Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week is November 16 - 22, 2008.

My Wonderful World - Geography Awareness Week website

The Geography Awareness Week website describes this program in the following way: "Launched in 1987 by presidential proclamation, Geography Awareness Week is held the third week of each November, promoting the importance of geography education in the United States."

Also of note this week is National Geographic's Geography Action!:

National Geographic - Geography Action

The website describes Geography Action in the following way: "For more than a century, the National Geographic Society has fostered awareness of the world’s diverse cultures and environments. The tradition continues with Geography Action! , an annual awareness program that helps educators promote geographic fluency in schools and communities across the United States and Canada."

The week spotlights the importance of a foundational geographic knowledge in this increasingly globalized world in which we live.

The following survey shows how Americans in general need a more thorough grounding in geographic literacy:
National Geographic-Roper Survey 2006

If you want to know many fun ways in which you can celebrate Geography Awareness Week, have a look at the following article I wrote on eHow.com:
How to Celebrate Geography Awareness Week

And here is a link to an article I wrote in 2006 about the poor state of global geographic knowledge among young people in the U.S.A.:
Geographic Knowledge in America is Severely Lacking

Therefore, after reading that op-ed, if you are now looking for a fun way to build your geographic literacy and knowledge, have a look at my Geo Mania World website where you can access a wide variety of free online geography and geographic knowledge games:
Geo Mania World - Free Geography Games and Map Quizzes

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Geography of Iraq

Here is an article about the Geography of Iraq that I recently wrote for another website. I realized I should probably post it here as well as it is, of course, about geography! So, here you go:

"Iraq is a country in Southwest Asia ("Middle East") that is bordered by Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and the Persian Gulf. Iraq has obviously been featured heavily in the world's news media for many years now for a variety of reasons, mainly the United States' involvement in the country. However, despite all this attention and involvement by the U.S., very few people seem to actually know about Iraq's Geography. Geography, after all, sets the stage and foundation for everything else that occurs on the landscape. Therefore, this article is here to help you learn a little bit about the geography of Iraq.

Major Geographic Facts About Iraq: 
-Official Name = Republic of Iraq, Jumhūriyat Al-ʿIrāq (Arabic), Komarê Iraq (Kurdish) 
-Population (2007 estimate) = 29,267,0004 (39th) 
-Capital (and largest city) = Baghdad (with 2006 population of around 7 million and metro population of around 9 million). 
-Official Languages = Arabic, Kurdish 
-Government = Developing Parliamentary Republic 
-Independence from the Ottoman Empire on October 1, 1919; from the United Kingdom on October 3, 1932. 
-GDP (PPP 2007 estimate) = Total $102.3 billion (61st); Per capita $3,600 (129th) 
-Currency = Iraqi Dinar -Time Zone = GMT+3

Physical Geography and Major Geographic Features of Iraq: In general, Iraq is comprised of four main geographical regions. (1) The desert in the west and southwest area of the country (part of the larger Syrian Desert) is sparsely populated by nomads. Wadis, which carry floodwaters during winter rains but remain dry during much of the year, run from the border to the Euphrates River through this region. (2) The rolling upland between the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers (known as "Al Jazira", "The Island") is part of a larger geographic area that extends north into Turkey and west into Syria. Parts of this region may also be classified as desert due to low amounts of rainfall. (3) The highlands in the north and northeast region of the country extend from an area between Kirkuk and Mosul across to the mountainous borders with Iran and Turkey. In this region, broad steppes submit to mountain ranges towering from 3,300 ft. to 13,100 ft. This region supports some cultivation as well as grazing, but is also home to the majority of Iraq's Kurdish population and several of the great oil fields. (4) The alluvial plain through which the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flow, begins north of Baghdad and extends southward all the way into the Persian Gulf. The two rivers carry large quantities of silt, which they deposit at a significant rate each year helping to continually build up the delta area, which is characterized by widespread marshland. Although the area in the alluvial plain between the two rivers is highly irrigated, the salinity of the soil (due to high than average salt contents of the two rivers) significantly decreases the amount of cultivation possible in this region.

Tigris River, Iraq

Climate: The Climate of Iraq is overwhelmingly characterized by desert or desert-like, arid conditions. The average temperatures in Iraq range from greater than 120 °F in July and August to well below freezing in January. Most rainfall and precipitation occurs from December through April and averages between 4 to 7 inches annually (A desert is an area characterized as having less than 10 inches of precipitation each year). The mountains in the northern area of Iraq are where above average rates of rainfall occur each year relative to the rest of the country. Around 90 percent of the annual rainfall occurs mostly in the winter months between December and March. Much of the remainder of the year is quite dry with little to no rainfall.

Baghdad, capital of Iraq, on the Tigris River

Human Geography and Settlement Patterns of Iraq: Obviously, the majority of human settlement in Iraq is clustered along the two major waterways of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, as well as other water sources. Since Iraq is dominated by an arid environment, these water sources are essential to sustaining life and agriculture. Because the Tigris/Euphrates valley is easily irrigated, it has been important to agriculture since times of early civilization. As Iraq is part of what was once known as the "Fertile Crescent" in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq was home to such civilizations as the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Parthian cultures. Today, in fact, the economy of Iraq is largely based on agriculture, in addition to petroleum. Except for Baghdad, Iraq's capital and primate city, most Iraqis live in small villages. Additionally, several hundred thousand Iraqis are nomadic. Regarding religion, greater than 90 percent of Iraqis are followers of Islam (with the majority of Muslims in Iraq adhering to the Shiite branch of Islam). Iraq's human geography has undergone significant impact since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government in 2003 by U.S. and coalition forces and the subsequent transitional government."

