Discovering My World With Maps

Redlands, California
34.055569300000, -117.182538100000
Journal Entry:

Hi everyone, my name is Charlie Fitzpatrick and I work as a K-12 Education Manager at Esri, a supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software around the world. I grew up with my two parents and three older brothers, so, for a long time, other people always helped to get me from here to there. As I grew more independent to go to places by myself, I struggled. The world was a baffling place and not always easy to navigate alone. Things "here," where I grew up, weren't like things "over there," in the new places I was visiting. All the different buildings and roads were so confusing. When my family went places I had never been, I was very nervous. How did anyone know where to go? How would I do it when I was alone? How do you know where to find Room 611? Even in high school when I started driving, it was nerve-wracking going from place to place. I knew about maps, and looked at them a lot, but often with confusion and anxiety.

Despite all of this, I made it to college where I took a geography class and started to see the world as places with characteristics. Maps simplify things. They are like models--simpler versions of the real world. Look at the palm of your hand and imagine part of it is a map of the room you're in right now.