Fun with Maps

Fun with Maps

Like millions of others I am a fan of the Big Bang Theory and especially Sheldon Cooper. I even liked his Fun with Flags videos. Seriously. I wished they would continue.

My name is Dan Hanson and I have also been a longtime fan of maps and the role they play in a region's history, commerce, politics, culture and so on. So I started a new video podcast series called Fun with Maps.

Running which features the 120 or so different ethnic groups that are represented in the area, I've noticed how the geography of a place has played a role in its culture and history.

For example:,

  • When you see how close the Horn of Africa is to the Arabian Peninsula you will understand how important the Suez Canal , Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are.
  • Or what does it mean for Ethiopia to be landlocked?
  • Or for Somalia to have that huge coastline?
  • How did a little piece of Russia get to the West of Lithuania?
  • Which river is longer - The Nile or the Amazon?
  • Why can you see the Aurora Borealis so often in Lapland? And what famous figure comes from Lapland?
We won't just look at countries and large regions. We'll look at how cities split by a river (Chicago, Cleveland, Budapest, etc.) have been influenced by their geography.

There's so much more.

Don't expect cinematic artistry. I don't have the ability and that's not the intention. I just want to share my interest in Maps with others.

So Sheldon Cooper had Fun with Flags and I'm now hoping you will join me in having Fun with Maps.

Watch the introductory video of Fun with Maps

Fun with Maps - The Horn of Africa

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows the Horn of Africa which consists of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. He shows how the close proximity to the Arabian Peninsula and the extended coastline of the peninsula have influence the politics, commerce and culture of the region. He also tells a story that connects a popular Beatles song and a famous fossil millions of years old.

Fun with Maps - The Nile River

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows the Nile River, the longest river in the world. The Nile River and Egypt are intertwined but the Nile travels through almost a dozen countries in Africa including Sudan where the White Nile and Blue Nile merge. And, there is a surprising fact about the Nile that makes it unique.

Fun with Maps - Finland

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows the Nordic country of Finland, one of the most northern countries in the world. Some say the map of Finland looks like a whale, some say a rabbit. What do you think? While the south and capital Helsinki have most of the people, the northern Lapland has unique features including a very special inhabitant. Dan also talks about Linus Torvalds and Linux, Nokia, Angry Birds and his favorite word in any foreign language - sisu.

Fun with Maps - Wuhan China

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows map of a city that has been in the news for the last several months, Wuhan in central China. There is more to Wuhan than the covid-19 virus. In fact when we look at the map and the transportation options starting with the Yangtze River we see why many have called Wuhan the "Chicago of China." Learn more about this city of 11 million people than what you may see on the news.

Fun with Maps - Indonesia

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows the map of the largest archipelago nation in the world - Indonesia. Archipelagos are often volcanic and as you will see, this certainly applies to Indonesia. It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands. You may have heard of Sumatra, Java, New Guinea (Papua), Bali, Borneo and so on. This is Part 1 of 2 so be sure to watch the 2nd part too.

In Part 2 Dan looks at the Ring of Fire, Krakatoa, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, Papua New Guinea and more. For such a large, populous and importnat country Dan doesn't remember much study of it in school.

Fun with Maps - Budapest

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows map of a city that is really 2 cities, Buda and Pest, split by the famous Danube River but joined together as Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is one of the most visited cities in the world and is a hub of music, culture, architecture, education and so on. It's history - Turkish occupation, Austria-Hungary, Lajos Kossuth, Revolution of 1956 - all were influenced by the map. From the spas and baths to the bridges, the musical influence (Liszt, Bartok, etc.) to other notable citizens (Houdini, Rubik, etc.) Budapest is a fascinating city.

Fun with Maps - Feedback and Foldable Maps

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson considers some viewer feedback and answers their questions. He explains what the dots on the maps mean and shows the world map on the stage of the new plaza in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Then he gives a demo of the classic old school foldable paper map that has been around forever.

Fun with Maps - Estuaries and the Hudson River

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson looks at estuaries and then drills down on the Hudson River in New York State in the US. The Hudson River forms the west border of New York City's Manhattan Island. He also looks at the battles of Saratoga which took place along the Hudson River Valley in the Revolutionary War.

Fun with Maps - New Zealand and Zealandia

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson looks at New Zealand and the Lost Continent of Zealandia in Oceania. New Zealand is home to the Maori people, terrific rugby like the All Blacks team, the haka dance, the beautiful scenery as the setting of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, Milford Sound and much more. Modern technology is allowing us to see more of the huge lost continent of Zealandia underneath New Zealand, 94% submerged under the ocean.

Fun with Maps - Lebanon

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the historic country of Lebanon. Though small in size the influence of Lebanon and its people is huge. Tragically, the capital of Beirut was devastated by explosions in August 2020. In this episode Dan looks at the major cities, culture, geography, the cedar tree, famous Lebanese people and some fascinating history from the Phoenicians to the present.

Fun with Maps - Chile

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the long country of Chile. Chile is bordered by the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and the map has played a big part in its history. Dan looks at the Straits of Magellan, the Drake Passage, the huasos, the Mapuche people, Santiago, the largest mountain and volcano in the Americas, the rescue of the miners, interesting Chilean people and more.

See Dan Hanson's videos on YouTube.

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