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WIU Geography Professor Chris Sutton has developed a series of Google Earth video projects as part of two geography textbooks.
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WIU Professor Partners for Geography Textbook Project

October 27, 2016

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University professor has merged his passion for geography and map reading with technology from Google Earth to provide an important teaching companion for college world geography textbooks.

WIU Geography Professor Chris Sutton is working with the Pearson publishing company on its "Diversity Amid Globalization" and the "Globalization and Diversity" textbooks. Each chapter of the books contains a sidebar profile, which presents case studies about the theme.

Each study has text and a scan-able QR-code that presents a Google Earth video tour of the area presented in each sidebar.

"Pearson contacted me because I had developed pedagogical materials before," said Sutton. "For this project, I developed the geographical tour stops in Google Earth and then transition from location to location and minimize the jarring transitions. I then developed a script, narrated it and then put the whole thing together in a video. Each of these has turned into a full video production, with each lasting two-three minutes."

The videos use Google Earth to zero in on specific locations being discussed in the sidebar. Once Sutton completes each video, Pearson then integrates them into its online content platform.

In 2015, Sutton created 44 videos for the project over three and one-half months.

"Pearson was happy with how those turned out, and so far this year I have added 28 new ones to the library," he said.

Some of the video topics include "A Closer Look at Globalization;" "Greening the Colorado River Delta;" "Crisis Mapping in Haiti after the Earthquake;" "South Korean Investments and Aid in Africa" and "The Opium Resurgence in Northern Southeast Asia."

"It's kind of cool; it's dynamic for students to see these lessons in motion and it's also exposing them to Google Earth," said Sutton. "They start looking deeper at the world and are getting more interest in geography by using this tool."

To see an example of Sutton's videos, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing