There are plenty of stories written in the American media about how little Americans know about the world and how few can identify various countries on a world map. Certainly such knowledge is important to have and as of late, quite a bit has been going on in the North Africa – Middle East – Central Asia area. So it was with interest that I received an email forwarded by my father that linked to a map quiz from the RethinkingSchools.org website. The results were interesting.
First off, the quiz (which is located here) is an easy drag-and-drop style quiz where you simply drag the name of the country to the corresponding space on the map. If you are correct, the name sticks and the country color fills in. If you are incorrect, a red “X” appears. There is no timer and no score is given so there is no external pressure.
“Interesting,” I thought, resolving to try the quiz. I consider myself a bit more knowledgable about the world than the average American, although the primary arc of the Muslim world is not the corner of the globe with which I am most familiar.
I started dragging names to places, beginning with the ones with which I was most familiar and then filling in around them based on the spacial relationships I know exist. Of the 35 countries I was able to fill in 24 before I began to second guess myself.
I’ll add a few blank lines and you can scroll down if you want to see which ones I knew. Warning: If you plan on taking the test yourself, you should do so before you scroll down. No cheating!
This was how far I made it. The next two countries I guessed – Chad and Niger – I got correct. But after that it was a bit of hunting and pecking.
The complete results are here. A good exercise to reinforce that we rarely know as much about the world as we think we do and can always benefit from some more learning.
When I was thinking about features for a new phone, GPS was one that strongly piqued my interest. This is because when I explore the world, I like to be able to share recommendations of sights, places to stay, places to eat, etc. with others Combining GPS and a camera would make it easy to create such recommendations, with pictures and geo-tagging all in one.
However, I didn’t get such a camera.
But my interest in sharing recommendations continues. Recently, a friend told me he was heading to Tokyo and was going to browse my entries for suggestions of where to go and where to eat. Great idea, I thought. Unfortunately, not every entry actually provided specific locations for things.
So I logged into Google Maps and created a Tokyo Map that has all my recommendations plotted out, complete with links and pictures. I’m not the first to think of this by any means. My friend Daniel created such a map of Montreal for another friend who was visiting there in December. I’ve also found a map like this for Krungthep, with lots of restaurants I want to explore.
Since these things take a fair bit of work, it is a shame that they don’t see more use. Because of that, I’ve added a new feature to my blog: travel guides. It will take a while to pull them together, but when I’ve traveled somewhere (or a friend shares a map and recommendations with me), I’ll post the information here in the hopes that you or a friend of yours will find it useful. This new feature is on the left-hand column on my blog.
I hope these are helpful and I encourage you to add your recommendations, too. I’m not going to recreate TripAdvisor by any means, nor would I want to since the recommendations there aren’t always very discerning.