Monday, June 26, 2017

Google Earth Education

Launched in the last day or so: a new set of tools and resources and a rebrand for Google Earth continues, with this new Google Earth Education section.
See the resources and tools here.

More to come when I get the chance to explore in more detail...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Shailey Minocha's Professorial Lecture

I've been involved with Shailey Minocha's work for just over a year. She was kind enough to visit our school twice to demonstrate Google Expeditions, and we also helped with a research paper she was writing with colleagues.


She gave her professorial lecture on Tuesday of this week. I was invited, but was unable to attend. Here's a trailer for it...



Shailey Minocha is a Professor in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at The Open University. Her research has two strands: learning technologies and social computing.
Professor Minocha will show how virtual worlds bridge time and places, interleaving the virtual with the real – allowing people to communicate and collaborate with those whom they may have never met, experience places they may never be able to visit, shop, learn, and do research.
Professor Minocha will look at how virtual worlds provide ‘real’ experiences in ‘created’ environments – ‘as if I have met them’, or ‘as if I have visited that place’. Online technologies also provide real experiences beyond the physical world.  She will show how in a virtual world, people can “become” an avatar of their liking, fly, become microscopic, travel to the moon or visit the International Space Station, or look at the rock structures underneath the ground on which they are standing.


Good to see King's Ely getting a mention in Shailey's thanks.




You can watch the lecture here.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

ESRI Children's Map

I love this new map layer for ArcGIS Online...

How is your area represented?


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Highs and Lows...

A 3D StoryMap of the world's highest and lowest places...

Friday, June 02, 2017

UK County Word Cloud project

Please fill in one or two counties if you have the time...

Friday, May 12, 2017

New Google Earth

New Google Earth has been released, and there are some good (and not so good) elements. These are my initial thoughts on first look during this week.

It's now optimised for Chrome and also for DESKTOP machines, so won't work on my MacBook Air at the moment, which is a bit annoying... It also won't work on mobile devices. And it won't work on my classroom desktop machine which is an HP - just hangs and tells me it's loaded 0 of billions.... This is a little inconvenient, but at least you can still use older versions such as the Google Earth Pro I've been using for a few years.

It looks good if you can get it to work, and there are plenty of new features - some of which aren't too useful... but some of which will speed up its use: the search function is much improved for example.


The switch from 2D to 3D reveals (in many but not all locations) some interesting 3D renderings of aerial scenes. This was a bit random - switching from 2D to 3D provides a new Ken Burns style rotation, but it's hard to get the view to exactly as you want it, and then it tends to be quite a low level flat view, without the option to see distant landscapes. Having said that, the effect is really very impressive if you go to a location where it's enabled, which is not the whole of the UK yet it seems. Cities work well. Ely is still flat, and has lost other elements too, whereas Norwich and Sheffield work really well.

There are some new stories which have been curated for the new Earth, such as HOME.
The HOME stories are also trailed in the Google Earth extension which I have on Chrome, which shows a new aerial view each time I open a window.
From an article on the launch:


Google Earth’s Gopal Shah said: ‘With the new Earth, we want to open up different lenses for you to see the world and learn a bit about how it all fits together; to open your mind with new stories while giving you a new perspective on the locations and experiences you cherish.
‘It’s everything you love about Google Earth, plus new ways for you to explore, learn and share. Zoom in and see what adventures await you in the new Google Earth.’
I've not tried it with my 3D Space Explorer mouse yet either to see whether that works well.

Update
The Google World Wonders site which I worked on a few years ago also seems to have disappeared... I luckily downloaded all the education packs several years ago, and have then on my Mac.
Also finally worked out by holding down tab and scrolling you can tilt the view...

Does anybody else have any thoughts on the new Google Earth?

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Lyme Regis - the case for hard engineering

A great ESRI StoryMap exploring coastal defences in Lyme Regis...

