Jon Marino I Am Geo

I Am Geography



“I am not a geographer by training. But in every place I’ve worked, from the Chicago Public Schools to the Refugee Law Project in Kampala, Uganda, I’ve learned that having an understanding of geography is vital.

As professionals, we tend to see the world in terms of topics and tasks. But as people, we see the world in terms of places. We intuitively abide by Tobler’s First Law of Geography: “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” If you don’t take time to understand people’s relationships to each other and their landscapes, you won’t make much headway on causing them to learn or advancing abstract legal theories.

In my current work as Executive Director of the MapStory Foundation, I get to collaborate with people developing an open-source platform that helps people explore their interests, whatever they might be, from a geographic perspective. Our user community is mapping out everything from the spread of invasive species to the gerrymandering of political districts throughout US history.

Every day brings a new lesson and a reminder of how lucky I am to be a part of the future of geography.”


Become a member of the AGS, and let us feature you as part of our “I AM GEOGRAPHY” campaign which will light the path for all of you closet geographers to get involved in making our world a better place through Geography.

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