The Start of the Journey

I’ve thought about my own blog for a long while, and while I’ve contributed to several blogs I’ve never managed to find the time or the purpose for doing my own. I’ve found that my travels, photos, and love of maps, along with the stories behind them, are intertwined and I like to write about them. And so I’ve decided to drive into the virtual ground this small stake in the blogosphere, if for no other reason than to provide some personal entertainment. That said, here’s hoping you find something of interest, and (dare I say?) something entertaining  for yourself here as well.

My personal geographic journey began in Pennsylvania, near where George Washington took his most famous geographic journey across the Delaware River. My geographic journey took me from the right coast to the left and eventually to California where I found both interesting geography and an interesting career in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Environmental Systems Research Institute, later to become ESRI, and now Esri. The latter has kept me here longer than I had anticipated, and despite my geographic lust for other areas I’ve remained more or less put, at least for the time being.

Since moving here I’ve discovered a fascination with the geography that I found along the coast, in the Mojave desert, and among the high peaks and wilderness of the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the Great American West. A landscape that is far different than the rolling hills, small towns, and farmlands of semi-rural Pennsylvania that I once called home.

A good friend once told me that there was a lot to enjoy in California, including having a ringside seat to plate tectonics in action. I thought of what he told me the first time I rode through a large earthquake, sitting on the floor in a turn of the century apartment doorway, back to one wall and feet to the other, the house creaking and groaning and jiggling as if atop a large bowl of Jello. That was a potent reminder that geography never sleeps.

He also told me that, like a transplant, I would either “take” or I wouldn’t, and depending on whether I “took” I’d either never return to live in Pennyslvania or would be back within a couple of years. Well, many years later now I guess I’ve taken.

But I still find the next great geographic journey is just over the hill, or across the river, captured in that  photo, or on the next map. And I guess that’s what this blog is about.

George Washington on his geographic journey

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One thought on “The Start of the Journey

  1. Bern, Good launch.

    Yes, geogrpahy is a journey…of a lifetime. Never dull, never boring. The important part to me is always recognizing the thing we all had as kids–curiosity. We need to never lose it, and if anything we need to find ways to keep the geocuriosity engine primed and running full steam.

    An exciting aspect to me is the opportunity to live at a time when a burgeoning array of geotools–Web mapping, geobrowsers, GIS, and specialty interfaces– abound.

    Another important aspect to me is the collision of key education associations and education policy entities around the absolute need for youth of today and tomorrow to have geographic and geospatial skills and thinking processes on board, http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/documents/21stcskillsmap_geog.pdf.

    Yep, we need to help advance, unleash, and nurture geocuriosity among young and old…and with it comes actions of personl, local, and global consequence.

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