Today was a dream come true for me. I actually went to the National Geographic Headquarters. I think everyone else was in awe of the experience as well.
When we arrived, we were taken on a tour of the entrance hall with unpublished photographs, the National Geographic Library, the founders’ room, and the board room. We ended up in the conference room to do some debriefing about maps. Then we were off to talk with “The Geographer” Juan Valdés. He met with us and went over the history of map projections and how they make a map. Then he showed us the entire process they went through to make their recent map of Ireland. It was fascinating. Then everyone in the group received a map. He even signed some of them. Here is a blog from National Geographic where the cartography department often puts interesting articles and information about maps.
Next we visited TripCam, which is the department in National Geographic where they make cameras that attach to animals and capture their behavior. We started by watching a video of them putting cameras on Great White Sharks. Then one of the guys in the video, who also happened to be in the room with us, fell into the water with Great White Shark. He was able to get out unharmed, but it was crazy! We then learned about how they go about learning about what a biologist wants to learn about the animal, and then they design the camera and attachment mechanism best suited for the context. They had an amazing shop and assembly room. Here is a two second video of their shop because I accidentally deleted the only photo. The rest of the photos of their workspace is in the album at the end.
Then we left National Geographic and headed to Georgetown to do a map making activity. Each group received a map of a different section of Georgetown. Then their job was to walk around that section and map things about it by placing a sticker where they had some sort of experience. Here is what we were supposed to map:
1. Interview one person and them what they know about Japan and the country’s recent events.
2. Interview one person about their musical taste and get them to sing their favorite song. Here is the video of our person singing. Singing
3. Find a map.
4. Listen for particular sounds.
5. Use your nose to smell for particular scents.
6. Use your tastebuds, and document particular tastes.
7. Look and document “American Experiences.”
8. Look for something ugly.
9. Look for something beautiful.
10. Look for amazing buildings.
Then we had some blank stickers where we could design our own thing that we could look for in the neighborhood.
Finally, we ended up back at National Geographic Headquarters to listen to three different people talk about their careers: a woman who created her own fashion magazine in DC, Nicole Aguirre; a National Geographic Excursions planner, Deb Harris and a former writer for The Economist, Jeff Jorve.
It was another action packed day. Here are the photos.