Navigate Your Way To Geography Club!


Ryan Peele, Reporter

Can you find Uzbekistan on a map as easily as you can tie your shoes? Or are you a globe novice, who doesn’t even know the difference between Austria and Australia? Either way, if you have any interest in geography and the world, you should join Briar Woods’ brand new Geography Club! Whether you want to put your geographic knowledge to the test or simply learn more about Earth’s hundreds of nations in our increasingly globalized and interconnected world, geography club is a great place to carry on a tradition that has been going on for millenia.


From crude, ancient slabs showing tribal ownership in river valleys to interactive maps of Mars, geography has come a long way. One of the first true world maps was created by the Greek philosopher Anaximander in the 6th Century BC. While he may have been partially motivated to create the map to improve trade routes in the Mediterranean, Anaximander also mapped out the world just for the sake of mapping it out, demonstrating how human nature makes us have the innate desire to take all the information we can and display it. However, unfortunately, not only was the Greek philosopher remarkably inaccurate in shape and scale with the areas he did draw, he failed to map the vast majority of the world. Anaximander only drew Southern Europe, part of Arabia, and Egypt, believing that those three lands were the only ones on the planet and were surrounded by a massive ocean that spanned over the rest of the Earth. 


Still, over time, cartography improved, and as the Age of Exploration came upon the world, and as explorers and colonizers came into contact with isolated societies for the first time, cartographers weren’t far behind eager to document the shapes of the lands and to mark who controlled them, once again submitting to the human instinct of trying to catalog all the available information in the world around us. Eventually, by 1832, after the Pacific coasts and Australia were completely explored, German cartographer Adolf Stieler published an effectively completely accurate world map, one that was radically different from anything Anaximander could’ve ever dreamed.


But don’t be discouraged by the finality of Steiler’s map. Geography is not static, but is instead a dynamic, ever-changing field, where anything as mundane as a city switching names to major, dramatic conflicts like the War in Ukraine can cause new updates to the world map.  

Now you can participate and honor this ancient tradition of mapping in Geography Club, where its President Colin Shur says that “[the club] will explore our planet and the effect of geography on our society while playing games and other fun activities. Eventually we plan on organizing a school-wide Geography Bee.” The club will meet once a month at 8:30am, in room 200. Follow them on Instagram at @briarwoodsgeographyclub for more updates!