The geographical knowledge of north american students is, as you said, very poor. But only because the rest of the world doesn't matter. Sure it's nice to know where Shewinigan is in case you're on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?", but other than that the knowledge is useless. I'm talking about city names, not countries. If you don't know where Europe/Asia/North America/Iceland is you're pathetic. If you don't know where actual countries are inside that region it's still pretty bad, but you can get by. The best bet is to familiarize yourself with important cities and countries, AKA North America, Europe and Asia. Other than that, I don't see the necessity.