A professional geographer?
Yeah, they exist — and it’s a booming area. Teachers miss these boats big time, I think, by not getting these professionals into the classroom to show what they do.
Think about it: Geography is a major concern for cellular telephone towers, which are still being constructed by the thousands across the nation. One of the best parts about work at PrimeCo PCS (which became part of Verizon Wireless) was the great sets of maps to work from. Visual data are much more powerful than print on a page; a great secret of PrimeCo’s success was massive use of maps, for the engineers to plan coverage, but also for site acquisition, sales, marketing, and everything else in between.
Consider the use of chips to track shipping palettes; consider the rise in GPS use. Geography is a key player in all transportation and development industries.
So, do your kids know that? Do they know they will be required to be geographically literate — and it can increase their income — when they get a job delivering pizza?
I digress. Here’s a guy, Scott McEachron, with a blog almost-offensively titled 3D – Paving the Way, which he aims to be a resource for users of Autocad 3D. (Oh, so we’re paving the way to using technology, and not laying down concrete and asphalt? Like I said, almost offensive).
His blog has a side bar that shows tremendous, free resources for professional geographers. Can teachers get some use out of these things? Go see: Check the widget titled “Freely Distributed GIS Data.” (Most of the data are free, mostly.)
These are pro resources. They don’t come neatly packaged with suggested lesson plans. You’re going to have to noodle around to see what’s usable in your class, and what is not.
(Dallas teachers? He’s a Dallas guy. Do I sense a guest speaker?)