Ever relied on a GPS unit or Google Maps for directions? In our modern, globally interconnected world, with a range of gadgets at our disposal, many people are becoming increasingly separated from understanding and appreciating the physical world around them — our basic geography.

So how do geographers get the concept back on the map? Canadian Geographic Education and the Canadian Association of Geographers have teamed up to launch a geographic awareness campaign called This Is Geography.

“Canadian Geographic Education wants to make sure Canadians are aware of how vital a role geography plays in everyday decisions,” says CG Education’s educational program manager Ellen Curtis of the new initiative.

As part of the campaign, CG Education is asking Canadians to go out and capture photos that represent geography to them, and share them through Canadian Geographic’s online Photo Club as well as on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, using the #thisisgeo hashtag.

In addition to sharing Canadians’ photos, CG Education is also hosting a series of national online discussion forums about geographic education in Canada using Google+ Hangouts as a platform. These panel discussions will feature speakers with diverse backgrounds and expertise who’ll discuss the importance of geography in the education system and in society in general. The first forums were held earlier this spring, and more discussions are slated for June (on citizen cartography) and July (on geography in high school). Visit thisisgeography.ca for more dates, times and details on the Hangouts.

The photos and the results of the forums will be used to generate discussion in the lead up to a summit on geographic education in Canada, to be held in St. John’s on August 9 and 10. Organized by CG Education and the Canadian Association of Geographers, the aim of the gathering is to draft a formal declaration on the importance of geographic education in Canada.

“We hope not only to increase the general public awareness of what geography is, but also to inspire people to start thinking more geographically,” Curtis says of the summit and the campaign. “We want Canadians to see their world through a geographical lens.”

For more information on the This Is Geography campaign, including the call for photography, the Google+ Hangout discussion forums and the August geographic education summit, visit thisisgeography.ca.