By Eric Wilder, Cartographer, Maps.com.
Last week marked an exciting time for Maps.com, as it was the culmination of the critically acclaimed Monte Vista Elementary School Science Night.
For many K-6 graders in Santa Barbara, Science Night is one of the most anticipated days of the year; Monte Vista Elementary School hosts dozens of local scientists from a wide variety of disciplines who enthusiastically share their profession with young minds of tomorrow. The evening gives students the opportunity to touch a human brain, hold a python, experience static electricity, and as of 2012, learn about MAPS!!!
As a past student of Monte Vista who vividly remembers the thrills of Science Night, I was ecstatic to see things come full circle and return 15 years later as a cartographer. Teamed up with my partner in crime, Maps 101Customer Account Specialist, Terry (also a proud Monte Vista graduate!), we prepared a presentation that we hoped would engage students and get them interested in maps.
Despite the fact that the cartography exhibit was placed right next to the reptile exhibit – tough competition to say the least – it is safe to say that the kiddos were enthralled to learn about maps. Crowded around the big maps we brought with us, Monte Vista students were quickly able to spot their school’s location on a map, identify ways that the Santa Barbara area has changed in the past century using our Santa Barbara Antique Wall Map, find their California mission on our Maps 101 missions map, and discover the uses of imagery in mapmaking. You would be shocked to learn how many first, second, and third grade students have used Google Maps before!!
Seeing that I once had a cartographer visit my classroom in fifth grade, we at Maps.com understand the value of introducing the science of cartography to our society’s next generation of geographers. After a very fun evening complete with prize giveaways and contests, it is without doubt that the future looks bright for the cartographers of tomorrow!
- Cartography Can Be Fun (travelbetweenthepages.com)
- The best American wall map: David Imus’ “The Essential Geography of the United States of America” – Slate Magazine (slate.com)