Day of Geography

How I Became a Geographer

To tell the story about how I became a geographer and what I do every day today, I feel the need to first explain how I first came to the subject, and what geography means to me.

I actually came to geography by chance. Following high school, I was trained as a chemist for a couple of years. At the age of 20 when came the time for me to specialize further, I wanted two things: I wanted to work in biochemistry and I wanted to do research. However, at the time I thought that my grades were not high enough to follow this career path, and so instead I decided a complete change of field entering a geographic science school. I thought that maps were cool, so why not learn how to make them? (more…)

Events at Western

Geography Awareness Week November 17-21, hospital 2014

Submitted by Kathy Tang via dayofgeography@gmail.com

This year, Western University’s Department of Geography is inspiring future learners throughout Geography Awareness Week! The Department invited local high schools to discover their world through the use of Geographic Information Systems and explore its benefits and significance throughout our everyday lives. (more…)

Geospatial Niagara – Day of Geography – Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School

SWSelfie 2

Sir Winston Churchill Selfie

Well today is the day!!! Day of Geography! The first one ever and definitely not the last.

Geospatial Niagara created Day of Geography but was inspired by the Archaeological community’s “Day of Archaeology“. The story of why, how, when can be found in the “About the Project” section.

Today was a special day because myself and six other colleagues had the fortune of making a presentation to approximately 100+ Grade 9 Geography students at a local high school – Sir Winston Churchill. Joining me on stage were Jean Tong – Director of K-12 Education at ESRI Canada, Kevin Turner – Physical Geography Professor at Brock University, Colleen Beard – Head of the Map, Data & GIS Library at Brock University, Teresa Alonzi and Amber-Lynn Schmucker from the Brock University Geographical Society and Janet Finlay – Program Coordinator of the Niagara College GIS and Geospatial Management Program.

I’d like to thank Kristen Salvas and Melanie Bourque from the Sir Winston Churchill Geography Department for making this happen. They capitalized on this event and we are very thankful. They were the first high school to take part in what I hope Geospatial Niagara can do every year, and that is bringing the possibilities of Geography to students, not only on Day of Geography but throughout the year as well

SirWinstonI am aware that there was another high school Day of Geography event and that was in Waterloo at the Waterloo Collegiate Institute being put on by my colleague Dr. Amanda Hooykaas.

The presentation began with a Jean Tong walking about what resources the students could access immediately and showed examples of various types of story maps. Thus began a journey through their education from high school through to university and post secondary education.

Next up came Kevin talking about some of the course offerings at Brock University and about his own research pertaining to climate change and its impacts in the Far North.

Colleen Beard guided the students through the Map, Data and GIS library site, illustrating some of the student created maps as well as the excellent War of 1812 Google Maps Presentation.

Teresa Alonzi and Amber-Lynn Schmucker, both from the Brock University Geographical Society (BUGS) talked about their experiences in the geography program. Interestingly enough neither of them began with geography at Brock, they found geography and switched their majors. They had found their calling.

Janet Finlay from Niagara College talked to the students about the GIS/Geospatial Management Program and about all the work (and the rewards) that entails.

The presentation wrapped up with me discussing Geospatial Niagara. What we’re all about, out vision, mission and goals.

We wrapped up with a little bit of a question period from the students which included one of my favourite questions to answer. “Why did you choose geography?”…. For me, I had some amazing teachers all the way through grade school to high school and university/college. In the long run I don’t think I chose geography. Geography chose me. But the educators that I had refined my vision and increased my passion for the subject to areas I had no idea about.

I encourage everyone professional or student, to share your love of all things geo. If you are in high school, share it with those in younger grades. If you are in college or university visit your old high school or grade school. Pay it forward…

And now the planning begins for Day of Geography 2015 – November 16, 2015 to make it bigger and better.

Cheers!

A Day in the Life of a…Planner

My day started typically enough, viagra with turning my computer on, try reviewing my email and voice mail.

Working in a small, rural municipality in Niagara Region, my focus is customer service. I try to start everyday with a to do list, and depending on the day it either gets put aside due to customer calls/walk-ins, or on the occasional good day, I actually get to check something off of the list, before it grows again 🙂

Typical activities:

1. Phone calls: As the only planner in the municipality, I get all kinds of phone calls. They usually include needing zoning information or reviewing building plans to ensure they are compliant with zoning

2. Mapping – I use Niagara Navigator (municipal version) daily as it helps me look up a property to see it from a Google Earth perspective. Zoning and Official Plan data are included as layers, which helps me answer questions faster than otherwise.

