CSU’s Map Walk gives students a chance to explore the world

By Beth Casteel


Never has the phrase “world at your feet” been more accurate than when talking about the Map Walk that now happens every semester at Cleveland State.

The Map Walk was created by professor Stephen Cory in 2008 after he went to a conference where someone there did one. After coming to Cleveland State, Cory decided to do a walk like the one he saw in order to show students the layout of different geographical regions.

After contacting the man who did the first Map Walk, he began to get everything he would need in order to create the event. Fast forward nine years and the Map Walk is still something that Cory does in the hopes that it will allow students to have an easier time piecing together the layout of the world.

“You just notice a lot more details when maps are this size. You notice the interconnections, like how close Arabia is to India,” Cory said. “When you have both out there, you can see they really aren’t very far from each other.”

This semester’s map walk, held on Oct. 25 from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m., students had the opportunity to enjoy learning about the Middle East and Asia.

The fall semester walk is Cory’s smaller version. The bigger Map Walk, that includes over 500 maps of the Islamic and non-Western world, will be held during the spring semester on April 3, 2018.

This year, Cory decided to hold the walk in the Student Center. When he first started doing the map walk, he held it at Woodling Gym. While he enjoyed the open space of the gym and large floor for fitting all of the maps, there wasn’t a lot of passersby during the walk.  With advertising done by his graduate assistant and the new location, Cory hopes that the new changes will bring more outsiders to attend the Map Walk.

For the people in attendance, they can enjoy the oversized maps that were created by the Global Mapping Institute. Each map was created over the course of the 80s and 90s in a variety of different editions. Originally, these maps were intended to be used for pilots, so a lot of them show rivers, cities, height elevations, air strips and other essentials pilots would need when flying.

Since the original use was for pilots, Cory and his graduate students have had to adjust and highlight certain things that he is interested in showing for his classes.  Throughout the years, he has also been mindful of the outside guests, adding QR codes that once scanned, will take them to a blog that has pictures and a history of that area.

Giving students a better understanding of the regions is something that Cory tries to achieve with every map walk he does.  By emphasizing new points and reaching a larger audience, he feels that the map walks give students a better understanding of our world.

“[The Map Walk] helps make it clear and you can see the layout of the geography of the region,” Cory said. “[It helps students] get a better sense of how geography affects history.”