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What is the Next Generation?

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The January K12News newsletter from Education Market Research noted that in a recent survey “Maps, time lines, charts and graphs” were the second most liked feature of teachers’ current Social Studies textbooks at 47.3%, virtually unchanged from the previous sample in 2010. These figures confirm that maps are an integral part of the Social Studies curriculum and a ‘must-have’ for teachers. However, the fact that less than half the respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the current offering points to a need to improve what is being offered to them.

This also correlates with problems that teachers pointed to with their current curricula: “not enough digital resources” (42.6%) and “information not up to date” (37.2%).These figures aren’t surprising given the average age of textbooks in the classroom, which has reached a recent high in recent memory of over 5 years.

Teachers love and use maps because they are engaging teaching objects that are not only beautiful, but tell stories, convey information, and provide teaching and learning opportunities not only in Social Studies, but across disciplines. But they have to be relevant, accurate and current. No longer can maps be thought of as images or even disconnected objects – even when they do have interactivity added.

The world is an ever-changing place and the next generation of mapping platforms are able to reflect those changes quickly and easily as changes occur in the real world. They will allow students to explore the world in much more detail and to apply critical thinking skills to the data that they can see and manipulate. Not only will these new mapping platforms provide publishers with content that is highly valued by teachers in a highly interactive digital format and which can be updated and kept current on the fly, but it will also increase the efficiency of implementation.

These new mapping platforms can also be leveraged across disciplines so that teachers can provide engaging learning opportunities that support and enhance Common Core standards and/ or state standards to all students, regardless of their course of study. Sharing of resources like maps across titles has long been standard practice. New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only “New generations of mapping platforms will allow the platform to be leveraged not only across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts across titles, but across disciplines, allowing teachers to provide standards-based learning that leverages geospatial concepts, investigation and analytic thinking. has rolled out a new interactive map series call Field Trip Library that takes students on journeys around the world without ever having to leave their desk. We are doing this with a mapping platform that is responsive, interactive and highly adaptive. This is just the beginning of the future of mapping in education. Come along with us to see what’s next.


Tis the season for giving… and getting.

It is shaping up to be a great holiday season! Not only has our Field Trip Library product won an award from Tech & Learning Magazine (to be featured in their December issue), a Silver award from the International Map Industry Association and a nomination for an award for Innovative Application at the Esri Partner Conference, we have also just learned that Field Trip Library is also a finalist in the Education and Learning category of the Digital Book World Awards.

That the product has garnered recognition from such a wide variety of organizations, from ed tech to geospatial sciences to the book trade is wonderful recognition of a job well done by our team of authors, researchers, cartographers and developers, all who work in concert to develop this innovative product. We are looking forward to expanding the reach and breadth of this wonderful new teaching tool.




What does it take to edit a map?

“Pishaw, editing a map is easy,” they say. “Everything has been mapped.”

That’s not an uncommon refrain, but far from the reality. The world is a constantly changing place that requires cartographers to keep up to date on both content and technology. To be sure, more resources are available to both cartographers and cartographic editors than were available in days of yore, but the rigor with which those resources are reviewed, validated and implemented has not decreased in the slightest. In many cases, the internet has proven both a boon and a burden for researchers who have to go the extra mile to verify sources that are posted by unknown parties. Whether it is a map for navigation or to convey a historical event to a student, publishers can’t afford to get it wrong. And that’s where the skills of editors shine.

To give you a sense of what goes into the editorial process of a typical street map and the depth and breadth of knowledge that is applied to the craft, our editors have shared a slice of their world in the following paper, which was distributed originally in our Fall InCarto Newsletter.

See the whole Fall InCarto Newsletter here:

If you didn’t get a copy in your inbox, let us know and we’ll be sure to add you to the mailing list.