Today:

1. Regional Matched Funding: I have been directed by our CAO to identify projects that will qualify for Lakefront and/or Waterfront funding from the Region. This involves identifying potential partners (CAA, Niagara Region Health) and trying to match the project details to the funding requirements. Another challenge is getting the capital needs onto the 2015 Township budget

2. Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) teleconference: I am a volunteer member of the newly formed National Initiatives Advisory Committee. Our first telecon is this afternoon. I have to review the agenda and meeting materials in preparation for the meeting.

3. Township Zoning By-law: Our new Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw became officially in force last Wednesday. Dealing with the public has identified some typos, errors and omissions etc that need to be resolved. I have started to track these issues, in order to resolve them later this year, or early in 2015.

4. Customer Service: On-going phone calls, walk-ins and other inquiries.

5. Committee of Adjustment Applications for December 2014 hearing: We have received 2 applications that need to be processed. This involves ensuring that both are deemed “Complete” per the Planning Act, that both have Notice of Hearings drafted, and that both are circulated to the appropriate agencies (checklist used to confirm this).

Day Of Geography: Notes from COGS

Congratulations on the inaugural Day of Geography!

view of COGS from a phantom quadcopter in July 2013

view of COGS from a phantom quadcopter in July 2013

There are five programs taught at the Centre of Geographic Sciences within NSCC in Lawrencetown, NS serving direct-entry and post-graduate students. These are:

  • Survey Technician measuring the physical world around us to determine the shape and position of objects or features
  • Geomatics Engineering Technology delivering practical measurement skills and techniques, as well as the theory behind them
  • Geographic Sciences using geomatics tools and technology for Community & Environmental Planning, Remote Sensing, Cartography, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Advanced Marine Geomatics using geomatics to effectively explore, manage, and monitor the marine and coastal environments
  • Advanced Geographic Sciences complementing a science degree with geomatics technologies

Graduates have made positive contributions around the world (here’s a voluntary map) and find meaningful careers across the industry spectrum.

The school (in various names; the present had considerable input from Roger Tomlinson) is dedicated to geographic programs and features the Walter K. Morrison Map Collection. We have been teaching programs pertaining to geography since the end of WWII.

For a colourful look at the last 25 years of COGS, check out this article.

