Saturday, October 24, 2020

Why Study Geography?

 Plenty of mentions for GIS and Google Earth in this latest books of mine.

"I have always been a Geographer and have always believed that the state of geography in universities depends on attracting good sixth formers to become undergraduates."

Andrew Goudie 

My latest solo authored book came out earlier this week. I've had copies for a week, and colleagues and some of those who contributed to the book have been receiving copies as well. Family copies are earmarked and  I'm delighted with the finished product, which is part of a growing series of books asking the same question for different subjects.

There's already been interest from a number of countries including the USA and Turkey, and I'm hoping for further reviews in addition to the ones that the publishers have already elicited from geographical journals and organisations, and individuals who can help the book reach its intended markets.

It is called 'Why Study Geography' and is published by the London Publishing Partnership.

It explores why students should continue to study the subject, and provides answers to a number of key questions from Y9-13, plus their parents and UCAS tutors.

Here they are opposite on the Contents page.

The final chapter contains links to over 50 resources to support your exploration of geography including films, books, websites, podcasts and others.

It explores all aspects of the subject and is unashamedly 100% geography. 

There are so many people who have helped me out with the book in various ways. These include colleagues from the GA and the RGS, along with teaching colleagues. It includes vignettes from a number of people including Kit Racklet, Corinna Hawkes and Ben Hennig. There are details of how the subject developed, and more on academic geography. It finishes by exploring the reasons why geography matters now more than ever - mirroring the theme of this year's GA Conference under the Presidency of Gill Miller.

Copies will be available from additional outlets soon including bookshops, online outlets, Book Depository and others.

I would suggest it would make a good book for a number of different groups of people:

- students - of different ages

- parents

- UCAS tutors / careers advisers

- geography teachers - both ECT and experienced teachers

- teacher educators - ITE colleagues from a number of different routes

Look out for lots of tweets with the hashtag #whystudygeography over the next week or so as we try to make as many people as possible aware of the book and its potential value for their work.

Also available on Wordery, Blackwells, Waterstones and as a Kindle or Kobo e-book version for convenience.

Data Classification and Mapping

A new and very helpful StoryMap.

Check it out...

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Developing Place knowledge - a new DfS resource

Simon Catling and Emma Espley have been working on some new materials for the resource area of Digimap for Schools, designed for subscribers, but free to access by all.

Digimap for Schools gave free access to their service to schools during lockdown, and I am sure many will have found it a useful and effective resource.

The resources explore Place Knowledge using the new global mapping along with the familiar Digimap tools...

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Mapping our Future - from paper to pixels

A programme on how Digital Mapping and Paper Mapping interact. What are these map apps doing to us?

Jerry Brotton programme can be listened to on BBC Sounds. 
From paper to pixels... Mapping of the Coronavirus as an example of why it is important...
A good input from Ed Parsons on the dynamic nature of digital mapping and the change in map projection - from Mercator close in to a globe zoomed out. Google Earth as "a browser for the planet". This also shows no national borders... and referencing Tobler's first law of Geography.
Plenty of other good contributions as well.
Apple and Google worked together on a contact tracing app.
References 'Powers of 10' which I use to explore scale, and 'Earthrise'.
Reference to the Ordnance Survey's origins as well, and its military origins, and the US military's involvement in Keyhole - the forerunner of Google Earth. Earth Observation Satellite programme was also called Keyhole.

"Surveillance capitalism" is a useful phrase for some of the work of these large organisations in a book by Shoshona Zuboff.

It also mentionsWilliam Morgan's vast map of London.
Mentions the commercial information which blocks out some other information on the map.

A map of the human population is being created by our interactions with these digital maps. Counter-mapping is challenging this work.
Interested to read about Poly-Olbion

And the work of Stephen Walter of course.

Finishes with Borges 1:1 scale map of the Empire. The only truly accurate map, but its size makes it useless... All maps pursue certain agendas and define the way in one way rather than another.
Corporations are mapping the world....
Don't give up completely on the paper map.
Well worth listening to.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Free access to Digimap for Schools until the end of July

In an effort to help students and parents during this challenging time of isolation and home schooling, Digimap for Schools will be free for any school to access from today until the end of July 2020.

If you are an existing Digimap for Schools subscriber, they are automatically extending  subscriptions by four months, at no cost, subscribers don't need to do a thing.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Geograph - now available in Welsh

The Geograph project has appeared here numerous times over the years. It played a big part in my first trip up to the SAGT Conference.

When it was first launched, I publicised it over on GeographyPages and contributed some early images of the Norfolk area and bagged a few squares along the coast.

The Geograph Project Ltd is a small national charity – an online community and project that maps the British Isles with photographs and information, “to advance the education of the public in geography and heritage”. They have over 6 million moderated, geo-located and dated images on www, , made available through a Creative Commons Licence.

