image: KgeographyOpen Source Geography Software for KDE and Linux

History/social studies is not quite map "crazy", but every classroom I stepped into during my own education had at least one roll of maps hanging from hooks in front of the blackboard. Teachers used to unroll the map that applied to the topic of the day and used one of those pointers with a rubber tip to direct out attention to the place they wanted us to talk about.

Knowing where states and countries are is the basis of the topic Geography. Kgeography is one program of the KDE education "package" that KDE programmers have developed. Basic, but very important. I have heard statistics that suggest most high school graduates don't know much about where the states are of their own country, cannot identify them if given a country map with the state outlines.

You can choose from many different maps such as the USA, Africa, Europe, etc. In my case I chose the USA because it is my home country, and I have studied the states a bit. We had placemats of the USA for dinner with our children. I selected the game to identify the state when given a state capital. You will notice in the following image, the word "Division" is generic since here it applies to the states of the USA, but if you chose to play on the map of Europe, the divisions would be the countries there.

image: States and capitals of USA

There is much more to the program, of course. You and your students or you and your own children will enjoy this one. Of course, because you use this program your students/children will be among the best when it comes to basic geography quizzes given after high school.


On a Linux system, particularly one running KDE desktop, installation of Kgeography is as easy as using your distribution's package manager software (such as Synaptic) and selecting the kdeedu package [1].

image: search kdeedu

This search leads to a list of options. I needed to scroll down a bit to find the kdeedu package. Mine has been selected here. You will need to click the small square at the left to put a check mark there and then apply the selection to start the install.

image: kdeedu search in Synaptic

On my basic installation of KDE in Ubuntu 8.04, the package manager is the Adept Installer. I was very surprised to see that the kdeedu metapackage is NOT listed. Adept is easier to use for the basics, but because of that, it doesn't list as many options. In this case, I expected the kdeedu package to be there, but it wasn't. The Synaptic package manager is more complete, showing the full list of available programs that can be installed. There is a valid complaint that an attempt to just browse the list is confusing because it is VERY long and shows tons of programs that are not everybody's cup of tea.

Fortunately, the Adept installer can be used to install Synaptic. The open attitude of Linux and the open source software keeps the Adept programmers from hiding or ignoring their competition, Synaptic.

image: adept package manager

In fact, if you are a command-line (terminal) lover, you can use the command:
sudo apt-get install kdeedu

Links to Kgeography information:
Kgeography Handbook:
Adding maps (from the program's home site):
Making a new map: (link has been corrected, sorry for those who couldn't get there before)

[1] Technically the kdeedu package is a "metapackage" because it installs many individual programs. Often a package will only install a single application/program and its associated background requirements (called dependencies). Metapackages do the dependencies, but also a cluster of related applications/programs.