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


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


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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New VR article in Independent Education Today journal...

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article on the visit that Shailey Minocha and colleague Ana from the Open University, as part of their work with Google Expeditions.
I submitted the article and forgot about it.

It's now available to view online as it's been published in the latest issue of 'Independent Education Today'
They got my job title a little wrong, but otherwise the article was just about as I wrote it.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Google Earth and Satellite Image workflow

Earlier today, was contacted by Mark Brandon, who let me know about a workflow that he had put together to get satellite imagery into Google Earth.
Mark wanted to explore getting satellite images into Google Earth, and used Worldview as the data source.
Mark has provided a really helpful step by step guide, and even made a short film, which can be seen below:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Little Planets

Thanks to Karl Donert for the reminder of this post on the Google Earth blog which describes the "little planets" created by Janis Petke.
There's an example shown below, of London. I love these. There are some instructions for how to go about making your own, but I guess they take quite a long time. I have an app which produces a similar effect, but nowhere near as detailed and crisp as these.

Images made by Janis Petke

Friday, November 18, 2016

Starbucks StoryMap

A few months ago, I finished some work for COSTA and created a StoryMap to connect with the work. Here's another one, that was produced to tell the story of Starbucks.
Another example of the power of StoryMaps.

Friday, October 28, 2016

New Digimap for Schools resources

There is a whole new set of resources now available to download to accompany the Digimap for Schools tool.

They have been written by Will Tuft, and although they are written with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence in mind, they would be useful for anybody teaching the relevant topics.

If you want to hear more of Will's work, you can hear him being interviewed by John Johnston on the EduTalk Radio podcast website.
He is talking about his ideas for the immersive classroom. This involves an element of storytelling, suspension of disbelief, and setting up the classroom around a particular scenario.  It was interesting to hear that I got a mention near the start of the programme, when Will describes how Russel Tarr and Matt Podbury's lessons based on my Ice Man book were the inspiration for the work. Will be seeing Russel and Matt next week at Practical Pedagogies (of which more to come on the blog over the next week or so...)

Check out Will's blog here too, for some of his ideas.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

400th post

This blog has developed quite a lot since the original incarnation when I started a project to support the appearance of Google Earth.
Thanks for reading so far. Plenty of mapping and developments still to come I'm sure….