Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Sad topographies

Via Twitter, I love this set of snapshots from Google Maps (?)
Depressing place names snipped out of the map and taken out of context.

Also reminds me of a tweet from last night of this location.

How about a set of happy places, or toponyms, or people's names, or .....

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

New resources for QGIS and Census Data

In 2014, the Royal Geographical Society awarded two teachers an Innovative Geography Teaching grant of £1000 to fund the development of new resources, based on the use of Census data.
I was one of those teachers, and worked with Ben Hennig to create a new education section of the LondonMapper website: a new project involving Professor Danny Dorling, which explores London through a series of cartograms using Census data.
My Scheme of Work explores the LondonMapper website and materials, and uses the idea of future urbanists looking back at London to see how it has changed over the years.
It connects with the other unit that I wrote for the RGS called Mapping London.

The second grant was awarded to Paul Turner, who takes over as Head of Geography at Bedales School in September. He worked with Dr Adam Dennett, a lecturer from UCL who works at CASA.
Paul's website and materials can now be viewed here, and he is keen to connect with teachers who want to trial the materials. You can contact Paul via the site.
There are 10 lessons which act as an introduction to QGIS, and the mapping and analysis of Census data.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Some nice thoughts on GIS in the Curriculum

Two good posts on the Leicester DIGILIT blog from Rob Manger of English Martyr's School.

The first followed Rob attending a course that I led in the city for the GA a few years ago, and covered Google Earth and some other technologies. At the time, ArcGIS Online was just coming out and offered some real promise.

Worth downloading the documents which accompany this post.

The second brings Rob's thinking up to date, with some thoughts on Digimap for Schools. ArcGIS Online and others, including the new CSV upload feature, Raphael Heath's work and the new GeoForm.

Rob has taken a lot of time to develop his skills in GIS, including attending the recent UK ESRI User Conference in London. I look forward to seeing what he and his students produce next.

If you've used Digimap for Schools in your own school, let me know what you've been up to and I'll share it here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

CSV upload added to Digimap for Schools

A new feature has been added to Digimap for Schools.
Subscribers can now upload CSV files of fieldwork data/locations and the values will be plotted at the location within the postcode where they were recorded, along with a text label if required.

You can watch a tutorial video here.

 Give it a go and let us know how it works for you.

The Add points from a file marker tool allows you to upload a CSV file containing data you have collected and create points on your map. For example, if you have been out on fieldwork and collected data in a spreadsheet or mobile app, you can upload that data and represent points on your map. Your points must have a location element to them, either Easting and Northing coordinates, Latitude and Longitude coordinates or a full GB Postcode. The data you have collected might be recording certain tree species, places you have observed micro climatic conditions, locations of graffiti or the postcode of people you have surveyed in a tourist hot spot.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CSV uploads in Digimap for Schools

I've worked on a range of resources for Digimap for Schools and Digimap for Colleges over the last few years, and am always excited when a new tool is added.
Three new tools were added this week.
You'll need to login and then look at the ADD MARKER dropdown options to see them.

Stickman marker could be used to mark human influence on an area, and colour coded for good or bad impact e.g. in a National Park, or along a stretch of coastline...

Grid Reference marker will be useful for adding them to printed maps which are used for fieldwork purposes, so that they can be used by students, perhaps in association with the OS Locate app.

You can now also add in CSV files of locations.
There is a help page for this function.

Read the blog post to find out more. The upload function won't work if you are using DfS on an iPad

Don't forget that printed maps also now have a north arrow included on them.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Field Notes Earth

Field Notes Earth is a new app from ESRI which extracts information from the Living Atlas.

Field Notes-Earth is a small sampling of the amazing questions that can be answered from the Esri Living Atlas of the World. To learn more about Esri content, visit 

This app shares the power of geographic information through a common language to describe the landscape of the Earth.

1. Choose a place, such as your hometown, to learn interesting facts about population, nature, and physical landscapes.
2. Choose a second location to compare and contrast the differences.

These types of comparisons help us to better understand the differences in our landscapes and allow meaningful conversations on how to manage and protect our resources.

I had a play, comparing different places. This could work for different locations which are provided by the teacher for students to compare e.g. different land-use zones, biomes or different locations within a specific country e.g. population densities, urban areas etc.

Here's some screenshots.

GE Grids

Thanks to Mark Brandon for the tipoff to this article on land use change...

My interest was piqued by the mention of GE Grids.
This is described as follows:

 GE Grids is the first free, customizable creator of raster datasets for use with Google Earth. GE Grids creates a user-defined, interactive grid (raster) overlaid on Google Earth image data. This tool circumvents expensive, specialized programs and knowledge, and enables easy use of Google Earth's high-resolution data to create localized datasets.

I need to explore this I think

Thursday, July 09, 2015

New version of ArcGIS Online

A new version of ArcGIS Online was released today.
There are some changes to UI and Workflow, many of which won't be noticeable to casual users, but some additional changes to the tools and mapping options, and also the Scenes, which are an exciting option.
You can read about the changes here.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Google MyMaps in Google Drive

You can now make your own MyMaps from within Google Drive...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday Google Earth

It's 10 years ago since the launch of Google Earth.

I remember seeing it for the first time, and contacting the Google Education team which was then very small, and Dennis Reinhardt let me have a Pro license for a year so I could have a good play. I started preparing a presentation for the Scottish Association of Geography Teacher's Conference in 2005, which is where I first met Ollie Bray (he was finishing his presentation at the time) and also applied for an Innovative Geography Teaching Grant to develop a users' guide to Earth, which became this very blog !

Today, Google announced a few new features to celebrate the 10th anniversary of what many teachers would say is the most useful tool for geography teachers, but which has now been eclipsed a little by other tools, and perhaps some apps too. It's still something I use weekly at least, and used it the other day in fact to explore Ely...

There's also hundreds of new images for my favourite Chrome extension, and a web gallery too (sort of a super version of Noel Jenkins' Earth as Art activity)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Volcano Top Trumps map

Raphael Heath has produced a very useful new map for any of you who use the Volcano Top Trumps packs in your classroom. If you haven't seen the Top Trumps, they can be purchased via the website.

Here's the map, which shows the locations of the volcanoes in the pack.

Monday, June 22, 2015

ArcGIS Earth

Coming soon. 
Go here to read more and sign up to find out more when it launches...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ash Cloud apocalypse

Raphael Heath is planning his 2nd World GIS activity.

The technology of ArcGIS Online has moved on in the last year, and there is now the appearance of the GeoForm (of which more to come later)
This year, the focus is on an Ash Cloud apocalypse.

Between 16 to 20 November get your Geography students involved with a local disaster risk mapping activity. Are you ready for the Ash Cloud Apocalypse. Could you survive? Know your risks!

This is the launch video... more to come on this later in the year....

Using Google Earth to snoop on people

I was interested in an article that came through via Karl Donert
It describes how Google Earth is being used to check on people's general activity.

It can show cars parked in drives, home improvements, the appearance of outhouses etc. and then be used alongside other data from social networks e.g. postings from foreign holidays etc.
How much does this give away about your life?