Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Coal Authority Maps

The Coal Authority has a GIS site where you can identify the locations of previous activity to mine for coal.

This was a big part of my life growing up in South Yorkshire. My grandfather and other family members were coal miners and we knew there were coal seams running under our village and surrounding areas - I remember a house collapsing from subsidence once. Now you can find these signs of the past on this map from the Coal Authority.

The miners' strike was something else I remember well. Several friends spent a lot of time marching and fund raising. Our minibus was occasionally stopped when carrying out undergraduate fieldwork as the police thought we might be flying pickets.

The village where I lived was only a few miles from the Maltby Colliery, and there was a lot of ill feeling between those who stayed out and those who went back. Orgreave was only about four miles from home too and the TV coverage of the time was all over the local news in the evening. This was a desperate time for many. There has been a number of recent TV dramas and documentaries as it is now coming up to 40 years on from the strike - amazingly.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

All aboard the Windrush Line

A lot of coverage of this story this week, not all of it positive. 

Londoners have become very familiar with the names of the underground lines, including the new Elizabeth Line (originally Cross Rail) and the Jubilee line (with their Royal choice of names). Now Sadiq Khan has outlined new names for the overground lines to aid discussions about particular routes - Londoners and visitors will quickly adapt to their new names, but there have been some predictable moans about the nature of the names... from the usual suspects.

In Year 7, we study the story of the Windrush generation, through the use of the book 'Windrush Child' from the late Benjamin Zephaniah.

Image source: Transport for London

The Windrush Line will run through several areas associated with the Windrush migrants (in London at least).

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Hunger Map from the World Food Programme


 I've featured this before, but it's worth another look.

A range of data which is dramatically presented and makes a vivid impression.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Mapping the Great Kanto Earthquake


Over the years, I've had a great many links suggested by Keir Clarke's Google Maps Mania (now Maps Mania).

Yesterday saw the centenary of the Great Kanto Earthquake which led to fires which devastated the wooden buildings of Tokyo at the time. The Nikkei newspaper created a map which can be read in English (or Japanese).


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Wildfire Map using ESRI Data

A new map, using data from ESRI's Living Atlas. Zoom into an area to see what Wildfires are active.

Thanks to Addy Pope for the tipoff.

The 22 data layers used in this application can be found in ArcGIS Living Atlas:

Environmental Protection Agency – Ecoregions and Air Quality Current and Tomorrow
National Aeronautics and Space Administration – MODIS and VIIRS
National Weather Service – Temperature Forecast, Wind Speed, Weather Watches and Warnings
US Department of Agriculture – Drought Monitor
US Census – Census 2020 Redistricting Blocks and American Community Survey
USDA Forest Service – Wildfire Burned Areas, Wildfire Hazard Potential, Forest Type Groups, and Forest Carbon Pools
US Fish and Wildlife Service – Critical Habitat
US Geological Survey – National Land Cover Database and Protected Areas Database
Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information (IRWIN) – Wildfire Points
National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) – Wildfire Perimeters
Nature Serve – Imperiled Species
Esri – 2023 Demographics and World Ecological Landforms

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Wartime imagery released


Historic England has opened up an archive of aerial photography from the Second World War. 

There are quite a lot of images of Norfolk as there were a lot of airfields operating at the time, with personnel from a range of countries. There were several airfields within five miles of where I live now, and there is a particular curve in the road near Beeston where I can imagine that the landscape is absolutely unchanged since the 1940s and would be recognisable by anyone from back then. It also reminds me of the temporal connections made in Powell and Pressburger's 'A Canterbury Tale'.

There is also a link to a whole generation of GA Presidents of the 1940s-1960s, who worked in aerial reconnaisance and image interpretation during the Second World War.

Check out the relevant posts on this link, with thanks to Brendan Conway for additional research. This is an area that deserves a little more attention I think.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Neighbourhood Colors


Another tipoff from the excellent Google Maps Mania.

It works for Berlin only... and creates a postcard with proportional shaded areas showing land use in your chosen neighbourhood.

Monday, July 24, 2023

GI Pedagogy

I previously posted about my regret at the ending of the UK's involvement with the ERASMUS+ programme following our withdrawal from the EU. Whenever I've met and worked with European friends and colleagues since then, they have expressed their sadness and bafflement at that decision. We can only hope that it might be reversed at some point.

The GI Pedagogy project was my 'final' involvement and last week we got the final assessment back from the British Council with a VERY GOOD assessment, which had improved on the original project bid - which is always good to see, and which commented on the quality of the outputs and support for teachers.

If you are thinking of increasing your use of GIS in the classroom please check out our website for the resources that we created as part of the project. The innovative aspect of our work is the use of Rosenshine's Principles to help inform the teaching with GIS.

These include:

- Our lesson template.

- Research reports on best practice when teaching with GIS. I contributed to all of these, but was particularly involved in the creation of the TOOLKIT. I'm very pleased with how that turned out.

- Check out our MOOC - free access, and full of useful videos and other resources

- A StoryMap of outcomes from people who have used our model.

Saturday, July 22, 2023


A cross posting from my Fieldnotes from Iceland blog. Check out the almost 500 posts on Iceland here...

This map site provides visual summaries of the neighbourhood demographics of a number of cities around the world. It's not meant to be entirely serious, but is worth taking a look at.

Here's the result for Sheffield.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Mapmaker - launched in Beta

 MapMaker was launched at the ESRI User Conference earlier in the week.

Back in 2010-12 I travelled the country leading GIS sessions with Jason Sawle, using an ESRI product called Digital Worlds.  We visited cities up and down the country at the time. Jason is now Global Schools Manager at ESRI, and was involved in the launch of MapMaker.

Try the tool here:

This might be the tool that you find the most useful from the various ESRI options.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Streets GL

Thanks to Keir and colleagues for the tipoff to this useful resource.

Evening falls over King's Ely.


Monday, May 15, 2023

Pathways to Ancient Britain - R4 and Virtual Tour

Radio 4's 'Costing the Earth' series broadcast a programme on the 18th of April called 'Losing our History'. It featured the Norfolk Coast and the village of Happisburgh. 

There are over 400 episodes available.

A recent issue of the programme explored the impact of erosion on historical remains.

For more on this, visit the Pathways to Ancient Britain (PAB) virtual tour of the area around Happisburgh. There are some particularly important archaeological sites on the coast.

This is developed using Google Earth.

Friday, May 12, 2023

GIS - a new Tutor2U blog series

 GIS is a growth area, but one which many teachers are still unsure about.

I worked with Brendan Conway on the GI Pedagogy project, which has now concluded. Our resources are available on the hub.

Brendan has also teamed up with Tutor2U to produce a series of posts about GIS.

The first two are now up. A link to the first is here:

& the second is here:

Saturday, April 08, 2023

How well do you know your area?


Details from the Census 2021 have been turned into quizzes by the team from ONS who have frequently created and shared interactive comment.

How well do you know your area?

There is a wide range of questions here to choose from.

Give it a go. It's embedded below: 

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Using the new 2021 Census mapping - a student guide

Thanks to Ahmad Barclay for the heads-up (once again) on ONS data and map releases from the Census 2021.

These maps are going to be very helpful for a lot of teachers and students. 

I put a quick guide together which you are welcome to use / download / distribute: 

Census data and maps are shared under an Open Government License.