opportunity in this unpretentious landscape of stucco, cinder blocks, and palm trees." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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We acquire the strength we have overcome."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson,
American writer

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