Original article by Paul McDaniel is located at:

Relevant Links:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Geography of U.S. Presidential Elections

Election day in the United States is only two weeks away (on November 4). On this particular election day, the United States will elect a new president. One thing that many people may not consider is how inherently geographic presidential elections are (or any election is for that matter). Geography works its way throughout a campaign and subsequent election, and the U.S. contains vast regional geographic differences that play an important role in the outcome of any election. The following video is a lecture by Professer Martin Lewis of the Department of History at Stanford University. He explains the geography of U.S. Presidential elections.


Lecture 1:

Additionally, you may find the following map interesting that details the geographic outcome of the 2004 U.S. Presidential election:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Adventures in the "Golden Land", Part 1 - Rangoon, Burma

“Then , a golden mystery upheaved itself on the horizon - a beautiful, winking wonder that blazed in the sun, of a shape that was neither Muslim dome nor Hindu temple spire.  It stood upon a green knoll… ‘There's the old Shway Dagon,’ said my companion.  The golden dome said, ‘This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.’” 

- Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East, 1889

 Schwedegon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma

Arriving in the Golden Land and Rangoon 

As the Thai Airways Boeing 767 jet from Bangkok descended into Rangoon I could see the floodplain of the Irrawaddy River delta from my window seat, the mountains in the distance, many farms throughout the floodplain, and an assortment of golden and white temples dotting the landscape, their stupas protruding above the vegetation.  Rangoon’s airport is typical of the third world – no jetways, requiring a stroll out onto the tarmac, and an old dilapidated terminal building.  Surprisingly, most of us made it through customs and immigration without being searched or interrogated by the numerous military government representatives. 

Rangoon, although a city of five million and the largest city in Burma (Myanmar), remains very lush with tropical flora – coconut palms, bougainvillea of a variety of vivid reds, oranges, yellows, whites, and pinks, banana leaf trees, and more.  This lushness adds a pleasant atmosphere often lacking in cities of comparable size, confirming it’s title of “the garden city of the east”.  The city is located within the fertile Irrawaddy River delta.  The city’s feel probably has not changed in decades.  Old, decaying colonial buildings dominate the central city, interspersed with ramshackle structures.  Walking appears to be the most common form of transportation.  But, in the case of vehicular movement, traffic flows mostly on the right despite a century of British colonial rule – although most vehicles steering wheel remains on the right, as in Britain.  If a taste of the British colonial lifestyle is what you seek, then simply step into the Strand Hotel.  The Strand is one of the older hotels in Rangoon, and a lasting vestige of the former colonial opulence during the time of British colonial rule. 

There seems to be a pagoda around every corner, but the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda (which I visited later this afternoon) stands on a hill above everything else, dominating the skyline of the city.  The people of Rangoon are very hospitable.  Most men, women, and children wear a “longii” – a type of sarong wrap – instead of pants.  I tried one out a few days later and I must say it does suit the tropical climate, offering superb ventilation. 

Set high on Singuttara Hill, the famous Shwedagon Pagoda is quite a sight to behold!  Over 400 feet tall and sheathed in no less than nine tons of gold, the pagoda is crowned with over 5,000 diamonds, and 2,000 rubies, sapphires, and topaz, with a huge emerald on its topmost spire.  Regarded as one of the wonders of the world, it was first began over 2,500 years ago and completed in the 1800s.  To gain merit (an integral part of Theravada Buddhism), locals come here to wash the images of the Buddha and to sweep the floor.  Hundreds of smaller pagodas surround the large Shwedagon Pagoda.  I walked completely around the pagoda, interacted with some of the people and monks, and saw some older photographs of the area in an adjacent museum.  A visit to this site is a surreal experience not to be missed.  From its superb vantage point, a view from the pagoda of surrounding Rangoon is quite impressive. 

Downtown Rangoon seems to radiate out from the Sule Pagoda, also over 2,000 years old and 157 feet high.  The area surrounding the pagoda appears to bustle with the comings and goings of humanity.  Within the holy site of the pagoda are many pilgrims and worshippers performing tasks of merit such as washing images of the Buddha.  But this is not the only holy site in the city’s center.  Nor is Buddhism the only religion represented here.  From my vantage point at the pagoda I could see several structures each representing one of the world’s great religions.  One corner is graced by a Catholic cathedral, which stands in front of a Baptist church. On another corner is an Islamic mosque, with a Hindu temple located next door. 

The famously described “1,000 scents of the Orient” may be found intermingling, stirring the senses, in many a market in Asia – ginger and curry, cinnamon, cardamom and coconut, dried fish and fresh fruits, for example.  The markets of Rangoon are no exception.  Everything one could possibly require may most likely be found in the city’s largest and oldest market, the Bogyoke Aung San Market, located a few blocks north of the Sule Pagoda.  

The monument to Burmese independence from Britain, a 150-foot high obelisk surrounded by five 30-foot pillars, is merely a short walk from the Sule Pagoda.  Nearby to the park containing the independence monument are many government buildings, housed in stately colonial structures.  Also nearby is the U.S. embassy.  The city center is also experiencing changes to its colonial skyline.  Foreign investors are funding construction of several high-rise office and hotel buildings. However, given the political situation in Burma, with a military junta ruling the country, no one is quite sure in what direction the country is headed.

Note: this post stems from my travels to Southeast Asia in 2004.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Geography of the Global Economy

In light of the recent tumultuous events shaking the United States' economy, and subsequently the world economy, I thought an entry here about the geography of the global economy (which is directly linked to the geography of globalization) would be interesting.