A day in the life of a geographer who is just doing what she does…

A day in the life of a geographer who is just doing what she does…

Today’s schedule is much like any other for me these days – changing, case uncertain, medical and never replicated. My official title includes “Adjunct Faculty” for the Faculty of Environment, viagra University of Waterloo – that means I am on contract to teach a variety of courses, but I am not limited to that.
In the last few years I have taught everything from Fluvial Geomorphology (how rivers work and what role we play in that), to Tourism Management, to Introductory Human Geography, to Environmental Literature, to Conservation and Parks Management (which is the course I am currently teaching). I guess at this point in my career (I graduated with a PhD from UWaterloo just a couple of years ago), I am still plugging away at really creating my own niche in geographic education (hence the diverse course offerings!) – but it certainly takes a long while and I am committed to the journey.
In addition to teaching, I was also recently appointed as the Field Course Developer for the Faculty. I believe that students need the opportunity to go outside and into the field in order to truly engage with the material taught in the classroom. I work with various professors across the faculty to assess current course offerings and look for ways to integrate additional applied experiences; students don’t necessarily need to go to exotic locations in order to learn about the world – often the very best lessons are learned in our own backyards. My motivation for this whole shift in education stems from my own experiences as a student. In my third year of my undergrad, I was quite bored with my education. I chose courses that were interesting, did co-op work terms in great locations, and yet something was missing. I found the solution in a field course in the States, where I spent two months retracing the route of Lewis and Clark across Montana via paddle and foot – and got university credits for the work that I did while out there. I returned with a renewed interest in what I was doing, and most importantly, why it all connected to not only me but to the larger landscape as well. And so today? I am hoping to facilitate similar experiences for undergraduates in the Faculty of Environment. I am working on two proposals for new field courses for this summer – one in an urban national park and a second in an old growth forest in northern Ontario. I don’t know what the end products might be – whether students end up creating environmental interpretation literature, writing advocacy letters to decision-makers, or collaborating on GIS work – but what is important to me is that these students make their education matter. And that perhaps it provokes some significant conversations. In a not-so-distant past life I was a wilderness guide and my heart still sings when I am out there. By bringing my own students out there, I am hoping to inspire a whole new group of folks to see the world in a slightly new light.
Seeing the world differently is important for not only my own students, but those who will follow. Today I am also taking three of my geography undergraduate students into a local high school to talk with grade elevens and twelves about “this whole geography thing”. I am excited to sit on the sidelines, so to speak, and just let my own students explain why this is such an important and exciting field to be getting into. I know that realistically not every student I teach will become a geographer with a capital “G”, but I hope that whether students become planners, teachers, parents, economists, lawyers, or farmers, they continue to do good work connecting people to places and advocating for the causes they believe in. And that they never forget to pause and look at the beautiful world that we all live in.
And, lastly, I am packing. Tomorrow I head to Ottawa for the Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s Annual General Meeting and Fellows Dinner. This year I am being inducted as a Fellow for the Society. For me, this is a big deal. Not only is it a lifetime appointment, but it also adds a significant amount of obligation and yes, perhaps even some pressure to keep up with them all. I feel that I am part of the next generation of educators – a generation that must continue to share Canada with Canadians and also with the world. Through my days, I continue to find great moments of inspiration and opportunity. There is lots to be done in this realm and I am pleased to be playing a small role. Teaching geography is not an occupation, it is a way of being, an approach to life and livelihood that requires open eyes, the willingness to engage with others who may not see the world quite like me, and the constant and conscious decision to keep pushing forward, no matter what barrier may initially appear to be there.
And so I sign off, and head back into the world. I’ll see you out there – be it on the trail, in the city, or somewhere in between…
Be well,
~ Amanda Hooykaas, PhD, FRCGS
Email: alhooykaas@uwaterloo.ca
Website: amandahooykaas.com

 

Tradition of Week of Geography in Czechia

Czech Week of GeographySince 2006, dosage the Czech Geographic Society – Branch Northern Bohemia, troche has organized a Week of Geography. This traditional science popularization activity is coming into its ninth year. On this occasion we are pleased to join the international Day of Geography within Geography Awareness Week. This year we try to make a small step to organize a national Week of Geography with other geographical academic institutions across the whole country.

Until this year (2014), Department of Geography in Ústí nad Labem was the only host department of the Week of Geography on the date around 17th November, although various other science popularization activities were being organized throughout the year in Czechia. The Week of Geography in Ústí nad Labem has been primarily aimed at university students, and to a lesser extent at the wider audience interested in geography. It has been composed of presentations and workshops, discussions on actual topics, as well as film projections and small exhibitions and poster exhibitions. As examples we can list these activities:

a lecture from necrogeography

an Arabic language lesson

a workshop in 3D modelling of cities

a presentation on the discovery of the Amazon River sources by prof. Janský, a leader of the expedition

a discussion on cartographic production for schools with a publisher

a film discussing the destruction of settlements through open coal mining in Northern Bohemia

an exhibition of old atlases

students´ presentations from their journeys

A regular part of the week program is the Career Day in Geography, where former students are invited to talk about the usefulness of geography for their contemporary jobs. The Day of Geography (usually on Thursday) is aimed at further education of geography teachers from primary and secondary schools. Friday is connected with GIS Day.

High-tech Gadgets and Bike Rides

This morning I tested a brand new $4, cialis 000 piece of GPS equipment to see how accurate it was. I configured it at my desk with the latest software and then I jumped on my bike and took it to a nearby provincial Survey monument buried in a concrete slab at a nearby park down the road. I had found the exact coordinates for the survey monument online so I knew that if the device was working properly it should record the exact same coordinates if I put the GPS on top of the monument. Sure enough, recipe the device averaged within about 50cm of the location of the monument. Satisfied I rode my bike back to the office, vialis 40mg put together a map that I loaded onto the device, added a form for collecting data and attributes and gave device to my colleague, an environmental engineer to go use out on the project site. Though this is definitely not what my morning looks like every day, I thought that it was pretty cool to be able to play with high-tech gadgets and ride my bike as part of my job.

Ryan Sutcliffe, GIS Technician

Stantec (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)

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