Interpreting Our World

100 Discoveries That Revolutionized Geography

by Joseph J. Kerski


Do you use GPS-enabled navigation? Enjoy fresh-brewed coffee? Check daily weather predictions? Geography makes all of this possible.

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Cover image for Interpreting Our World

October 2016


Pages 386
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/General
  World History/Science and Technology

This important book demonstrates why geography matters in the modern-day world through its examination of 100 moments throughout history that had a significant impact on the study of geography—literally, "writing about the earth."

Geography is not simply accounts of the lands of earth and their features; it's about discovering everything there is to know about our planet. This book shows why geography is of critical importance to our world's 21st-century inhabitants through an exploration of the past and present discoveries that have been made about the earth. It pinpoints 100 moments throughout history that had a significant impact on the study of geography and the understanding of our world, including widely accepted maps of the ancient world, writings and discoveries of key thinkers and philosophers, key exploration events and findings during the Age of Discovery, the foundations of important geographic organizations, and new inventions in digital mapping today.

The book begins with a clear explanation of geography as a discipline, a framework, and a way of viewing the world, followed by coverage of each of the 100 discoveries and innovations that provides sufficient background and content for readers to understand each topic. The book concludes with a concise synopsis of why it all matters and a look forward to 10 possible future discoveries in the next 50 years of geography. Students will gain a clear sense of what is truly revolutionary about geography, perhaps challenging their preconceived notion of what geography actually is, and grasp how important discoveries revolutionized not only the past but the present day as well.


  • Provides readers with an understanding of why geography matters to our 21st-century world and an awareness of how geography affects our everyday lives and is key to wise decision making
  • Addresses and explains key themes of geography, including scale, physical processes, cultural processes, patterns, relationships, models, and trends
  • Integrates time, space, and place in geography, documenting how it is not only the study of spatial patterns, but also the fact that many discoveries in geography came about because of the particular time and place in which the discoverers lived
Author Info

Joseph J. Kerski, PhD, is a geographer who teaches online and face-to-face courses at primary and secondary schools, through massive open online courses (MOOCs) as well as via universities such as Sinte Gleska University, Elmhurst College, and the University of Denver. Since 2006, he has served as education manager for Esri internationally, with emphasis on thought leadership in geospatial technologies in formal and informal education at all levels. Kerski believes that spatial analysis with geotechnologies can transform education and society through better decision making using the geographic perspective. He holds three degrees in geography, is active in creating and teaching online courses in geography and geotechnologies, and served for 22 years as geographer and cartographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Geological Survey. His focus is on GIS-based curriculum development; research in the effectiveness of GIS in education; professional development for educators; communication about the need for geographic skills, tools, and perspectives; and fostering partnerships to support GIS in education.



"This is an excellent reference for middle school and high school students, and for general readers interested in geography."Booklist

"The volume is recommended for collections supporting geography, GIS, and cartographic research. Librarians will need to decide whether to place this in the reference area or the circulating collection due to the readability of the material. Some patrons may want to read the volume as a good, general introduction to many lines of inquiry within geography rather than use the volume in a quick consultancy manner in ready reference."ARBA

"Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate students; general readers; professionals/practitioners."Choice

"This book potentially fits as a piece of a broader introduction to geography course in the general sense, as it provides interesting descriptions and preludes into more detailed discussions. . . . An upper-level or graduate course might use this
work as well, to begin discussions or deeper implications of these revolutions or revolutionaries. . . . Kerski has accomplished in this work an easy-to-use, accessible reference that captures developments in geography quite handily. In each entry, the passion and drive of geographers to better understand our world shines through."Journal of Geography

In the News

The History of the World, Trajectory Magazine , 4/3/2017

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