Here is a link to an interesting learning module about the geography of the global economy, courtesy of the Association of American Geographers:
Global Economy Module

Concerning geographers' study of the global economy, the learning module states that "Geographers study the spatial activities of economies at different scales. In the global economy, these activities include patterns of international trade, the flow of information through communication networks, regional flows of capital and resources, and the spatial distribution of labor. Increasingly, economic processes and patterns are affected by globalization - a process by which 'events, activities, and decisions in one part of the world can have significant consequences for communities in distant parts of the globe' (Haggett, 2001)" (Global Economy Module - Lesson 1).

The Global Economy learning module goes on to state that: "The global economy is a very complex system linking nations through the trade and flow of goods, services, and information. Geographers are interested in how globalization affects the spatial arrangement of economic services and activities; how this arrangement affects local and national economies; and how local and national economies contribute to the form and function of the global economy. They are interested in issues such as the relocation of economic activities and jobs from high-wage to low-wage countries; the role of information technologies in building electronic networks of commerce; the formation of economic blocs such as the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU); and the spectacular growth of newly industrialized economies, most notably in Pacific Asia" (Global Economy Module - Lesson 1).

Additionally, the module states that "The importance, extent, and sheer economic scale of these spatial changes, most notably during the 1970s and 1980s, took many governments and industrial enterprises by surprise. Many governments struggled to react in the face of the industrial and labor relocations that took place and to recognize that the foundations of the new economy were no longer locally or nationally based, but were now global. Likewise, private firms had to adapt by restructuring their production systems to consider the most effective and efficient means of doing business in a global market" (Global Economy Module - Lesson 1).

Globalization and the global economy are obviously very geographic and warrant the study by geographers and others. With all the upheavals currently occurring the the U.S. and global economies, it is important for people to gain a better understand of the foundations of the current system and to understand how and why globalization occurs and how and why the global economy is the way it currently is.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Geography on YouTube!

Here are some interesting videos about geography and geographic topics discovered on youtube.com:

Geography Tutor - Map Skills:

Geography Tutor - Types of Maps and Map Projections:

Geography Tutor - Map and Globe Terms:

The Nations of the World:

Fifty State Capitals:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Overview of Peru for Travelers

by Richard Monk, April 20, 2006

Peru is located on the upper west coast of South America. If you are considering Peru as a travel destination, following is an overview of the country.

Cathedral Plaza de Armas, Lima, Peru

Overview of Peru for Travelers

Historically, Peru was the location of the dominant early cultures in South America. The city of Caral has pyramid remains dated to between 2000 and 2600 BC, which may make it the oldest city in the world. Peru is also the home of the Nazca Lines, the football field size drawings in the ground that are only apparent from the air.

The Incas are a mysterious civilization, but one that was clearly dominant during its time. The Incas were based in modern day Peru. Although it was not a major city, Machu Picchu is the best known archeological remains of the Incas. It was discovered in 1911.

Machu Picchu, Peru

The Spanish defeated the Inca Empire in 1533, who remained in control for nearly 300 years. In 1821, Peru declared independence, but wasn’t able to defeat the Spanish until 1824. In fact, Peru was the last Spanish colony in South America.

Peru has seen periods of relative stability and near civil war since gaining its independence. In the late 20th century, conflicts with the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru rebel groups resulted in as many as 70,000 people being killed. Peru has moved beyond such conflicts and is experiencing a period of strong stability and economic growth. In a stunning development for patriarchal South America, Peru elected Beatriz Merino as the first female prime minister on the continent in 2003.

Peru is an interesting climatic country because it contains stunning mountains, flat plains and over 1,500 miles of beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Figuring out what to take is entirely dependent on the part of the country you will visit. Travel to Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in the world, and you will need to dress for warmth. Visit the dry desert in the east of the country, and you will be dressing just the opposite.

Rio Madre de Dios, Amazon Basin, Eastern Peru

Modern Peru has a total population of 28 million people. Roman Catholic is the dominant language. The literacy rate is roughly 88 percent. After years of conflict, the country has suffered economically to the point that over 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. With stability returning, this situation is expected to improve.

Lake Titicaca in the Andes

Peru is one of the hottest travel destinations in South America. With the end of armed conflict, the chance to see Inca ruins should not be missed.

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com

About the Author

Richard Monk is with http://www.factsmonk.com - a site that has nothing to do with politics. » Read more articles by Richard Monk

Friday, August 8, 2008

Geography of China

In honor of 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing beginning today (8-8-08) I thought an overview of the geography of the People's Republic of China would be worthwhile. I'll begin with China's physical geography, and conclude with a discussion of China's human geography.

The Great Winding Wall, China - 1600x1200 - ID 23789 - PREMIUM

China is one of the largest countries in the world, stretching 3,100 miles (over 5,000 km) from the East China Sea and Yellow Sea in the east to Central Asia beyond the Plateau of Tibet in the west, and about 3,400 miles (5,500 km) from borders with Russia and Mongolia in the north to the South China Sea and borders with Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, and Nepal in the south. The northern and western borders are in desert regions and the southwestern border is along the Himalayas, all of which form harsh natural barriers.

The topography of China may be pictured as an "erratically changing configuration of broad plains, expansive deserts, and lofty mountain ranges, including vast areas of inhospitable terrain. The eastern half of the country, its seacoast fringed with offshore islands, is a region of fertile lowlands, foothills and mountains, desert, steppes, and subtropical areas. The western half of China is a region of sunken basins, rolling plateaus, and towering massifs, including a portion of the highest tableland on earth."

