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. Mapping the World
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If: A Mind-Bending New Way of 
Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
David J. Smith
A Mind-Bending New Way
Of Looking at Big
Ideas and Numbers

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This Child, Every Child: A 
Book for Children About the Rights of Children
This Child Every Child
David J. Smith
A Picture Book About
The Rights of Children
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If the World Were a Village SECOND EDITION
If the World Were a Village

David J. Smith

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If America Were a Village
If America Were a Village
David J. Smith
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Click here to see all the hotlinks from Previous Years:

2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1999 - 1998 - 1997 - 1996

Note: links (over 500) are not maintained and may not work.

Hotlinks For 2012 By Date

01 to 08 January, 2012

The OECD iLibrary
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. They do this in a number of ways, the most important of which is the collection of data so that people can come to understand what works, where, and how well. This link takes you to their new iLibrary site. The main OECD site is at

08 to 15 January, 2012

David Rumsey Map Collection
A brilliant and extensive historical map collection, with nearly 30,000 maps, divided into different collections. A very powerful search routine allows viewers to search by broad or narrow categories. Wonderful place to find the exact map you're looking for.

15 to 22 January, 2012

NGA Geonet Names Server
There is an incredible amount of data and information here. Exploring it is the only way to figure it all out and to make sense of what's available for the average user. Start with "GNS Search - Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Viewer Page" and try clicking various options. You can "search" for a name by clicking the read "search" button above the map; you can explore individual countries and regions. A great resource

22 to 29 January, 2012

US Census Bureau Pop Clocks
The US Census Bureau maintains these two Population Clocks for easy reference and consistent population estimates. There are links on this page for further information. If you search for other Pop Clocks, you'll find many, and you'll find that they often vary enormously in their estimates of US and World population. These two, from the US Census Bureau, are generally accepted as the most accurate.

29 January to 5 February, 2012

World Subway Pages
An amazingly comprehensive collection of global subway maps and information. "One of the world's largest and most varied collections" of transit-related material.

5 to 12 February, 2012

The Library of Congress
It's easy to spend hours and urs at this website, browsing all the different areas and collections. My favorites at the moment are American Memory and the amazing Maps collection, but you'll undoubtedly find others that keep you occupied for a long time.

12 to 19 February, 2012

Bringing The World Home
The full title of this great little book is Bringing the World Home: A Resource Guide to Raising Intercultural Kids. The authors are an educator and a 9-year-old girl. Lots of good ideas, in many categories, for enriching family life, and school programs.

19 to 26 February, 2012

Space Weather
An amazing source of information about or Sun, and about Space Weather in general. Want to know about the chances of seeing an Aurora tonight? Want to see pictures of sunspots, or read predictions for Geomagnetic Storms so you'll know when not to listen to shortwave radio? Among other things, this site has archives of photos, a calendar of Earth-Asteroid encounters, and a collection of essential web links. Fascinating and very informative.

26 February to 04 March, 2012

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
This is the 2012 USDA Zone Map for plant hardiness, the standard by which growers and gardeners can determine which plants are likely to thrive at any particular location. The map is available this year, for the first time, as an interactive GIS-based map. You may also just enter your zip code and explore your area's hardiness zone. Can be downloaded and printed in a variety of sizes and resolutions.

04 to 11 March, 2012

Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
A collection of videos that were created on the ground from a series of still images that were taken by crew aboard the International Space Station. The file type is .mov; some move quite fast, and some were assembled at a rate of 1 frame per second, approximating the true speed of the ISS over the Earth. Fascinating and remarkable.

11 to 18 March, 2012

Endonym Map
So many maps printed in the West use the English-language names for places -- such as Japan instead of Nihon, Germany instead of Deutschland, Norwa instead of Norge, and so on. An endonym is the name for a place in the language of the people who live there. This map attempts not only to put the correct endonym with each country, but in the language of the country. Fun and interesting.

