Massachusetts Has the Worst Drivers in the Country

“Coming in dead last on the 200 cities measured: Boston, for the second year in a row. Boston has company. Worcester came in at No. 199, second up from Boston’s position in the 200th slot. Boston and Worcester have basically been battling it out for last place in Allstate’s rankings since 2014. Springfield makes a poor showing, too, at No. 196.”


Don’t get too excited by the news Rhode Islanders…Providence was the 194th ranked city and the state is typically the 49th ranked state.  Given some on my experiences in the Ocean State, 49th might be a generous ranking.   

2016 ConnectED Workshops

Due to popular demand and support from ESRI, the RI Geography Education Alliance will have another series of workshops to help educators learn how to bring online mapping skills into the classroom.  In 2015, Lyn Malone and Seth Dixon ran this as a week-long summer institute.  Not everyone has a week in summer, so some have asked to have this presented on the weekends.  These sessions will be condensed to two separate 2-day workshops this fall.  Session 1 will be held on October 22 and 29.  Session 2 will be held on November 12 and 19.  Participants that complete either of the two 2-day workshops will receive a $100 stipend as well educational materials that will help bring GIS into the classroom.  Lunch and some light breakfast refreshments will be provided.  If you want to receive more information about these workshops or register, click the following link to fill out your application and reserve your spot:


WHERE: 101 Alger (ALG) Hall, Rhode Island College
WHEN: 8:00am-3:00pm


Introduction to Aerial and Satellite Images of Rhode Island

Free Educational Seminar and RIGIS User Group Meeting


There is a wealth of aerial and satellite images of Rhode Island that are freely available online.  Tapping into them can be challenging if you’re unsure where to look and if you’re not familiar with some basic tools and techniques to view them.


This half-day seminar will introduce you to a number of online sources of image data for Rhode Island, with a special emphasis on data available from the Rhode Island Geographic Information System (RIGIS) consortium, USGS, and NOAA.  We will also highlight a suite of new image services featuring RIGIS data that are now under development by Rhode IslandView.


YOU will guide the techniques highlighted in this seminar.  Vote for the technique you are most interested in learning about by registering for this event now:


WHEN: Friday August 19, 2016, 9:00am – 12:00pm (8:30am onsite registration opens)


WHERE: Coastal Institute

University of Rhode Island, Kingston Campus

1 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, RI


QUESTIONS?  Contact Greg Bonynge at


IMPORTANT: All attendees will need a URI visitor parking permit which will be provided ahead of time to all who register using the above URL.


Why I make cartograms with second graders

There are few sights more heartening than that of an elementary school whose classrooms and hallways are decorated with world maps. Yet teachers should be careful to make sure that the standard depiction of the world map is not the only map their students encounter. Otherwise, they run the risk that children will assume “this is the way the world looks,” rather than the more complicated reality that “this is one of many ways of representing our world.” One useful antidote to this way of thinking is for students to explore cartograms, which are maps that use the relative area of places to present statistical data.


Little Compton

#StraightOuttaLittleCompton! Little Compton, RI is the most rural township/municipality in #rhodeisland. On the very far southeastern side of #narragansettbay, its a forgotten corner of the Ocean State. It’s a classic New England village that still has a thriving general store as the center of commercial life in the village. I highly recommend biking to explore this delightfully quaint community of yesteryear (although it’s charm will transform it–construction/development projects can be seen quite frequently). #cycling #oceanstate #bikeri #newengland #landscape #LittleCompton


Roger Williams Park Nature Watch

Saturday, July 9, 2016
8:30am – 5:30pm
Don’t worry, you don’t need to Nature Watch for the entire  duration (or have any special wildlife skills) – this isn’t an  endurance challenge, just some wildlife fun!

Do you love to explore and examine the natural world? Want to  be a citizen scientist? Join the Museum of Natural History on  Saturday, July 9, for our first annual Roger Williams Park Nature Watch, a fun ecological monitoring initiative aimed to gather information about Roger Williams Park and its inhabitants. Designed to develop scientific observation and data collection skills, Nature Watch is suitable for all levels and interests. Help contribute to the pursuit of knowledge and sign up today! Special orientation on Saturday, June 25, 11am-12pm. There is no fee to participate in the RWP Nature Watch or orientation.

More information coming soon! Contact the museum, 401.680.7221, to learn more about this special event!


This Gigantic Marble Map of New England Needs a New Home

If you’re interested, you’ll need a really big wall.


Just inside the grand, arched entryway to The Boston Globe’s headquarters, there is a map like no other. It’s a two-story-tall, three-dimensional relief map of New England carved out of huge slabs of white marble. And it’s gorgeous. 

The map was commissioned for a 1953 addition to the Boston Fed’s headquarters on Pearl Street. The Boston Fed building was razed in 1978 after the bank moved. This is when the map came to The Globe’s headquarters, where it has greeted journalists on their way to the newsroom for the last 38 years.


The Invention of Nature

“Andrea Wulf’s new book The Invention of Nature reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin. Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature.  In The Invention of Nature Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.”


Alexander von Humboldt’s biographer Andrea Wulf is coming to Rhode Island on May 9th to speak about the greatest scientist that people don’t know about.  Alexander von Humboldt has been described as the last great ancient geographer concerned with understanding an eclectic cosmography as well as the first modern geographer. He is honored far and wide throughout Europe and especially  Latin America for his explorations, but given that people are confused as how to categorize him and classify his contributions, today he is under-appreciated.  Geographers need to reclaim his memory and call his extensive, globetrotting work on a wide range of subjects ‘geography.’  Here are more articles and videos on the man that I feel geographers should publicly champion as their intellectual ancestor the way that biologists point to Darwin.  


Tags:  historicalbiogeography, book reviews.