Many people use the website to learn about where they live or areas they might visit.
Don't forget that there is also a schools area providing some activities and games that can be played to explore the millions of images.

After a lot of hard work, the site has been translated into Welsh.

The Schools Area is also now available in Welsh.
Take a look if you haven't been before, or haven't been for a while.
The site is supported by the Ordnance Survey.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


We had a visit from what3words into school a few weeks ago...
Here is the original idea / TED talk

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Ridge Maps

Another tip off from Ben Hennig is this Github mapping tool and script.

Open it up and navigate to a location, zoom in and change the angle of the map if necessary.

Open Settings and you will see various options for the creation of peaks on the map using height data.
These can be made more exagerrated, and the colour changed - messing with other settings produces different effects. Why not have a play?

It's a way of making a Joy Division 'Unknown Pleasures' style image...

Here's a map of the island of Ely in the Fens... with the Ouse Washes the flat area running diagonally across.

And here's one with the Wash and King's Lynn at the top - spot the edge of the Fens... see, Norfolk is actually far from flat...

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Google Earth Creative Tools - Part 2

I posted about the new Google Earth Creation Tools earlier in the week.

These have been launched after extensive beta testing.

Three tutorial videos have been added to YouTube for those who want to take a look at how to make a tour before getting stuck in. Also here's another tip

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Google Earth Creative Tools

For some months now, thanks to an invite from Richard Allaway, I've been part of a group of beta testers for some new creative tools on Google Earth on Chrome.

The announcement is here.

Today is launch day and we have been given the news to share that these tools exist, and also some stories that we may have been working on.

Google wants Earth to become a “storytelling canvas” that lets you “create a map or story about the places that matter to you.” These creation tools are accessed by clicking the new “Projects” tab in the sidebar and creating one.
After adding a location by search or dragging a pin, you can attach images, text, videos, and customize other properties, including colors, pins, and choosing the right 3D view to frame. In addition to places, you can draw lines, shapes, and Street View.
All work is saved to Google Drive and supports standard collaboration. Once complete, there is a “Present” view that flies you from location-to-location while displaying all your notes on top. In addition to the web, the final project is available on mobile and tablet devices with the Google Earth app for Android or iOS.

I have started to produce a story on South Georgia for my first attempt, as part of a resource that I am producing for the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This has been blogged about elsewhere.

Here's the link to the story so far.

The tools produce a similar outcome to that produced with ESRI StoryMaps, but with variations in imagery and functionality of course. The two tools aren't necessarily in competition and it remains to you to consider.

Check Richard Allaway's examples here: revising extreme environments.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Digimap v2

Having an early play with this today. 
A new, improved version 2 of the GA Gold Award winning Digimap for Schools.

Information from Edina.

Digimap for Schools - the definitive global digital atlas for schools

The Digimap for Schools Team are pleased to announce the imminent arrival of a new version of their award winning schools service.

This new version has all the mapping products and functionality Digimap for School users are already familiar with (Ordnance Survey mapping, historical data and aerial photography for GB, drawing tools, image library, webinar and training support), but adds:

Global mapping
- incorporation of the beautiful and authoritative Collins Bartholomew World Panorama product providing a definitive global school atlas

- the same wonderful Ordnance Survey data for Great Britain and beyond GB for the rest of the world, detailed street level mapping from Open Street Map:

An updated and modern intuitive User Interface has been added - this is similar to the one on the DataNation website which is an optional upgrade for schools who don't already have Digimap for Schools perhaps. It also includes a useful additional option to find your location and zoom to it, rather than using the search, or drawing a rectangle as currently.

The new version of Digimap for Schools will be available from November 2019 at

Access to the old version will remain available from the same address.
The existing Digimap for Schools version will remain supported until January 2021.
Schools resubscribing to Digimap for Schools before March 2020 will be able to chose between the old version and our new enhanced Global version.
From March 2020 subscribers will only be able to take our new enhanced service.
(Re)subscription will be on a rolling twelve month basis as is the case now. It will not be possible to subscribe to both new and old versions.

As always, the Digimap for Schools Team are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have over on the website.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Humber 2100 StoryMap

Thanks for the tipoff from Bob Lang to this ESRI StoryMap

Useful for all sorts of rivers / flooding / landscape management related topics...

Friday, August 02, 2019

GA Presidents Blog

I have spent much of the last four days researching the 1920s and the history of the Geographical Association for the next phase in my major project around my GA Presidency: the creation of a biography of all the presidents since 1893, and associated events. I've also been contacting lots of former Presidents and finding out a whole range of stories and connections to

Check out the project here. You can also subscribe to the blog.

I'm currently in 1927, and the most recent President to be added was Charles Close, who was Director General of the Ordnance Survey - hence the map link.