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Human Atlas of Europe

The Human Atlas of Europe: A continent united in diversity
A review

Here are three important dates to remember for geographers…

· June 23rd 2016 – the EU referendum is held
· March 29th 2017 – Article 50 triggered
· April 24th 2017 – publication of the new Human Atlas of Europe

Policy Press previously published a Social Atlas of Europe, with the same author team in 2014, which explored European identify through a range of different facets.

This Atlas explores provides a human perspective on Europe as it exists today, and explores how it might look in the future. The motto of the EU is “United in Diversity”, and the authors explore the strength that this diversity offers, viewing ‘Europe’ as a single large area stretching from Iceland to Turkey. A reference map at the start identifies the 43 countries that are included in the maps, and their part in the evolution of the European Union.

Ben Hennig’s innovative and bold cartograms and other diagrams will be familiar to many, since their first use in Worldmapper. They also formed part of the more recent LondonMapper project. For those who haven’t seen Ben’s gridded-population cartograms, their construction is explained. The presentation of the mapping is crisp, and the consistent layout of the pages and colour ramps that are used allow for easy comparison between indicators across the atlas as a whole.

The atlas is split into a number of sections, each with mapping based around a theme. These are Population, Wealth and Poverty, Health, Education, Work, Environment, Politics, Identity and Culture and EU budget. Each theme also allows for an exploration of demographic issues such as an ageing population, the pensions ‘timebomb’ and changing voting patterns.

The data used to construct the maps are drawn from a range of authoritative sources, all clearly identified in the appendix. We learn many things from them: the huge number of asylum seekers hosted by Germany, the draw of Spain for people born abroad, the fact that Turkey and the UK have a third of Europe’s prison population between them, and the variations in dental treatment across Europe. The maps are accompanied by pie and bar charts, which bring some of the data patterns into sharper focus.

Full-page maps are accompanied by a ‘top five’ and ‘bottom five’ for the relevant social indicators, showing regions which lie at the extremes of each data set. These assist in further analysis of specific trends. Each map also have a written commentary, which suggest further areas for investigation. The maps pose many interesting questions for further enquiry: why does Monaco have twice as many telephone lines as any other country? why do so many Portuguese have no schooling? why are the Dutch the ‘happiest’ in Europe? why do the Macedonians value their friends the most? The authors are adept at bringing out the geographical stories underpinning the maps.

The inclusion of a Eurovision Song contest map for the 2015 contest is an illustration of the flexibility of Ben Hennig’s cartograms for exploring and visualising contemporary social data.

The dedication of the Atlas to the late Jo Cox, who was killed in the run-up to the referendum, and to those migrants who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe is a poignant reminder of the importance of these issues, and the duty that geography teachers as educators have to keep them in the spotlight. It is essential that curriculum time is found to study them. In the act of curriculum making they participate in daily, this atlas will be an essential catalyst for teacher-pupil discussions, and an authoritative source of information as we move towards a post-Brexit world. As the authors say in the concluding paragraph:

“Where else but in Europe do so many have so much without realising what they have? Europe is a continent that is truly united in such diversity”.

Details
Authors: Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and Ben Hennig
Policy Press, April 2017
ISBN: 978-1447313540


The book is just £16 at the time of writing from the publisher’s own website: https://policypress.co.uk/the-human-atlas-of-europe

For more of Ben Hennig’s maps, check out his blog here: http://www.viewsoftheworld.net/

Danny Dorling’s website always contains further details on the books he has written, and provides a gateway to his writing: http://www.dannydorling.org/

Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy by Policy Press (although I would have bought one for my department as a reference copy)

Digimap review - a chance to get involved

The service is run through the University of Edinburgh, and there is now a project underway to assess the overall impact of the mapping service across those schools which make use of it.

I'm going to be sharing my views, and there is an opportunity for you to share yours.

You can contact Michael Gallagher here if you'd like to be involved in adding your views to the review of the service.
There are now over 2700 schools using the service, which is a real success compared to the numbers when I first got involved, and was asked to write some of the resources for secondary teachers.
Here's Michael's request - you'll notice it is not just Geography teachers that he is interested in speaking to.