The majority of China's population (and it is the most populous country in the world with more than 1.3 billion people - about one-sixth of the earth's population) live in eastern China. Eastern China is basically divided north-south by the Qinling mountains into two quite different regions. These mountains stretch east to west and separate the basins of the Huang He (Yellow River) in the north, and the Chiang Jiang (Yangtze River) in the south - two of the world's great river systems. The Chiang Jiang is the longest and most important river in China, beginning in the Tibet Plateau and flowing eastward across central China, finally emptying out into the East China Sea near Shanghai. Many large cities are located along this highly navigable river. And the famous Three Gorges, as well as the infamous Three Gorges Dam project, are located along the Chiang Jiang.

Northern China, west of Beijing and north of Tibet, is characterized by the vast Gobi Desert, one of the largest in the world.

Much of southwestern China is made up of the Plateau of Tibet, which averages 13,000 ft. in elevation. Tibet is bordered by the Himalaya Mountains to the South, and the Kunlun Shan, Tian Shan, and Altai mountains to the north and northwest.

South and Southeast China contain hilly and mountainous landscapes of karst topography. The beautiful scenery in Guangxi province near Guilin along the Li River is a product of karst topography.

In terms of climate, much of China is in the northern temperate zone. Colder climates abound in the north, while tropical climate is common in the south. Sub-arctic climate is characteristic of the extreme highlands in the Tibet Plateau and Himalayas. China is also affected by a seasonal monsoon. There is an alternating wet monsoon in the summer and a dry monsoon in winter. Summer monsoon winds bring warm and wet currents into South China and northward. The advance and retreat of the monsoons account in large degree for the timing of the rainy season and the amount of rainfall throughout the country. North China and southward are affected by the seasonal cold, dry winds from Siberia and the Mongolian Plateau between September/October and March/April.

China is divided into twenty-three provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two special administrative regions. The autonomous regions have traditionally been referred to as "Outer China" because they are located beyond the Great Wall of China.

China is one of the world's oldest, continuous civilizations, stretching across approximately 5,000 years of history. Han Chinese make up about 90 percent of China's population. The remaining 10 percent is made up of about 50 different ethnic groups speaking a variety of dialects with different cultural practices.


Shanghai is China's largest city, and sits at the mouth of the Chiang Jiang (Yangtze River) on the East China Sea. Large ships can navigate far up the Chiang Jiang to cities such as Nanjing, Wuhan, and Chongqing, all of which have populations of more than 8 million. The second most populous city in China is the capital, Beijing, which is situated in the northern area of the Huang He (Yellow River) plain. Guangzhou is another large and important city, the most famous port of south China, located on the Pearl River in the delta of the Xi River north of Hong Kong and Macau. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong (formerly British) and Macau (Formerly Portuguese) are of strategic economic importance. Hong Kong is a global financial and economic center and transportation hub. Other cities important as provincial capitals or centers of commerce and industry include: Harbin and Shenyang in the northeast, Chengdu in Sichuan province in central China, and Kunming in Yunnan province.

City of Life, Hong Kong, China

Despite large urban centers, rural life is still important in China. A large portion of China's population still live in small, rural farming villages throughout the countryside and work on the land. These villages are often only a few miles apart and are connected to each other by footpaths and cart tracks, and they are also usually centered around a market town where farmers can sell their produce. The most important food crops in China are rice and wheat.

Food is an import cultural marker in any culture, but is especially important in China. Chinese cuisine is famous throughout the world. Countless dishes in many styles of cooking using many ingredients are found in Chinese cuisine. Different regions of China are also famous for their own particular local flavors of Chinese cuisine.

Am extensive railway passenger network links most places in China with one another. Air travel is also an important mode of transportation domestically in China because of the country's vast size - just as it is in the United States.

Great Wall of China

See the following article for more detailed information on the Geography of China:
Geography of China

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fun Ways to Build Geographic Literacy and Knowledge "Hubpage"

Check out this "hub" about Fun Ways to Build Geographic Literacy and Knowledge and GeoManiaWorld, on hubpages.com:

This site contains a variety of resources for geography fans, including various geography links, a live feed from the GeoManiaWorld blog, great geography stuff on Amazon.com, fun geography youtube.com videos, geography news posts from Yahoo news, a guestbook, and more.

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Geographic Superlatives

Well, it's about time for some more lists. This time I'm talking about geographic superlatives of the world - the highest, lowest, wettest, driest, longest, shortest, biggest, smallest, etc. of Earth's physical features. This is the type of information you will traditionally find in an Almanac. So, here we go:

Hottest, Coldest, Wettest, and Driest:
-Hottest Place: Dalol, Denakil Depression, Ethiopia, annual average temperature (93.2°F, 34°C).
-Coldest Place: Plateau Station, Antarctica, annual average temperature (-56.7°C).
-Wettest Place: Mawsynram, Assam, India, annual average rainfall (11,873 mm, 467.4"); Mt. Waialeale on Hawaii's Kauai Island is also a contender with an estimated 472" of rainfall in a year.
-Driest Place: Atacama Desert, Chile, imperceptible rainfall on a yearly basis.

