How to address Narragansett Bay’s pollution crisis


“We had one of the wettest Junes in history…In areas surrounding the Bay, we have innumerable streets, driveways and parking lots. During all weather, these surfaces collect pet waste, fluids dripping from our cars and chemicals running off our lawns. During a rainstorm, this all runs directly into the water at your local beach.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

I, like most Rhode Islanders, enjoy going to the beach during the summertime.  This cultural activity is intimitely connected with Rhode Island’s physical geography and it’s coastlines; however as urban areas have expanded it has complicated the environmental factors that lead to clean beaches that local residents and tourists are hoping to find.  The Rhode Island Department of Health has created this online map to help residents know if their local beaches are currently safe for swimming and other aquatic activities. 


Earlier this summer, seven local beaches were closed due to high levels of pollution.  In the first half of the summer of 2013, Rhode Island had at least 86 beach closure days.  Geography is interdisciplinary; to understand (and fix) this problem, we will need to grapple with issues of urban planning and environmental management while reassessing our cultural and economic priorities.  This is just one more reason to Save the Bay.       

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Finding the True Border Between Yankee and Red Sox Nation Using Facebook Data

“By using Facebook data from the 2.5 million people in New York or New England that ‘like’ either the Red Sox or Yankees I was able to create a more accurate rivalry map than ever before.”


Sports maps with team logos on them are often hand-drawn works of art without much data to back them up–not so with this map.  Reading this article, it became clear that using data to draw a border is much more difficult and subjective a task than one might assume.  The actual data is much messier than these bold color proclaim.  These regions aren’t homogenous (are they ever?) but this is the best fit line between the major groups of fans,   The Vermont-New York State border is fairly crisp of a dividing line. 

The border that winds through Connecticut is much more complex, showing that Connecticut is the true ‘battle ground’ for this regional rivalry.

As the cartographer Ben Blatt states, “Drawing a border through Connecticut using the map above and the data was not easy. I decided that a border should be contiguous. This made it impossible to group all the Sox-leaning towns on one side and all Yankee-leaning towns in the other. The border I came up with is below. There are several other borders that could have been drawn that would have been similarly accurate. My border tried to maximize the number of towns with more than 50% Sox fans on the Red Sox side and the number of towns with more than 50% Yankee fans on the Yankee side.”

This is quite different for this map which is explained in this New York Times article.

Tags: sport, statistics, mapping, regions, Rhode Island, Boston, NYC.

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New England Geographic Education Network

NEGEN advocates and supports shared expertise in content knowledge and organizational resources in order to achieve a broader regional impact in geography education.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

The Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance (RIGEA) is one of the six member allinaces that is a part of NEGEN.  This purpose of NEGEN is to foster collaboration among the local alliance and alliance members.  Have you ‘liked’ the NEGEN Facebook page?  The RIGEA Facebook page is another page to ‘like’ for continued updates on local geography education.   

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Statewide Guide to RI’s 4th of July Events

“Is there any better place to be on the 4th of July than Rhode Island–the first colony to declare independence from the crown? Indeed, it seems that RI has more Independence Day celebrations per capita than any other state in the union. Use GoLocal’s statewide guide, below to check what’s happening in each city and town, from parades and ceremonies to fireworks and concerts.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Rhode Island is home to fantastic 4th of July events because historical geography and heritage are deeply rooted in the Ocean State. 

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Stamen Maps

Stamen’s toner, terrain and watercolor map styles are lovingly crafted and free for the taking.

With all the feel of an old, hand-drawn maps, this watercolor map layer is designed to wash out rough edges and makes a map with current road layers still feel like a vintage map.  Compare and contrast with the toner and terrain layouts.

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