The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Maps showing every country, state, and county I have ever been in

Every few years, I have posted maps of every country, U.S. state, and U.S. county I have ever been in. It is time for an update.

Since I last posted, in August 2009, I have added one country (South Korea), zero states, and thirty-one counties (in Kansas, Nebraska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Arizona). I do not have any airport-only countries or states, but I do have one airport-only county (Queens, New York), and one port-only county (Norfolk, Virginia).

World map — 11 countries:

U.S. map (states) — 46 states:

U.S. map (counties) — 931 out of 3109 counties (excluding Alaska and Hawaii):

Created with ArcGIS 10.1

Created with ArcGIS 10.1 — Click for larger image

I believe that this is pretty accurate, especially after about age ten. I can remember, for example, the route my family took for family vacation from Montana to California and back in 1973 when I was twelve years old. I also remember the routes of some long bus rides: Billings, Montana to New Orleans for a national Lutheran youth gathering in 1976 (?), and Bozeman, Montana to Daytona Beach, Florida for a Campus Crusade for Christ conference in 1982.

I have lived in Montana, Utah, Montana again, Washington, Missouri, Romania, Colorado, Missouri again, and Montana again.

Since I was in my early twenties, I have kept track of my travels with a highlighter in Rand McNally road atlases. I’m on my second highlighted atlas, and it is getting rather worn.


Page from my Rand McNally “every place I’ve ever been” atlas

I was able to create the “Counties I’ve Been In” map by looking at which counties had highlighted roads in the the atlas.

Grace and Peace, from a map nerd.

January 20, 2013 Posted by | Geography, Maps | , , , | 1 Comment

Earth at Night

NASA recently released Earth at Night, a global view of the planet at night, with city lights, oilfield flares, night time fishing fleets, and auroras.

Google has created a wonderful viewer for this data, which can be found at its Earth at Night 2012 site.

Earth at Night zoomed out to show the entire planet

Earth at Night zoomed out to show the entire planet

Northeast United States

Northeast United States

Montana, where night skies are always black

Montana, where night skies are always black

Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France, where you would be lucky to see Jupiter on a cloudless night

Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France, where you would be lucky to see Jupiter on a cloudless night

Korean Peninsula. Note the lights from fishing fleets off the coast of South Korea. Note also how dark North Korea is.

Korean Peninsula. Note the lights from fishing fleets off the coast of South Korea. Note also how dark North Korea is.

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Geography, Imagery | | Leave a comment

Sim City 5

Sim City 3000 was the greatest game ever created for a computer.

Sim City 4 was a disappointment.

Sim City 5 (or just SimCity on the official web site) is coming in 2013. Will it be the new “greatest game ever?” Or another dog?

P.S. “Sim City” is not the same as “The Sims.”

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Fun, Geography, Maps | , | 2 Comments

BBC — Human Planet

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Environment, Geography, International Development, Nature | | 1 Comment

New England under water

From the ESRI Map Book Online volume 25: What if all the polar ice melted?

Credit: Paul Jordan, University of Rhode Island

The description from the ESRI Map Book:

This map is a depiction of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts/Cape Cod inundated by a 67-meter (73-yard) sea level rise resulting from a total melting of the polar ice caps. Although an unlikely scenario, the map was created as an attention grabber for display at the University of Rhode Island 2008 Honors Colloquium Lecture Series on Global Warming.

A good map can be artistic as well as informative; in fact the two often go together. The annual ESRI map books are available online or in book form (I am happy to own a couple editions).

Grace and Peace

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Art, Future, Geography, Geology, Maps | , | 7 Comments

Video: 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

A four minute video on world wealth and health that is a more interesting presentation of statistics than the norm:

The video ends on an optimistic note: everything is getting better and better, even for those down at the bottom. I would be more cautious: while life expectancy has improved for all but the poorest of the poor, there are still a billion people down at the bottom who have been left behind. And there is no guarantee that the trend will continue, as development runs into the walls of energy and water shortages, and with the ever-present risk of conflict, disease, and general human folly.

HT: Don R

This graph, along with many others, is available in an interactive format at For example, the GDP per capita/life expectancy graph from the 200 Countries video can be stopped or run backwards, and you can point to individual dots to see what country is represented. For example, I followed the “South Africa” dot and watched it move from 61 years life expectancy in the mid-1980s to 50 years at present (a result largely of the ongoing AIDS crisis).