Highest points on each continent:
-Mount Everest 8850m (29035ft) Asia
-Aconcagua 6959m (22831ft) S. America
-Mount McKinley 6194m (20320ft) N. America
-Mount Kilimanjaro 5963m (19563ft) Africa
-Mount Elbrus 5633m (18481ft) Europe
-Puncak Jaya 4884m (16023ft) Oceania
-Vinson Massif 4897m (16066ft) Antarctica

Lowest points on each continent (below sea level):
-Dead Sea, Asia -409 meters
-Lake Assal, Africa -156 meters
-Death Valley, North America -86 meters
-Valdés Peninsula, South America -40 meters
-Caspian Sea, Europe -28 meters
-Lake Eyre, Australia -16 meters
-Antarctica (ice covered) -2,538 meters

Deepest ocean depths:
-Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean 35,827 ft
-Puerto Rico Trench, Atlantic Ocean 30,246 ft
-Java Trench, Indian Ocean 24,460 ft
-Arctic Basin, Arctic Ocean 18,456 ft

Deepest lakes:
-Baikal, Russian Fed. (5,315 ft)
-Tanganyika, Africa (4,800 ft)
-Caspian Sea, Asia-Europe (3,363 ft)
-Malawi or Nyasa, Africa (2,317 ft)
-Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan (2,303 ft)

Driest inhabited places (rainfall in inches per year):
-Aswan, Egypt 0.02"
-Luxor, Egypt 0.03"
-Arica Desert, Chile 0.04"
-Ica, Peru 0.1"
-Antofagasta, Chile 0.2"
-El Minya, Egypt 0.2"
-Asyut, Egypt 0.2"

Wettest inhabited places (rainfall in inches per year):
-Buenaventira, Colombia 267"
-Monrovia, Liberia 202"
-Pago Pago, American Samoa 198"
-Moulein, Burma (Myanmar 192"
-Lae, Papua New Guinea 183"
-Baguio, Philippines180"
-Sylhet, Bangladesh 178"

Largest deserts of the world:
Sahara, North Africa 3,500,000 sq. miles
Arabian, Middle East 1,000,000 sq. miles
Great Victoria, Australia 250,000 sq. miles
Rub'al Khali, Middle East 250,000 sq. miles
Kalahari, Southern Africa 225,000 sq. miles
Syrian, Middle East 200,000 sq. miles
Chihuahuan, Mexico 175,000 sq. miles
Thar, India/Pakistan175,000 sq. miles
Great Sandy, Australia 150,000 sq. miles
Gibson, Australia 120,000 sq. miles
Sonoran, S.W. USA 120,000 sq. miles
Mohave, S,W, USA 54,000 sq. miles
(Cool Coastal):
Atacama, Chile SA 54,000 sq. miles
Namib, S.W. Africa 13,000 sq. miles
(Cold Winter):
Gobi, China 500,000 sq. miles
Patagonian, Argentina 260,000 sq. miles
Great Basin, S.W. USA 190,000 sq. miles
Kara-Kum, West Asia 135,000 sq. miles
Colorado, Western USA 130,000 sq. miles
(also called the Painted Desert)
Taklamakan, China 105,000 sq. miles
Iranian, Iran 100,000 sq. miles

An Overview of Egypt for Travelers

by Richard Monk, April 15, 2006

From Pyramids to the Valley of the Kings, the Arab Republic of Egypt oozes history. If you are considering traveling to Egypt, you should know the following about the country.

Egyptian Evening - 1600x1200 - ID 32066 - PREMIUM

Overview of Egypt for Travelers

Egypt has plenty of land, but much of it is sparsely inhabited. This leads to a situation where the vast majority lives within relatively compact urban places. As the most populous Arab nation, nearly all of people live along the Nile River, particularly in Cairo and Alexandria. Cairo in particular is one of the world’s most densely populated cities with a whopping 3,800 people per square mile and roughly 18 million in the extended city. Traffic jams are legendary to say the least.

Travelers to Egypt are almost always going to see the pyramids and various archeological remains of the Pharaohs. Just so you can sound like you know what you are talking about, here is a very brief history on the rule of the Pharaohs.

Abu Simbel, Near Aswan, Egypt

Around 3,100 BC, Mena united Egypt and became the first Pharaoh. 30 dynasties would follow and are categorized as the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Empire. In 525 BC, the last Pharaoh was overthrown by the invading Persians. The pyramids of Giza were built during the fourth dynasty. The Great Pyramid is the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu. The Valley of Kings you will visit is only partially an accurate representation. More than a few of the sites were actually moved to higher elevations to save them from flooding caused when the Nasser Dam went into operation.

As for modern times, Egypt covers an area of roughly 386,000 square miles. The capital is Cairo with a population between 16 and 18 million people. The climate is universally dry and hot. Life is sustained almost totally by the Nile.

Avenue of Sphinxes, Luxor, Egypt

The people of Egypt are known as “Egyptians.” The total population is over 77 million and growing at a rate of 1.78 percent per year. 94 percent claim to be Muslim. Arabic is the official language although English and French are also spoken. 57 percent of the people are literate and life expectancy is 71 years of age.

As this overview shows, the country is unique in that it is almost totally reliant upon the Nile River. Without the Nile, Egypt would be bereft of its heritage and modern state. Fortunately, it has learned to ride herd on the longest river in the world.

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com

About the Author

Richard Monk is with http://www.factsmonk.com - a site that has nothing to do with politics.

Geography Fun and Games "Lens"

Check out this "lens" about Geography Fun & Games and GeoManiaWorld, on squidoo.com:

This site contains a variety of resources for geography fans, including various geography links, a geography travel poll, a live feed from the GeoManiaWorld blog, great geography stuff on Amazon.com, geography photography on flickr.com, new geography youtube.com videos, geography news posts from Google, a guestbook, and more.

