FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A Fairmont State University professor of geography and a West Virginia GIS programmer have been recognized nationally.  

Dr. Barbara MacLennan and Frank LaFone are co-founders and hosts of a geography podcast called VerySpatial. 

VerySpatial logo (Twitter VerySpatial)

Their podcast team was announced as one of the 2022 American Association of Geographer’s honorees. MacLennan and LaFone are also joined by Jesse Rouse and Sue Bergeron in North Carolina in hosting their podcast.  

The podcast shows how geography and geospatial technologies are filtering into our digital and daily lives and it also connects geographers’ work to recent events and trends. 

“Everything happens somewhere, and if it happens somewhere, you can use geography to understand it at least a little bit … geography is about analyzing special relationships, the relationship between things within space, and I don’t really think that enough people appreciate how critical geospatial technology is to their everyday interactions,” LaFone said.   

The team will be recognized by AAG for its accomplishments in publicizing geographical insights. 

“It’s a great honor because it was done by our peers and it was done by people that are in the field, and to know that there were people out there that were thinking about us was just, it was very powerful and strong to us to know that,” Maclennan said.  

VerySpatial is ranked among the top five percent of all K-12 podcasts on iTunes.  

“Getting an award from this caliber from the country’s highest geography-related organization I mean that a surreal thing … on the one hand, we’re very proud that we were able to do work that they thought that was worth recognizing, and on the other hand, you get on your microphone every two weeks and talk and it’s just kind of surreal that, that is being recognized and celebrated,” LaFone said.  

The team started the podcast back in 2006. LaFone said they started podcasting as a way to keep track of the fast-paced field of geospatial technology. He said the technology started to change when google earth, cellphones and GPS systems started to advance which made it hard for professionals to keep up.  

“When we started, the technology itself was also mostly starting; when we think about the geospatial revolution that was going on and stuff that we now take for granted, so it’s a big part of education. It’s a podcast that reaches people around the world,” Maclennan said.  

VerySpatial can be found here.