18 to 25 March, 2012

Migrations Map
This remarkable map is an effort to allow users to study inward and outward migrations for many of the countries of the world; you can view either the ten PROVIDING countries of lifetime migrants to a country, or the RECEIVING countries of migrants from the country you're interested in. Be sure to read about the sources of data and the design of the website by clicking at the bottom where it says 'learn more'. Very interesting, and possibly very useful. The link will open the map for Canada, but you can select from 216 countries and territories.

25 March to 1 April, 2012

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD contains the largest collection of annotated Earth and Astronomical images on the internet; a new image is presented every day -- in fact, you can subscribe via RSS feed. The site is written, coordinated, and edited by two professional astronomers, who clearly love what they do, and love sharing it.

1 to 8 April, 2012

Old Maps Online
A collaboration based in the UK, but linking online map collections all around the world. Click on the map or type a place name, then narrow your search by date. Available maps meeting your criteria are listed on the right. Results are interesting and useful and fun.

8 to 15 April, 2012

History of Europe in Maps
Euratlas Periodis Web shows the history of Europe through a sequence of 21 historical maps, every map depicting the political situation at the end of each century. Instructions are given for viewing more detailed provinces and cities, and for navigation. Very interesting.

15 to 22 April, 2012

Vessel Tracker
There are a number of ship tracking websites available; this is one I happen to find fun and useful, because of it nice graphics. Put in a callsign (Try, for example, V7XE4, which is the MV Antwerpia, a freighter registered in Majuro), and see the vessel's registry information, location, and more. Put in a name, such as Coral Princess, for photos and other information. You can even search by cruise line, and link to various lines' websites. Fun to play with and get familiar with.

22 to 29 April, 2012

The Earth Platinum Atlas
The world's largest atlas. 6 feet high, 4.5 feet wide (9 feet wide when opened). It takes 2 or more people to turn the pages. Only 31 copies were printed. Price: $100,000. This link will also lead you to other images. Fun to imagine where it would go in your library.

29 April to 6 May, 2012 Games Page
An assortment of games, brain teasers, reviews, and more. Some are simple drag-and-drop games, others are crosswords, jigsaws, etc. Worth a visit.

6 to 13 May, 2012

Dining Out In The World
A fun flash game about food in other parts of the world. How many of the 11 questions can you get right?

13 to 20 May, 2012

Population by Lat and by Long
A couple of fascinating maps, and some helpful text. These maps plot population distribution on the axes of latitude and longitude. Not all that useful or precise, but very strangely beautiful.

20 to 27 May, 2012

The Scale of the Universe
The idea began with Kees Boeke, Powers of Ten. The office of Charles and Ray Eames did a video. Others have tried similar presentations of the relative sizes of things in the Universe. According to ABC, this interactive webpage was created by Cary Huang, a 14-year-old ninth grader from Moraga, Calif., with technical help from his twin brother Michael. This is by far the most detailed and complete look at the sizes of things in the Universe that I've ever seen.

27 May to 3 June, 2012

Planet Earth
A repository and archive of some wonderful imagery -- of our whole planet, and of parts of it. Much of the site is devoted to video, including a recent addition of the Earth as seen from a Geo-Stationary satellite -- the planet doesn't rotate underneath you, since you are stationary, but the shadow of night moves across the Earth rhythmically. Wonderful resource, worth exploring.

3 to 10 June, 2012

Mapping Life
This site brings together all types of information about species distribution, and provides a method for users to map biodiversity in new and interesting and often unexpected ways.

10 to 17 June, 2012

Consumer Traveler
One of my favorite Travel Information sites; I mostly use it for travel news -- they call it "What we're reading" -- but it's full of all kinds of other information. They offer to help solve travel problems, for example. Worth a visit.

17 to 24 June, 2012

Superfly's Top 100 Travel Sites
Superfly is a blog that helps frequent flyers organize their miles, and figure out how to best use them; this link will take you to the page they call "Top 100 Travel Sites". It's an impressive list, and includes a number of useful sites I hadn't known about. Another site worth a visit if you are a regular -- or even occasional -- traveler.

24 June to 1 July, 2012

Teaching With Maps
The State University of New York's University at Buffalo has put together this handy link page -- map sources, map resources, and sites with all kinds of geographical data can be found linked here. Each link has a good annotation, so you can use your browser's "find" command to locate specific terms. Very useful.