Check it out!

How to Be Globally Aware

This post comes from an article I previously wrote for another site. The original article, "How to Be Globally Aware", is located at:
How to Be Globally Aware

We all are living in an era of globalization. Ever-increasing economic, political, and cultural globalization and global interconnectedness are an important factor of life. Everything from business to the environment occur in a world without borders. Events and decisions in one place have a direct impact on events in many other places around the world. This is why it is important to develop a sense of global awareness in order to understand all the complex interconnections that affect everyone on a daily basis. This article offers of few suggestions on how to become more globally aware, particularly through the frameworks of geography, history, news and current events, and travel and study abroad.

Geography - The first step to becoming more globally aware is to become geographically literate. Globally aware citizens know their geography. An understanding of world geography is of fundamental importance in order to know where events occur and to understand why certain events occur in particular places. Geographical literacy and knowledge also helps to understand global connections. A fun, free way to build and develop your geographic literacy and knowledge of geography is to play free online geography games. One good place to begin is at "http://geogeomania.googlepages.com/geographygames" (see links in the additional resources section at the end of this article).

History - Read history about various world regions to gain an understanding of how countries and regions have developed over time - culturally, politically, and economically in particular - and how they have interacted with one another. Those past interactions over time still have a profound impact on how different countries interact with one another and how the world interacts as a whole today. The internet also provides a way to search for sites where you can read about various world, regional, and national history.

News and Current Events - Another way to become globally aware and develop your sense of global awareness is to read world news on a regular basis from a variety of sources around the world. When reading world news, don't just rely on one news source. Try to find news sources from all regions of the world. This will not only allow you to find out about events in each region but will also allow you to hear about the same world events from a variety of perspectives. The internet is an excellent resource for free access to a variety of news sources from around the world. One good place to start is Google News ("news.google.com"). This site retrieves and categorizes news articles from many sources throughout the world.

International Travel and Study Abroad - If financially feasible, try to travel internationally on occasion. Trips abroad are a valuable educational experience and serve to further increase your global knowledge and help you to become a more globally aware citizen. There really is no better way to understand the world than to experience it personally. If you are a college student, make it a priority to study abroad at some point during your time in college. Again, the internet is a good resource to investigate countless international and study abroad travel opportunities.

Remember to view things with an open mind and try to see things and understand events from a variety of perspectives.

And check out these links:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

States, Provinces, Capitals, and Countries

Brushing up on your knowledge of capital cities, states, provinces, and countries is always a good idea to maintain your geographic literacy and knowledge of geography facts. With that in mind, here are a few links to some articles about states, provinces, capitals, and countries, of various regions of the world:

Monumental City, Washington D.C. - 1600x1200 - ID 25088 - PREMIUM

Overview of Greece for Travelers

by Richard Monk, April 20, 2006

Fira, Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece

From the Olympics to My Fat Greek Wedding, Greece has always been a cultural centerpiece in the history of man. Summing up its contribution requires a small library, but here is an overview.

Overview of Greece for Travelers

Monastery of Agia Triada, Meteora, Greece

Greece was home to some of the earliest advanced civilizations. From the Minoans of the second BC millennium to Mycenaeans who established the basis of the current language, the country has produced cultural, philosophical, political and sport advancements unrivaled by others.

The Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The modern Greek state obtained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. It has carried on what seems like a constant conflict with Turkey and was also involved in both World Wars. In 1981, Greece joined the European Community that eventually evolved into the European Union.

Mykonos, Greece

The official name of Greece is the Hellenic Republic. Greece covers an area of roughly 51,000 square miles. Athens is both the capital and largest population center with roughly 3.5 million inhabitants. Thessaloniki is the second largest population area with just over one million people. The terrain of Greece ranges from mountains in the north to flat plains in the south and beautiful islands off the coast. Winters are mild while summers are hot and dry making Greece a huge tourist destination.

Moni Thari, Rhodes, Greece

The people of Greece are known as Greeks. They total more than 10.96 million. Population growth exists, but it is just above .2 percent annually. Greek is the official language. From a religious perspective, 99 percent of Greeks claim Greek Orthodox as their religion. Literacy rate is 95 percent and all levels of education are absolutely free. Life expectancy is 76 for males and 81 for women.

Sunset on the Island of Santorini, Greece

Greece is a relatively small country, but has accounted for a remarkable number of developments in the trek of mankind through history. Whether you are going to see the culture or loaf on the islands, Greece is a top travel destination for a good reason.

The Cyclades Islands at Sundown, Greece

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com

About the Author

Richard Monk is with http://www.factsmonk.com - a site that has nothing to do with politics.

Lindos, Rhodes, Dodecanese Islands, Greece

Bolivia: A Geographic Portrait

by James Chartwell, March 26, 2005

South America's primary mountain range, the Andes, attains one of its widest points in Bolivia. Here the Andes are divided into two subranges, Cordillera Oriental and Cordillera Occidental. Peaks in these areas are in excess of 20,000 feet. Between these subranges lies the Altiplano which contains the highest navigable lake on earth. Lake Titicaca, which also lies in Peru, is 12,507 feet above sea level.

Also in the Altiplano is one of Bolivia's capitals, La Paz. At 11,700 feet it is one of the highest cities in the world. This region is home to one of the centers of Inca civilization and pre--Inca cultures.

Lake Titicaca is what helps make the Altiplano livable. This body of water is large enough to temper the coldness in its vicinity. Grains have been raised for centuries on the surrounding arable land up to the amazing elevation of 12,800 feet. The area supports a major group of subsistence farmers to this day.

