Exploring Mexico through Dynamic Web Maps

One of the people I regard most highly here at Esri has created an online atlas of Mexico.  He started it off as an Esri storymap, but as he continued to add content, it soon become a “story atlas.”  As an educator I was immediately struck by how useful the atlas could be as a tool to teach and learn about Mexico.  I am continually amazed and also hear from educators at how little American students really know about their neighbor to the south.  The maps can be accessed in many different ways, such as an ArcGIS Online presentation with a description here, as an iPad iBook, but I think most importantly, as a series of story maps.  Each of these separate story maps contains 1 to 6 thematically related maps on the following topics:

You can use this resource of over 30 thematic maps to teach and learn about population, landforms, climate, historical landmarks, caves, indigenous cultures, tourist attractions, and more.  Many features such as volcanoes and landmark buildings are accompanied by popups with photographs and descriptions.  Best of all, since the maps reside in the ArcGIS Online, they are dynamic maps:  Unlike static digital maps in PDF or JPG format, these maps can be explored at different scales and interacted with.

The atlas includes a unique set of cartograms showing the states of Mexico mapped on a number of different variables.  Another nice feature of the atlas is that it includes data about the individual states of Mexico.   How many students know that Mexico is comprised of 31 states and 1 federal district?  The individual states can be investigated with this atlas.  Finally, like all good maps and atlases, this atlas may challenge students’ preconceived notions.  For example, the murder rate by state map shows that even though Mexico is not crime free, there are states with murder rates comparable to the safest European countries.  And the famous volcanoes of Mexico are concentrated along a fairly narrow band of latitude.  Enjoy this resource and I look forward to hearing from you how you use it in the classroom!  Saludos cordiales!

Mexico story map with precipitation theme.

Mexico story map with precipitation theme.

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
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