Sunday, May 29, 2016

New GeoCapabilities StoryMap

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Early bird still open for Practical Pedagogies 2016

I was due to present at the first running of this event last year, but was unable to go as it clashed with my trip to Iceland, and return to full-time teaching, so had to pull out.

Russel Tarr has pulled together another excellent programme of events which will take place in the first week of November, and this time I can make it. In fact I'm already booked for my flights, and my colleague Claire is coming along too, which is a bonus!
Just got to sort my accommodation now.

I will be presenting at Practical Pedagogies 2016.


The full programme is HERE.

My session is called 'The Power of Geographical Information', and is described below:
The Power of ‘Where’: Geographical Information in the curriculum

Geography is an academically robust subject which spans the social and physical sciences and promotes a lifelong interest and fascination in how the world works.
Nicholas Crane, President of the Royal Geographical Society

Geographers are interested in spatial patterns, and the growing availability of, often real-time, location based information brings new depth to teaching geography. Students don’t only consume this information, but they also produce it themselves, and it is also used after natural disasters to aid the relief effort.

The workshop will explore how this renewed focus on the ‘where’ can bring new ideas to teach familiar topics, but also broaden these activities into other curriculum areas. It will include ideas from several ERASMUS-funded projects, a resource on transport geographies, a project for the British Red Cross and work completed in the classroom by pupils.

So there'll be plenty on digital mapping and its use in the classroom.

You’ll leave the session with some practical pedagogical resources to adopt and adapt, and ideas for personal innovation, as well as introducing some free tools and mobile apps.

Matt Podbury has shared some of the other Geography names who will be presenting at the event over on his fine GeographyPods site.

See you there?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

New updated Mapstream page

A few years ago now, I wrote a whole suite of lessons for Edina's MapStream for Schools service. For those who don't know what this is, it's a streaming service for the Ordnance Survey's mapping. Unlike Digimap for Schools, which has a set of tools that come with it, this provides a stream of the maps themselves, which can then be visualised by another GIS tool, such as QGIS.

Check out the updated website… and the resources… and MapStream….

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Luminocity3D Urban Map

This amazing map was launched this week and will be of tremendous value to anyone who is exploring the changing size of urban spaces over the years. This means anyone studying GCSE or the current (and new) 'A' level Geography specifications.
It uses the same engine as Luminocity 3D, which I've blogged about previously….
Click on cities to see their growth over time.

60 000 views

On the blog. Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New features on Digimap for Schools endorsed me

A couple of new additions to the growing list of features for subscribers to Digimap for Schools.

From the EDINA blog...
Today the Digimap for Schools team release two new wonderful features – 1950s OS historic mapping and a text box tool.
The 1950s mapping fill in the mid point time period between the 1890s and current OS mapping.  The 1950s mapping are perfect for comparing changes over time and exploring the landscape, urban areas, road network and other features of post-war Britain.
We’ve made a small tweak to the interface to enable the selection of any two time periods, using the buttons and the slider (shown below) you can choose whether to view 1890s, 1950s or mapping from today, and any combination of two maps.
New map selection and slider
When a decade button is blue, click it to toggle it off and switch on the other map.  You can watch a demo video on the Digimap for Schools YouTube Channel
The 1950s mapping is lovely to look at and a wonderful addition to the mapping available in Digimap for Schools.  The maps have been provided by the National Library of Scotland.
The other great feature we’ve added, is the ability to add a text box to your map.  Until now, users have only been able to add short text labels which is a bit restrictive when you want to write a longer piece of information to annotate the map.
The Text Box tool can be found in the Annotations Toolbar in a sub-menu of the Label tool.
Text box tool
Click to activate the tool and click on your map to add the Text Box.  Then simply click in the box to start typing.  Resize the box to display as much text as you like!
There's also a quote from a user of the service...

"This new map layer offers scope for further historical comparisons of local areas, and the impact of more recent changes than the previous 1890s addition.
I traced the railway network that used to pass through my village before Beeching's cuts, and looked for clues of the many farms that now lie beneath the urban sprawl of Milton Keynes. I traced the transformation of the Isle of Dogs, and the steady infill of housing in small villages.
The new maps are the latest in the continued improvements that are being made to this essential tool for the Geography department"

Alan Parkinson, Head of Geography at King’s Ely (Junior) School

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