207 - I'll Take Geography for $500, Alex

Think Significantly

Mar 15 2022 • 38 mins

When someone brings up their latest vacation destination, are you able to locate where they went on a map? The ability to discern geographic relativity to any given position is a requisite skill for those who dabble in politics, commerce, transportation, urban planning, and a number of other disciplines.  Despite the growing importance of understanding the complex network of interaction between people and countries, Americans are woefully weak on geography -  not only internationally, but domestically.  As we move ever closer to being one world community, it is increasingly important that we become geo-literate, that is, able to use geographic understanding and geographic reasoning to make far-reaching decisions. In today’s conversation, we will discuss why we aren’t as “map proficient” as we should be–and how the bias inherent in our maps is a contributing factor!

In our discussion, we brought up a study by Movoto that demonstrated our struggle with geography. This video shows what the researchers were able to see in real-time during the experiment.  We think it is immensely interesting, and hope you think so, too!https://youtu.be/YI-ouKKI5GI


Conversation Kindling:

Super double bonus!!!  In this episode, we talk about how the Mercator map causes people to have false notions of the size and location of many geographic features.  Specifically, we call out the size disparity between the actual size of Greenland and Russia and how they are portrayed on the world’s most popular map.  To really drive that point home, we’ve got another resource to share with you all, and it comes to us from the good people at the Nature Index who shared thisdigital representation that shows the affected landmasses oscillating between their actual size and the size they appear on the map.  If you were having trouble picturing how drastic the differences are, this will give you a new appreciation for how far off our perception can be!

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