Bolivia has had a troubled history. Aside from numerous internal struggles, the country first lost its access to the Pacific Ocean in a conflict with Chile. It then lost its northern territory of Acre to Brazil in a dispute involving the rubber industry in the Amazon Basin. On top of all that, Bolivia was forced to give up 55,000 square miles of southeastern Gran Chaco territory to Paraguay. Bolivia has reactivated its claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, to secure sovereign maritime access for Bolivian natural gas.

Modern Bolivia is the product of European domination, however that influence has not affected some of the Amerindian population clusters. But these indigenous Bolivians still lost their land as did their Peruvian and Ecuadorian counterparts. However, what made the richer Europeans in Bolivia wealthy was not land but minerals.

The city of Potosi in the Cordillera Oriental became well--known for the huge silver deposits in its surroundings. Zinc, copper, and other ores were found there. Bolivia's tin deposits provided a large portion of the country's export income throughout most of the twentieth century. But in the 1980's, tin reserves declined and that along with weak world prices reached the point where Bolivia's antiquated mining methods forced the industry to all but shut down.

Oil and gas are now accounting for an increasing portion of foreign revenues. Bolivia exports much of it gas to Argentina and Brazil. In return, Brazil is commtted to assisting the development of the corridor between Santa Cruz and Corumba, Brazil, in the southeastern lowlands. It is here that commercial agriculture--especially soybeans--is on the rise.

Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, resolving disputes with coca growers over Bolivia's counterdrug efforts, and waging an anticorruption campaign. The country does have its problems, but it also has its optimism.

Article Source: http://www.articleset.com

About the Author

J. Chartwell has developed Maps-GPS-Info.com which provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary. Visit http://www.maps-gps-info.com/gp.html


Globetrotting Cities of the World

Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California

By Tom Takihi

How much of a globetrotter are you? Guess this city? Hint: This city is an eclectic mix of old and new, East and West. It is a bustling metropolis and an epicurean paradise. Formerly, Constantinople, it is the only city in the world that bridges two continents – Asia and Europe. It is the largest city in the predominantly Islamic country of Turkey. Answer: Istanbul.

Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

There is nothing like discovering or learning about a city and losing yourself in its irresistible pull. There is thrill in connecting with different cities and in the process having a better grasp of humanity, history, culture, geography of the world. We are in the threshold of a new millennium. With it comes globalization- a world without borders. This reality plus hunger for knowledge has served as a catalyst for people to venture forth and acquaint themselves with the cities of the world. Come let’s take a sneak peak at some of these great cities. Let’s discover diverse worlds as we tread from one city (familiar or newfound) to the next and be entranced.

Few places in the world have a bigger number of familiar landmarks than London. Whether it is Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham palace, #10 Downing Street or Harrods, the sights of London are legendary. London thrives as a collection of vibrant and distinct communities. There is West Hampstead, Kilburn with its Irish heritage, Hampstead Heath (a vast park in North London) and Soho Square. Take a virtual tour of London canals and discover a floating community of houseboats.

Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, London, England

Paris is the City of Romance. Meander through the cloistered streets of Montmartre. Be awed by modern art and “hi-tech” architecture such as the Beaubourg Centre, the cultural heart of Modern Paris. This blending of old and new architectural styles adds up to the many reasons why most everyone ultimately falls in love with Paris.

Dusk Before Dawn, Paris, France

New York is a city that never sleeps. Climb up the Empire State Building. Pass by the Chelsea galleries. Experience the sights and sounds of Brooklyn nightclubs. Take your fill of Broadway shows. Immerse yourself in the museums of New York. Truly, it is the 21st century city.

Twilight Sky, New York City, New York


Reach for the sky. Hongkong’s skyline is one of the most famous in the world. Take a tram ride up Victoria Peak and get a glimpse of the spectacular view of the territory. Savor culinary delights honed to perfection. And take out your credit cards and splurge. Hongkong is a shopping paradise.


Chiang Mai is paradise revisited. Just an hour’s ride from Bangkok, Chiang Mai has charm, mountains, and greenery. Join in the festival of Songkran (New Year water festival) and the Loi Kratong (candle festival). Along with the showers of water and the twinkling kites that light the night sky, the city comes alive and molds the old with the new, eliciting a sense of nostalgia. Finally pay homage in the temples in Chiang Mai. Bask in the cooler climes of Chiang Mai. It can’t get any better.

Dubai is a world on its own. It is a giant-sized playground for the whole family. It is the second largest of the seven states making up the United Arab Emirates. Luxury villas, theme parks and skyscrapers dot the desert and the coast. However, Dubai is not all glitz and glamour. For a glimpse of its past, visit Deira district – narrow alleyways, nondescript buildings, jewelry shops and spice souk and breathe in a variety of aromatic spices. Try skiing at the Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Dubailand is set to open. Suffice to say Dubai is giving Las Vegas a run for its money.

And the list goes on… Unraveling the myriad cities of the world may take a lifetime but take the first step, you’ll never regret it. Travel, read or surf, take your pick. Keep discovering… Keep learning.


About the Author: Tom Takihi is the proud owner of the Discovery Network. For more information on this topic, please visit the dedicated portal: http://www.DiscoverWorldCities.info

Source: www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=62802&ca=Travel

Monday, August 4, 2008

More GeoManiaWorld Updates

Check out the latest updates and modification to the GeoManiaWorld - Geography Trivia Games and Map Quizzes website:
GeoManiaWorld - Geography Trivia Games and Map Quizzes

Test your geographic knowledge and skill - and help build and improve your geographic literacy - with a variety of fun and challenging free online geography map and trivia games. Have fun!