The X and Y axes of the chart can be changed to all sorts of things related to health, population, economics, education, the environment, and others. For example, here is a graph showing the relationship between adult female literacy rates and child mortality rates. The graph shows that Chad has the lowest adult female literacy rate (21%) and the highest infant mortality rate (209 child deaths per 1000 births).

Data can also be portrayed as a map. This map can run showing population changes from 1555 to 2030:

Grace and Peace

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Geography, Health, International Development | Leave a comment

Arthur C. Clarke and GPS

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was not only one of the first persons to conceive of geostationary communications satellites, he may have also been the first to come up with the idea of the Global Positioning System (GPS). From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of ArcNews: Rendezvous with Reality — Arthur C. Clarke Sees the Future.

Author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke was known worldwide for his science fiction writings, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama, but he was also one of the most important visionaries of the last century-most notably, he originated the concept of the geostationary communications satellite in 1945. In 1956, however, Clarke wrote a letter to Andrew G. Haley, president of the American Rocket Society, where he described one potential use for a geostationary communications satellite, to create a “position-finding grid whereby anyone on earth could locate himself by means of a couple of dials on an instrument about the size of a watch”-what we now know as GPS.

The print edition of ArcNews contains a copy of the origin letter along with a transcription. Here’s part of what Clarke wrote:

My general conclusions are that perhaps in 30 years the orbital relay system may take over all the functions of existing surface networks and provide others quite impossible today. For example, the three stations in the 24-hour orbit could provide not only an interference and censorship-free global TV service for the same power as a single modern transmitter, but could also make possible a position-finding grid whereby anyone on earth could locate himself by means of a couple of dials on an instrument about the size of a watch. (A development of Decca and transistorisation.) It might even make possible world-wide person-to-person radio with automatic dialling. Thus no-one on the planet need ever get lost or become out of touch with the community, unless he wanted to be. I’m still thinking about the social consequences of this!

I like that: “No-one on the planet need ever get lost… unless he wanted to be.”

For some reason, the PDF version of ArcNews has a couple of advertisements on page 27 in place of the article on Clarke.

Grace and Peace

P.S. Note that the link to Global Positioning System above takes you to a U.S. Government site written in Chinese. A sign of the times.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Geography, Maps, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

Drought and recovery

These images from the NASA Earth Observatory show areas of drought (brown = below average plant growth) and excess plant growth (green = above average plant growth).

Northern Iraq is suffering a severe drought. Much of the country’s grain is dependent on seasonal rainfall rather than irrigation:

Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS

Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS

Grain-producing regions of Afghanistan, on the other hand, are recovering from a period of drought, with the wheat crop responding well to spring rains:

Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS

Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS

Satellite imagery like this gives governments and aid agencies a quick way to analyze conditions on the ground.

Iraq image: Earth Observatory — Drought in Iraq

Afghanistan image: Earth Observatory — Crop Recovery in Afghanistan

Grace and Peace

June 20, 2009 Posted by | Geography, Imagery | , , , | Leave a comment

Melting glaciers, changing borders

Video from BBC News: Glacier melt changes Italian border. I can’t embed it, so you will have to go to the link.

This reflects a different view of borders than what we have in the United States. In the US, if a river that marks a boundary changes course (e.g. the Mississippi), then the border stays where it was. In Europe, it seems that if a glacier melts, then the international border can move 100 meters or so.

Grace and Peace

June 20, 2009 Posted by | Climate Change, Geography, Maps | Leave a comment

Lake Powell images, 1999 to 2009

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a series of images from 1999 to 2009 showing fluctuating water levels in Lake Powell in southeastern Utah. Lake Powell is formed by Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona.


Lake Powell 1999, Credit: NASA Landsat 5

Lake Powell 2008, Credit: NASA Landsat 5

Lake Powell 2008, Credit: NASA Landsat 5

Earth Observatory has a “play” link to watch the images in played in order.

From the description at the NASA Earth Observatory site:

The Colorado River flows from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado through the southwestern United States. Along its route, the river passes through an elaborate water-management system designed to tame the yearly floods from spring snowmelt and to provide a reliable supply of water for residents as far away as California. The system is both appreciated for the water it provides and criticized for the environmental and cultural losses it has created.

Among the dams on the Colorado is Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, which creates Lake Powell—a deep, narrow, meandering reservoir—upstream in southern Utah. In the early twenty-first century, this modern marvel of engineering faced an ancient enemy: severe, prolonged drought in the American Southwest. Combined with water withdrawals that many believe are not sustainable, the drought has taken its toll on the water level in Lake Powell over the past decade.