Russia Draws Maps to Include Crimea

Russia moves forward with the remapping of teh Crimean peninsula

Russia moves forward with the remapping of the Crimean peninsula

You’ve surely seen the coverage in the news about Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. While most of the World is refraining from making changes to official maps, including those from, the Russians see this as a done deal. We will be taking a more pragmatic approach and wait until the dust settles, but that could take some time with the West objecting to the annexation of a portion of a sovereign nation. Depending on how this plays out, it is entirely likely that our maps will be shown with an “occupied by” notation for the Crimea. While we wait to see how this plays out, the Russians are moving ahead full steam, as you will see below…





Russia on Monday redrew its official maps to include Crimea after annexing the peninsula, even though the move has not been internationally recognized. Maps on the Kremlin and government websites include Crimea, describing it as the “youngest region of Russia.” Russia’s absorption of Crimea has drawn international condemnation and sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Russian troops have seized Ukrainian military bases on the mostly Russian-speaking region of two million people since a March 16 independence referendum. Several of Russia’s most popular websites including the main search engine,, have also changed their maps. But on a parallel site for Ukrainian users,, it continued to show Crimea as part of Ukraine.

Yandex, which is based in Moscow, wrote on its official blog last week that “maps will be different for different countries. That is Crimea will be shown according to the official position of each country.” Yandex said it would also change the way it presented news, with stories about Crimea being classed as domestic news for readers based in Russia. The Russian language version of Google shows Crimea with a dashed border line, used for “disputed” boundaries.

Russia’s biggest Internet company,, was one of the first sites to change Crimea to part of Russia on March 21, the day that President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement absorbing the peninsula. Russia’s television channels have for several days included Crimean towns in their national weather broadcasts.

One Russian bank used the change as an advertising opportunity, covering the side of a building in central Moscow with a map of Crimea and the slogan “Russia and Crimea together forever.”

Source Agence France Presse, reprinted from the International Map Industry Association


Subject: URGENT – Funding for Social Studies — Civic Learning & History

This from our friends at the National Council for Social Studies. Please take a moment to read and act! It is critical that we raise every voice to ensure that critical funding is available for our schools. Many recent reports have shown the increased relevance and importance of Social Studies (and Geography) to the success of our children as they develop the skills that will make them successful and productive adults. is committed to not only creating products and services that are an essential part of our children’s education, but also to promoting and advocating for the resources that our schools need.

Subject: URGENT – Funding for Social Studies — Civic Learning & History

Dear Supporter:

We need your support for funding for civic learning and history.  A high-quality social studies education plays a vital role in preparing students for college, careers and citizenship.  In the next few days, members of Congress will submit their funding priorities to the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate for consideration as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 funding legislation.

We urge you to be in touch with your members of Congress this weekend to ask them to support civic learning and history in the 2014 Budget.  Just the link at the bottom of this message and follow the prompts.  After you send your message, please do forward this message to your colleagues by using the prompts that will be provided.

Thank you in advance for taking this important step!

Ana Post
Director of External Relations & Council Communications
National Council for the Social Studies
Click the link below to log in and send your message:

You have received this message because you have subscribed to a mailing list of National Council for the Social Studies. If you do not wish to receive periodic emails from this source, please click below to unsubscribe.

learn about how else you can help at the NCSS Advocacy page.

See also the following links for more about the increasing importance of geography to our collective future:,0,2690536,full.story



A UK design agency has reproduced the world map using outlines of Landrover’s familiar range of 4×4 vehicles.

Under the title ‘70% of the world is covered by water, the rest is covered by Discovery’ this delightful marketing piece uses  irregularly shaped topography to accommodate its vehicle silhouettes. This is a great example of cartographic double entendre that is arguably more honest and open than many accepted or ‘real’ world maps in print.

This is not the first imaginative, travel-themed campaign adopted by Landrover, according to the Creative Review Blog. In 2011 they used a cluster of passport stamps in the shape of a Land Rover Vehicle as part of a print campaign.

What Cartographic Advertising favorites stick in your mind? Let us know in the comments.




Its that time of year when Geography People get to strut their stuff……

Geography Bee season is upon us, and this year was lucky enough to take part at grass roots.

Instead of just writing about maps, geo-politics and an increasingly bizarre group of place-shaped kitchen products we elected to use our time more effectively by assisting in the early rounds of the National Geographic Geography Bee at our local school, Goleta Valley Junior High.

The results were inspirational. This is the second Geo Bee we have been involved with locally in recent weeks and once again it was a delight to see kids of school age up for geography.

You can read about it here at our Maps101 blog.

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