Monday News and Links


  • The above picture is courtesy of Earth Science Picture of the Day and it documents the phenomenal “ice balls” that accumulate on Lake Michigan’s shores when weather and water conditions are just right.  Be sure to read their description in the link, it’s fascinating.
  • Here’s another spectacular Lake Michigan photo from the same site.
  • If you want to learn more about soil then you ever thought there was to know, check out this Michigan State University site detailing the soils of the Great Lakes region.  Who would have thought the taxonomy of soil would be so strangely named… Incepticols, Udalfs, Psamments, Glossaqualfs??  (Sounds like warring tribes in a Dune novel.)
  • Last week Slate highlighted this curious map of Whole Foods and Wal-Mart locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, illustrating what one would assume is the stark economic disparity between the San Francisco Peninsula and the East Bay.
  • LBx Journal (“location in the language of business”) has a special section in their Winter 2013 issue devoted to women in the location industry.  Of the 18 women profiled, two are our very own: Celeste Fraser and Jillian Elder.  Nice work!

We won an award…

…for “Top Content” from, an online project dedicated to supporting and improving factual content on the web.  According to their congratulatory email, The Backyard Geographer is being awarded for its:

  • Accurate and precise informational content
  • Interesting and inviting layout and writing style
  • Reliable source for trustworthy content
  • Unique and entertaining information

Thank you,!

Calling all young cartographers!


For previous winners and finalists, please visit the contest’s website.

For rules and guidelines, see below…

Read more

Where Did Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From?

(I’ll give you a hint… it probably didn’t come from a weird cauldron that can spell.)

Check out this wonderful interactive map created by ESRI illustrating the origin of some of our favorite thanksgiving foods.

You can read more about the foods, and the map, at the Smithsonian’s Food and Think blog.