Grace and Peace

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Environment, Geography, Geology, Imagery | , | Leave a comment

Santa Barbara fires

From NASA’s Earth Observatory: Jesusita Fire, California, near Santa Barbara, California, 5/8/2009.

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA (Terra - MODIS)

The red outline areas indicate hotspots, and represent the areas of active wildfires.

Grace and Peace

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Environment, Geography, Imagery, Natural Disasters | | Leave a comment

NASA Earth Observatory turns 10 — vote for your favorites — final day of voting

Monday, April 27th is the last day to vote for your favorite image from NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Grace and Peace

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Environment, Geography, Geology, Imagery, Maps | | Leave a comment

Taliban areas of Pakistan

Imagine the Taliban with nuclear weapons. That could happen if the worst-case scenario happens in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the radical terrorist group is making significant advances.

A Taliban conquest of Pakistan is by no means certain. The Pakistani military is powerful and could strike back. Or the cultural differences between the tribal Taliban and the majority Punjabi and Sindhi groups that populate the Indus valley could be significant enough to block the advance of the radical Taliban ideology in the hearts of the people. But then again, the Taliban are determined and patient, and could make further unexpected advances.

The Long War Journal has a couple maps showing the extent of Taliban control in the Northwest Frontier Province and adjoining areas, not too far from the capital city of Islamabad.


Extent of Taliban control 4/14/09

from The Long War Journal:

Terrorists rally in Swat, march through region


Extent of Taliban control 4/24/09

from The Long War Journal:

Rangers deployed to secure Islamabad outskirts

HT: The Map Room

Grace and Peace

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Geography, Maps | , , | Leave a comment

NASA Earth Observatory turns 10 — vote for your favorites — final round

Out of over 3000 images that have appeared over the past ten years on the NASA Earth Observatory site, viewers have voted and narrowed it down to their favorite 50. From now until April 27th, viewers can vote for their favorite out of these 50, and the winning image will be announced on April 29th.

Go to Earth Observatory to vote. Here they are:




Again, go to Earth Observatory to vote. Here’s my favorite:

Lena River Delta, Russia

Lena River Delta, Russia

Grace and Peace

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Environment, Geography, Geology, Imagery, Maps | | Leave a comment

More Google Earth — Car on side of building

Car on the side of a building, The Hague, Netherlands:

February 22, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Geography | | Leave a comment

More Google Earth — iPod Indian

Indian with ear buds, east of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada:

February 22, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Geography | | Leave a comment

More Google Earth — hippos

Hippos in the mud, west of Sitalike, Tanzania:

Grace and Peace

February 22, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Geography | | Leave a comment

Found on Google Earth: Atlantis (no) and pink bunny (yes)

The release of Google Earth 5.0 included better bathymetry of much of the ocean floor. (Bathymetry is the study of ocean and lake depth)

Some have claimed that this pattern on the Atlantic sea floor west of the Canary Islands is the ruins of the mythical island of Atlantis. The area is over 100 miles across, and the lines would represent roads or something.

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

My response: baloney. The lines are artifacts of the processing of digital sonar data collected by a ship that surveyed the area by making a grid-like pattern. The Google bathymetry data has various processing artifacts just about anywhere you look; this is just a little more obvious.

Not that interesting things aren’t found from time to time on Google Earth. Here’s one of my favorites: the Giant Pink Bunny of Artesina, Italy:

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

New York Times article: Fabled City of Atlantis Spotted on Google Earth

Google Maps: Atlantis grid

Google Maps: Pink Bunny of Artesina

Grace and Peace

February 22, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Geography, Maps | , | 1 Comment

Digital Topo Maps

I used to go to Topozone when I wanted to just browse around an area with topographic maps. It is no longer free. Here’s a free alternative:


If you want the complete topo map as a PDF, you can still get those from the USGS Map Locator.

Grace and Peace

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Geography, Geology, Maps | 1 Comment

Mapping the harvest

From NASA’s Earth Observatory this week: Poor harvest in Kenya


Credit: NASA

From NASA’s description:

Ten million people could face hunger in Kenya after a poor harvest, Kenya’s government warned on January 9, 2009. According to the Associated Press, the government declared a state of emergency to free up funds for food aid.

This image, which shows vegetation conditions between January 1 and January 10, 2009, shows part of the reason for the failed crops. Developing drought settled over eastern Kenya, slowing plant growth. Areas in which plants were growing less vigorously than average are brown, while areas in which plants were growing well are green.

Satellite data like this, if properly used, could help relieve the suffering of millions.

Grace and Peace

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Geography, Maps, Natural Disasters, Why Earth science matters | , | Leave a comment