• Posted on: February 18, 2021
  • Category: Community
  • Leo Poon

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    Leo Poon

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Geographic Illiteracy: Can you find Canada on the map?

Study shows 53% of the respondents unable to locate Canada

Do you get lost all the time or even have trouble when reading maps? No worries, you are not alone. There are 195 countries in the world. Most of them are not popular enough to be recognized in textbooks or popular culture, therefore we may never know the names of these countries. When we expect that larger or stronger countries may be more recognizable by the general public, the reality tells a different story.

A recent survey asked people from around the world to point out different countries on a world map [1]. There are surprising results from the study, including over half of the respondents unable to locate Canada. Among all the countries on the list, Indonesia comes at the top with 83% of participants could not pinpoint it on the map. Canada is ranked 10th with 53% of individuals failed to find the country’s location.

Photo courtesy: theknowledgeacademy

According to the project, respondents were asked whether they have learned about different countries in school, and whether they have been to these countries.

Why geographic illiteracy matters?

Geographic illiteracy is used to describe those who do not have sufficient geographic knowledge to understand our world. Geography matters as we are always affected by international events and/or policies. Even though countries are more connected with each other than before, lots of people do not take it seriously to recognize the world has been changed. In 2016, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) of the U.S. and the National Geographic Society carried out a survey to study how well the younger U.S. population know about geography [2]. One major highlight from the survey shows that geography knowledge was found the least important when compared with other topics such as current world events, politics, economics and history. The geographic illiteracy hinders individuals to recognize how and why our daily life could be impacted by a trading agreement or a immigration policy.

Can you find the mistakes? Photo courtesy: CBS
Geography is ranked least important among other subjects. Photo courtesy: CFR

Map tools provided by the Canadian government

There are lots of map resources available for us to understand our planet. Natural Resources Canada created various reference maps, aiming to assist teachers, students, and professionals for customized projects [3]. The digital data files, including physical features, political divisions, time zones, demographic data, etc, are available for the public to download. In addition to local map products, there are lots of international maps to provide knowledge about the rest of the world, including the distribution of transnational organizations such as The Francophonie, The Commonwealth, NATO, and many other institutions.

If you still struggle to find Canada on the map, remember it is the second largest country in the world and it is located at the top left corner on a general world map.

Map of Canada. Photo courtesy: cdn.unifiedcommerce.com

Reference

[1]
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-9214479/The-20-major-countries-people-struggle-locate-map-half-unable-Canada.html

[2]
https://www.cfr.org/global-literacy-survey

[3]
https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/maps-tools-publications/tools/geodetic-reference-systems/reference-maps/16846

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