Interpreting Our World: Viewing the Importance of Geography Through the Lens of 100 Historical Events

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The book Interpreting Our World is a new geography text analyzing 100 events in history that dramatically altered how people thought about the world around them. Humanity’s geographical knowledge has constantly evolved; from learning about our immediate surroundings to being able to map the known parts of our universe, our geographical understanding has grown exponentially. There is still much to be discovered about the world around us, though.

Interpreting Our World was written by Joseph J. Kerski, PhD. Kerski is a geographer who has taught at Elmhurst College, the University of Denver, Sinte Gleske University as well as via massive open online courses (MOOCs). Kerski now works with geospatial technologies to improve the teaching of geography at Esri. Kerski has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The foundations of geography have been built over thousands of years, and certain events have pushed the study of the world around us forward. Interpreting Our World gathered iconic geography moments throughout history that include the creation of important maps, the writings of explorers and philosophers, the discoveries of explorers, and modern day technological advances like GIS and satellite imagery.

The sextant is just one example of technology that helped to revolutionize exploration and navigation. Photo used with permission, J. Kerski.

The sextant is just one example of technology that helped to revolutionize exploration and navigation. Photo used with permission, J. Kerski.

In the book, Kerski gives an overview of the study of geography and the framework by which geographers conduct research. Geography is one way to view the world and can provide a variety of perspectives on the world around us at certain times and in specific places. Maps show the discovery of different land masses and fill in the blanks of the physical world, but what is included (or not included) in a map can bring about valuable insight into the culture that created that map.

The book covers innovations in geography including present day applications like GIS and digital mapping techniques. Kerski ties in the present day importance of geography and how the field has grown and changed over the years. The book is valuable to anyone seeking more information about the evolution of geography as well as resources for making geography a more accessible area of study for students of all ages.

The citing of freeways such as this one in Florid with minimal environmental impact, is one of the many benefits derived from applied geography. Photo used with permission, J. Kerski.

The siting of freeways such as this one in Florida with minimal environmental impact, is one of the many benefits derived from applied geography. Photo used with permission, J. Kerski.

The book provides readers with historical and modern day discoveries in geography, key themes of the field, cultural and physical processes, relationships between geography and other factors, common geographical trends and models, and much more. The book blends history with modern day approaches to understanding the importance of the study of geography for people of all ages.

The book:

Interpreting Our World: 100 Discoveries That Revolutionized Geography

by Joseph Kerski, October, 2016

Illustrated, 386 pages, ABC-CLIO

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