1 to 8 July, 2012

Geospatial Model of the Roman World
An amazing map, from Stanford University. Click on the map on this page, and play. Here's the premise: Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity. Taking account of seasonal variation and accommodating a wide range of modes and means of transport, ORBIS reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of premodern history.

8 to 15 July, 2012

Outline Maps
From the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at University of Texas at Austin, this really useful page linking to outline map sites all over the internet. At the top, 21 links to sites that archive outline maps; then an alphabetical list of places -- continents, countries, states, the world. Very easy to navigate, and very handy for teachers and homeschoolers.

15 to 22 July, 2012

The True Size of Africa
The creator of this map, Kal Krause, calls it "A small contribution to the fight against rampant immappancy". Immappancy, he says, means "insufficient geographical knowledge". This map shows several countries, all on the same scale, superimposed on Africa, to help us understand that Africa is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe, combined.

22 to 29 July, 2012

Great Circle Mapper
Want to know the distance between two cities? Or want to map the route your airplane will be taking between two or more points on the Earth's surface? This is a good place to begin. Under paths put two or more cities, separated by hyphens; then click "display map", and you'll get what you need. You'll need airport codes for your search; you can use their search box, or use the one at, under the Aviation link in the navigation bar.

29 July to 5 August, 2012

United Shapes of America
When kids learn world geography, they invariably are taught that Italy looks like a boot. But what do other things look like? Here is a very clever map of the US, where each state is superimposed with some kind of object that fits the shape nicely, this giving a kind of mnemonic device as you learn where the states are and what they look like. I think some of them are amazing -- Oregon as a steam locomotive, Washington as a whale, Montana as half a cupcake, and Missouri as Georgia -- but all of them suggest interesting and useful ways for teachers to help students learn the states and their shapes.

5 to 12 August, 2012

Volcano and Aurora in Iceland
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, APOD, continues to amaze and fascinate. This image, the picture of the day for July 8, shows the volcano Hekla erupting in Iceland beneath a green aurora. Amazing.

12 to 19 August, 2012

NPR Drought Map
NPR has posted this interactive map of the US Drought. Slide the bar from right to left and back, and watch the drought spread across the US during the last 7 months. Important and interesting.

19 to 26 August, 2012

Weird Food McDonald's Sells Around the World
If you think McDonald's sells the same burgers and fries everywhere in the world, think again -- in Asia they've had to make some concessions to local tastes and come up with some peculiar fast-food variations on Asian favorites. Even in Honolulu and in Moscow; and don't miss the McAloo Tikki Burger in India, or the McPollo Burger in Chile. This site also shares McDonald imitators, and sculptures made from McDonald's products.

26 August to 2 September, 2012

The Phantom Island Of Brazil
Brazil as a place on maps existed long before Europeans traveled to the Americas, but up to the early 1600's, it was one of many phantom islands, a result of legend, bad science, and lies. This page, at the Strange Maps blog, explores this phenomenon.

2 to 9 September, 2012

Visual Complexity
Visual Complexity is a resource for people interested in the simple portrayal of complex networks of all kinds. This link will bring you to their "transportation networks" page, showing maps of transit and transport networks all over the world, but be sure to explore the site, and be sire to read the "about" page.

9 to 16 September, 2012

Geospatial Revolution
Public Broadcasting at Penn State is responsible for the episode presented on this site -- about how new tools and techniques are changing the way we deal with the world. Featured are using new geospatial tools to monitor climate change, prevent hunger, and track disease. Plan to spend some time here; very powerful.

16 to 23 September, 2012

BBC: About Time
A set of interactive BBC web pages exploring time and time zones, with a movable globe, all kinds of links, and experiences shared by readers. Fun and interesting.

23 to 30 September, 2012

Where Children Sleep
From MSN, an amazing photo essay of children's rooms, all over the world. Like "Material World", and "A Cool Drink of Water", this collection of photos looks at the incredible variety, from empty benches and discarded sofas to tiny cell-like spaces or large, comfortable private rooms. A compelling way to examine very complex social issues.