Why Geography?

Why Geography?

In this modern age, haven't all earth's locations been found, named, and mapped? Just about.

So, why geography?

The citizens of many of the world's countries still don't realize that ignorance of geography can affect their political stability, economic success, and environmental health. Sure, it's important to know where things are located. But even more important is learning in what ways those places are affected by their environments and their population. That, too, is geography.

Our survival is dependent on our awareness of things like where the greatest amount of carbon dioxide is being produced and where the rain forests are being destroyed. It would help us to know why terrorists want to attack. To help tsunami survivors we need to know something about the places affected. Geography is fundamental to all these things.

It's easy to see why people believe the myth that geography is only mapmaking, map reading, and knowing where everything is. For instance, TV game show contestants will be asked questions such as "what is the river that flows through Zambezi, Zambia?" In cases like this, the answer can be known by having studied a map. Knowledge of where places and events are located is important and useful. Knowing where something happened gives the event more significance.

Perhaps you've heard this story: A high school student in the United States applied to a domestic university. The admissions employee that reviewed and denied the application noted that the applicant needed to go through the foreign admissions office. The student was from New Mexico.

Geography is so much more than knowing where something is or happened. Do you know the capital of Bolivia? The answer is La Paz and Sucre -- two different places. Here's why: In 1899 Bolivia's Conservative Party was overthrown by the Liberal Party during the Federal Revolution. Tin mining, which was in the area of La Paz, had become an important industry for the country, and tin entrepreneurs supported the Liberals. So, the Liberals wanted to move the capital from Sucre to La Paz. They only partially succeeded. The constitutional capital is now Sucre and the administrative capital is La Paz. Now that you know the "why," you are much more likely to remember the "where."

A set of eighteen learning standards has been created for the science of geography. These eighteen standards are separated into six essential elements:

Physical Systems
1. The physical actions that create the patterns of earth's surface
2. The features and spatial distribution of ecosystems on earth's surface

Places and Regions
3. The material and human attributes of places
4. That people form regions to decode earth's complexity
5. How culture and experience influence people's understanding of places and regions

The World in Spatial Terms
6. How to use maps and other geographic tools and techniques to obtain, process, and describe information from a spatial viewpoint
7. How to use mental maps to organize data about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
8. How to study the spatial arrangement of people, places, and environments on earth's surface

Human Systems
9. The features, dispersion, and migration of human populations on earth's surface
10. The features, dispersion, and intricacy of earth's cultural mosaics
11. The patterns and networks of economic interdependence on earth's surface
12. The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
13. How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of earth's surface

The Uses of Geography
14. How to apply geography to interpret the past
15. How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future

Environment and Society
16. How human actions change the physical environment
17. How physical systems affect human systems
18. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources

by James Chartwell
J. Chartwell has developed Maps GPS Info.com which provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.
Visit http://www.maps-gps-info.com/gp.html

Terms: Articles may be reprinted provided content is not edited and links are kept live
Source: www.articledepot.co.uk

Know the Geography of Spain

Segovia, Spain

Author: Peter Wilson

A detailed map of Spain will come in handy when it's time to plan your vacation. You can get a quick overview of the geography and topography, and help you orient yourself to the important cities and landmarks within the country. You can also get a feel for where Spain lies in relation to the rest of Europe and the world.

Where in the World?

Casares, Spain

Spain is at the southwest part of Europe. In comparison, Spain is just over two times the size of the state of Oregon in the US. Besides the mainland, Spain also includes several islands off the coast of Morocco. The islands are the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Penon de Alhucemas, Islas Chafarinas and Penon de Velez de la Gomera. Understanding the physical layout and area of Spain goes a long way toward understanding the Spanish culture.

Consuegra, La Mancha, Spain

Though Spain borders several countries (France, Gibraltar, Portugal and Morocco), it still has a considerable amount of coastline (nearly 5000 km). Beaches are a significant draw for vacationers. Another reason it's so popular is because of the mild climate. Spain enjoys good weather nearly year-round. The most temperate area is along the coastline, with the more extreme temperature changes occurring inland.

At its lowest point, Spain is at sea level. The country's highest point is a peak in the Canary Islands. The Pico de Teide reaches 3718 m.

Important Cities in Spain

City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain

The Strait of Gibraltar lies at the southern tip of Spain. This is the route from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Atlantic Ocean. This is a popular passing area for merchants and trade.

The Alicante region, located in the southeast region of Spain, is a popular tourist attraction for visitors from Europe. It offers a wide variety of activities, from historical ruins to modern conveniences.

Madrid, Spain's capital, is near the center of Spain, near the Tagus River, which flows to the North Atlantic Ocean via Portugal. Seville is in the southwestern part of Spain. It's famous for it's tributes to Spanish culture through art and culture. It's also an important financial center in Spain. Barcelona and Cartagena are also popular tourist spots.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia, Spain

The cities of Gijon and Santander are located near the Bay of Biscay, on the northern coast of Spain. Other northern coastal cities include A Coruna and Vigo. As Spain is nearly completely surrounded by water, it's no surprise that fishing and salt harvesting are big business here.

Toledo, Spain

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/know-the-geography-of-spain-85284.html

About the Author:

Focusing on the area of Spain, Peter J. Wilson writes articles especially for http://www.alicante-spain.com . His abstracts on detailed map of Spain are found on http://www.alicante-spain.com/spain.html .

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