I would love to speak to any and all teachers in the UK interested in ICT use as part of their teaching. Not a geography teacher? Not a problem. I want to speak to teachers across the curriculum. History, literature, science, math, and geography. This evaluation is not only about Digimap, but also about ICT use broadly. Not confident in your ICT use? Not a problem. Never used Digimap? Truly not a problem. I want to learn more about your teaching and how ICT enters into that (or not, depending). I want to learn about your teaching approaches, want to know what you think are barriers to attainment and satisfaction, what you see are some of the larger issues surrounding incorporating these types of applications into your teaching.

Remember that the service is updated with new features regularly.
Most recently, there is the chance to view GeoGraph photos through the Digimap service.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fieldwork Questionnaire

GIS and Google Earth are often used to map fieldwork data... Is there a training need there?

One of the things launched at the recent GA conference in Guildford was a questionnaire on fieldwork and outdoor learning which was developed by Philip Monk and other colleagues on the Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group.

If you had time to fill the survey in, that would help to inform the GA's future support for Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning.
It's embedded below as well if you had time to help out.


One of the really useful resources that I picked up at the conference was from the Field Studies Council, and is a guide to GIS.

They also offer a range of CPD courses for teachers at a low price.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

ArcGIS Online now free for all UK schools

We have been using ArcGIS Online in school for several years now, and ESRI UK have kindly given us a free subscription for the last few years so that we can share our work.

At the end of the Awards presentation at this week's GA Conference Stuart Bonthrone, the MD of Esri UK stood up and made an announcement which was in some ways inevitable after events previously in the USA, and also very welcome.


Stuart announced that from immediate effect, ArcGIS Online will be free to all UK schools.

Under the heading of "The Science of Where", Stuart then played a short video featuring the inspirational work of Thierry Torres and colleagues at Dover Grammar School.


If you want to know more, and sign up your school, head for the ESRI UK Schools page.



I also had the chance to meet Steve Richardson, who is being employed to produce new resources and materials for teachers to encourage more use of the tool in classes.
There are already over 60 resources available, with plenty more to come.



Finally, check out the GeoMentors programme, which pairs up schools with GIS professionals.

Sign up your school now

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pixelmap

A new mapping tool, and a way of creating simple and striking maps of the world, or individual countries.
These are created by selecting options from the tool, including the map projection, and location. Choose a shape for the 'pixels' and colours for land and water. Finally, choose the size and spacing of the 'blocks' that make up the finished map.
Here's the UK for example....
Download the finished map in various formats.
Follow the links and you will find other mapping options from the same site, including weather options.

Friday, March 31, 2017

River Tees - from source to mouth

Cracking work by Steve Richardson, using Esri StoryMap tool.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Lego-ifier

Mapping tool which turns world maps into Lego... really excellent...
Nice work by John Nelson and Vanni Zhang.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Google Earth at the movies...

Five years ago, I came across the story of a man who had found his way home using Google Earth, or at least that was the headline. As a five year old, Saroo Brierley had become separated from his family as a five year old, and ended up being adopted by an Australian couple after travelling across country by train. He was determined to find his way home, and through the use of Google Earth, and his memories, he was able to trace his steps back to the village in India where his family still lived. He'd remembered enough images and landmarks to navigate his way to his home village despite there being so many other similar villages. I blogged about the story, and used it to show the power of Google Earth in some CPD sessions that I ran at the time...

The story has now been made into a film starring Dev Patel, who rose to fame with 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
The film makers worked with Google Earth to ensure the accuracy of the visuals.

There's also a feaurette here, which includes some information on how Saroo used Google Earth to locate his family.

From the descriptions in the interviews, it seems that Saroo had a similar mind-expanding experience when he first downloaded Google Earth as many geographers did - he could see the potential for solving a problem he had had all his life... we could see the potential for opening students' minds to the wonder of the earth. Visit Saroo's site to see some additional videos, including the one that first introduced me to the story.