Geography Awareness Week 2014

Geography Awareness Week is a movement to expose you, the public, to geography.

It all got started in 1987 by the National Geographic Society when their staff became alarmed at how geo-illiterate U.S. citizens have become. Since geography is no longer taught in earnest in many U.S. schools (having suffered from the reader/writing/arithmetic focus), most folks are not aware of how geography shapes their cities, farms, and the interactions between humans and the environment. Not to mention all the physical processes on this earth that go on regardless of what we do.

To help us all better understand the world around us, Geography Awareness Week was created to promote geography in our lives to

understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time.

~ from the National Geographic Geography Awareness About page.


Each year, Geography Awareness Week has a theme associated with it. This year, that theme is “The Future of Food”. Hmmm, you’d think I’d be all over that theme, but to be honest, I don’t have any particular expertise in the department (other that eating it), so I’ll leave that to the food connoisseurs out there. Check out this interesting Thanksgiving food map put together by the staff over at ESRI:

Where green beans come from (ESRI, 2014). Click on image to access the interactive map.
Where green beans come from (ESRI, 2014). Click on image to access the interactive map.

This interactive map highlights where the food on your Thanksgiving dinner plate likely came from. I was surprised to learn that the green beans we eat are grown all over the United States.

Did you know that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow one (only one) almond?

Map image from Mother Jones.
Map image from Mother Jones.

Check out this article from Mother Jones to find out more about where food is grown in California and how much water is needed. The article also highlights which cities in California use the most water.

What you’ll get from DMS this week:

As a GIS professional, I deal with geography every single day. Most of the work I do involves showing where things are and how they relate to each other. This week, I’ll go beyond that by highlighting places on the internet you can go to find out about maps, test your geographic knowledge, explain exactly what it is we GIS folks do, explore how geographic shapes conflict, and then move us out beyond this world.