Discussion: Geographical Mental Mapping

Thinking like a Geographer means that you are aware of your environment. Geographers often participate in an exercise called "mental mapping" which helps a person describe their surroundings. What is your mental map of your neighborhood and the immediate area you refer to as home? Please describe it with enough detail that we can form our own mental images of it.

I just moved to a new apartment, so my mental map of my neighborhood is still sketchy. To the south are the main two roads through downtown (logging trucks use this road). Each of these roads are one-way, so the businesses in between form a sort of super strip of commerce that the rest of my neighborhood sits next to. To the north a couple blocks is the train yard, the river and an almost mountain which forms a very real barrier to the rest of the town. There is only one bridge (to the east) to get around this natural barrier. If you go west, you get to the edge of town and then to the fairgrounds, and no way to get back to the north side of the river.

In the business section of my neighborhood, we have a number of thrift stores, a strip club, a few bars and a sushi joint (that serves arm sized sushi rolls). between the strip of houses and apartments that I live in and the train tracks is a number of warehouses, auction yards and the dairy distribution center.

I usually think of my neighborhood as a group of layers starting from the river and covering the town until they hit the hills on the other side of downtown. The streets are set up to facilitate this idea, as well as the economic and social layers (I live on the poor side of downtown, and there are nice houses on the other side).

I want you to find a current event and explain how the topic of your current event relates to geography.

Airships touted as supply vessels for remote northern communities.

Because of the warming climate, it has become difficult to build the ice roads that are used to deliver supplies to isolated northern Canadian communities. This article discusses an interesting alternative: airships. These ships would carry about 20 tons of supplies and would be more economical than using planes or helicopters. They will be testing models this coming spring, and hopefully have a solution before next winter hits. This news article has to do with geography in a couple different ways. One is the spacial interaction between these remote areas and the more developed areas of Canada. Another is the question of global warming. And still another is the diffusion of ideas and airship solutions described in the article (the conference in Seattle, for example).

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