30 September to 7 October, 2012

Breathing Earth
A fascinating visualization of numerous events going on globally at any given moment. You can watch emissions of CO2, you can watch birth and death rates, and you can track world population. Mouse over any country for specific information for that country; scroll down to read about the simulation.

7 to 14 October, 2012

Building the World's Best Map
A look inside Google Maps, and the internal map that contains the deep logic of places, the data that Google draws on when you ask it to navigate between two points. Fascinating.

14 to 21 October, 2012

A new book about a remarkable woman -- Marie Tharp, who accomplished what has been called one of the great achievements of the 20th century, mapping the ocean floor. Among other things, her maps laid the groundwork for the theory of continental drift!

21 to 28 October, 2012

Hurricanes since 1851
An amazing, really eye-popping concatenation of all known tropical storms since 1851, using the NOAA archive displayed on a South-Polar projection. The creator of the map explains several interesting things about the map -- particularly, that hurricanes never, ever cross the Equator; on the map, the Equator is an empty circle between the hemispheres. Fascinating.

28 October to 4 November, 2012

U.S. Tornado Tracks
Like last week's hotlink, here's another map by John Nelson at idv solutions, this time showing 56 years of tornado tracks across the US; besides the version you first see, there are others -- interactive, by F-Scale, by season, and animated by month and by year. Lots and lots of information here, including an updated map at the bottom of the page.

4 to 11 November, 2012

Sea Level Change
A new study of 18 years of satellite observations has provided re-affirmation that ocean waters are rising globally by 3 mm per year, but there are some very big regional differences. The Philippine Sea has seen increases over 10 mm per year.

11 to 18 November, 2012

If the Earth Stopped Spinning
What would happen? Witold Fraczek, at ESRI, has used ArcGIS to model and analyze this hypothetical event; the maps and ideas are amazing. A day would last half a year; climate would change, and only gravity would control the oceans, so a huge amount of the Earth's water would end up where gravity is the strongest. And so on. Definitely worth a visit.

18 to 25 November, 2012

The Stamp That Almost Caused a War
Wars are sometimes caused by amazingly trivial events. In this case, Nicaragua and Honduras almost came to blows over a stamp with a map on it. Worth a read.

25 November to 2 December, 2012

Edible Geography
Geography AND food, geography OF food, and the impact of one on the other. Recent posts include the insights that Hurricane Sandy offered into New York's food supply chain, the best routes for optimizing trick-or-treating, and the impending rescue of the Endangered Cake Museum. Fascinating.

2 to 9 December, 2012

World Geo Blog
A fascinating blog, covering news about the world and the world's people, including personal stories from the blogger, news from the UN, and much more. Great reading.

9 to 16 December, 2012

One Minute Water Calculator
This site has a variety of "zero footprint" calculators -- the link here will take you to a water calculator, that will compare your water use to that of the average person in your country. Also full of facts and ideas; for example, I'm informed that the average Canadian's water usage is 125,000 litres of water per person per year, while the average person in Europe uses 73,000 litres. There are other calculators at this site, including a Carbon calculator that offers the option of offsetting your carbon usage.

16 to 23 December, 2012

PRB Data Finder
The Population Reference Bureau, based in Washington, DC, maintains data about the US and about international regions and countries. This page allows you to easily browse data about a place you're interested in simply by typing a few letters of the location, an indicator, or a topic. The PRB website has a huge amount of information that's easily located and downloadable.

23 to 30 December, 2012

Population Density
An amazing use of this kind of technology -- slide the numeric bar at the top, and see the "islands of humanity" where population densities approach or exceed 500 people per square km. Some of it is quite intuitive, but there are a few surprises here.

30 December, 2012, to 6 January, 2013

Map of Great Lakes Stress
From the UPI on Dec 17, a University of Michigan map showing human impact on this critically important ecosystem that contains 20 percent of the world's fresh water. Includes coastal development, pollutants, fishing pressure, climate change, invasive species, and toxics, among the 34 stressors that were examined. ***

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