We will remember them...

Image Over to Ely Cathedral yesterday for another poignant Remembrance service. A reminder of my Great Grandfather's name on Tyne Cot, as taken for me by Paul Berry.


OS GetOutside Champions - a chance to join the initiative

Keep an eye out in the next few days for a chance for you to be part of the next group of people who will be championing the outdoors along with the Ordnance Survey.

I've really enjoyed my two years being part of the Champions group, and am debating whether I should apply to continue (which I'd really enjoy) or step down to allow a new face to join the GetOutside team. There will no doubt be a record number of applications for this oppportunity.

I'll share the details when they are launched.

Image result for getoutside champions

The Great Flood

If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water
Philip Larkin

This week, communities in South Yorkshire have once again been hit by flooding after torrential rainfall led to rivers overflowing and rainfall entering homes in Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster and other places.
I've been exploring images and stories from many familiar places in those towns and cities.

This book by Edward Platt explores our relationship with flooding. 
I started reading it the day before the flooding happened.

I've been storing some images from the most recent flood onto my Pinterest account in a folder.

A review from the New Statesman.

Some details of the book are here.

You can listen to five extracts from the book on the Radio 4 website, as it has been a recent Book of the Week.

Some thoughts from an interview with the author.

GA and DEFRA - new resources

A new set of resources produced by the GA in association with DEFRA is now available.

It's good to see that the GA and the DEFRA are still working together. One of the many jobs I had when I was with the GA was to attend meetings of a group of organisations, brought together by, and hosted at DEFRA HQ along from Tate Bankside

Here's a description of the resources for you.

Our natural environment is something we often take for granted, and its intrinsic and subtle values are often overlooked. The way we treat our environment has become a ‘hot topic’, especially amongst young people, who are rising up to have their voices heard and take action to secure the  environment’s future protection. To improve the natural environment at scale, many more people need to understand it and help protect it. As such, it is critical that the natural environment, and the way that humans interact with it, is studied across all key stages.
Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to hand over our environment to the next generation in a better condition than when we inherited it. The 25YEP announced 2019 as a Year of Green Action to  make it easier for people to get involved in improving the natural world and spread the word about environmental issues. This is providing a focal point for organisations, individuals, communities and businesses to learn more about their environmental impact and take action to reduce it. The Year of Green Action is ‘an opportunity for everyone to get involved and enthused about restoring nature…with all having a part to play’.
The 25YEP put children and young people at the heart of the Year of Green Action, to help them play an active part in decision-making for their future. The #iwill campaign, of which government is a partner is encouraging more young people to take social action for the environment.
Schools and geography teaching play a vital role in engaging children and young people with the natural environment. At Key Stages 1-3, students are expected to make observations and experience fieldwork in human and physical environments in order to understand features, and how human activity is both reliant upon natural systems and influences these systems, processes and resources. Each of the reformed GCSE specifications have an expectation that students consider environmental services and ecosystem functioning, how resources are consumed, how humans change ecosystems, and sustainability. At Key Stage 5, students are required to understand how human activity influences landforms over time, changing places, environmental management, geopolitics of resources and global governance, and how natural cycles influence resource security.
The Resources
These GA resources, produced with support from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), aim to encourage young people to explore, understand and spend time in the natural environment, both locally and further afield.

More Geography Teachers wanted...

We need more folks to consider joining the profession, partly as old folks like me come towards retirement but also as there are more young geographers who need inspiring. One option is to apply for the RGS-IBG Scholarship programme.

Details here:

Jersey SMP

Going to take a closer look at this. 

Useful as a nice little self-contained case study of coastal management on an island, which is a self contained unit - often we consider cells which are impacted by those updrift or downdrift of them, or where sea defences impact on the processes along a particular stretch.

Flooding in South Yorkshire

There were memories here of previous flooding that has affected these cities, such as in 2007.
Familiar locations flooded and water collecting in well known spots.
Been collecting images and stories this morning and filing them away on Pinterest and other places.

As it happens, I've also started reading this book this week.
Image result for platt flooding

Uncovering new lands

One phenomenon which was always going to happen as the ice retreated from the Arctic, was that areas that were assumed to be either all land or all sea were going to turn out to be ice covered archipelagos and new islands.

The Russians have announced the 'discovery' of five new islands in the Arctic.

There will be many more to come.
CNN has more on this story.

Image: Val Vannet - Greenland 'Iceberg Alley'

Booth's Poverty Maps

The LSE have put together an excellent new site to showcast the poverty maps of Charles Booth.

These were maps of London which mapped the state of the housing and residents across London.
The LSE has a strong connection with the GA, as many Presidents were linked with the LSE, including people who co-founded it. The GA Conference was also held at the LSE for many years, as you can read over on my GA Presidents blog.

The maps have also been turned into a book, which looks rather beautiful.

Italy - putting sustainability in education

Italy is making sustainability and climate crisis compulsory. 
This is an interesting move given debates at the moment about "putting climate change on the curriculum" - and also given that geographers explore climate change.

We have had 'compulsory' climate change in Geography for years of course, in those schools that follow the NC


A useful Tim Harford piece on the value of GPS.

Worth exploring this with students, once they know what GPS is of course....

One for the GI Pedagogy project as well perhaps.

Factfulness resources shared by Matt Podbury

Image may contain: 1 personGo over to GeographyPods for some excellent new Factfulness work which has been shared. Links in the post below....

Factfulness SOW - I have been trialing some KS3 mini units of work on the Factfulness work by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund.

Good news is that the kids seem to have really enjoyed them. The 25 copies of the books that were bought have also been taken away to be read by some of the younger students too!

Y7/G6 - http://www.geographypods.com/g6-factfulness.html - focusing on the authors, approaching bad news, how to read the bubble chart, the gap instinct, the four levels (including a ready to go card sort activity).

Y8/G7 - http://www.geographypods.com/g7-factfulness.html Are you smarter than a chimp?, Is the world getting worse?

Y9/G8 - http://www.geographypods.com/g8-factfulness.html Walking down Dollar Street (breaking development stereotypes).

I'm hoping that promoting this type of critical thinking will pay dividends at KS4 & KS5. I'll be refining and adding stuff to the units when I tackle them again next year.

Feel free to take anything within, adapt and try out with your students. It's all free to access.

PS - Blockposters works really well if you want to have a large classroom copy of the bubble chart (see second photo). File here: https://www.scribd.com/document/430632637/Gapminder-World-Health-Chart

Remember this?

Teachers of a certain age will remember this... We had a copy in the school where I taught.

Thought for the Day

Rex Walford, 2000

Live on the Move - migrants in the Horn of Africa

An animation by Osbert Parker.

LIFE ON THE MOVE: Theatrical Cut from osbert parker on Vimeo.

Here are some details from the website where it is located.

What is the film about?
LIFE ON THE MOVE – is an animated short that explores compelling personal stories from migrants who move across borders in and around the Horn of Africa. The film disrupts mainstream media coverage of migration as a problem by combining academic research with stop motion animation to bring complex social, economic and personal reasons behind migration to life in a more holistic narrative.

What influenced it?
The film is inspired by a multitude of migrant experiences as a way of visualizing social and economic ‘push and pull’ factors, that fuel the different reasons why people move across borders and migration routes. The film is directly influenced by the (MLT) Migration Leadership Team’s research and true-life testimonies conducted in Hargesia, Somaliland by PositiveNegatives.
A little background information...

The (LIDC-MLT) London International Development Centre Migration Leadership Team is leading a series of global conversations with academics, policy and practice experts, artists and migrants. This is a collaborative production, involving multi award-winning film maker Osbert Parker, LIDC-MLT, non-profit organisation PositiveNegatives, artist and graphic novelist Karrie Fransman with field work facilitated by the International Organisation for Migration. The research film is an animation, that tells multiple complex stories on mixed migration and is intended to be used as a tool that may inspire other researchers to engage in similar arts-based collaborations looking to develop impact from their research.

OS Spooky Halloween Map

A spooky OS map.

Ötzi back in the news

Thanks to Simon Hathaway for this link to a CNN story.
Scientists have looked at where the mosses found on the body of the Ice Man are located. This assumes they were also there in the same place several thousands years ago of course.

Book still available from Amazon.

Keywords Geography App

I was contacted by Joanna Norton, who I spoke to after my session at the Practical Pedagogies Conference in Cologne last year, and who has worked to produce a language app to support young people with the academic language of Geography. 

Keywords Geography is FREE, and available for both iOS and Android devices, and emerged from a 3-year research study carried out by linguists at Trinity College, Dublin. 

Converting this valuable data to a mobile application extends the reach of the findings. 

These would be useful for ESOL students and colleagues as well.

Joanna is keen to develop a community of practice around the use of the App, and contributing to its ongoing developments.

The app has a series of sections, each of which includes audio to explain how to pronounce key words, as well as give examples of their usage in context.

The links to the apps are below for download from the appropriate App store.

Keywords Geography (iOS) https://apple.co/2Ec4lMj

Keywords Geography (android) https://goo.gl/3o3cXf

Energy Slaves

An impressive comic by Stuart McMillen

How many energy slaves does it take to support our modern lifestyles?

Also check out the comic exploring the impact of introducing reindeer to a remote Arctic island.

Brighton and Hove GA Branch Events

66th Lecture Programme 2019 - 20 

All lectures will be held at BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Road, HOVE, BN3 6EG. 

Wednesday 20th November 2019 at 5.00pm, BHASVIC “Migration and modern slavery” Richard Lancashire, Sussex Police 

Tuesday 10th December 2019 at 5.00pm, BHASVIC "Tourism, Economy and Conservation within the South Downs National Park” Amanda Elmes and Katharine Beer, South Downs National Park Authority 

Tuesday 21st January 2020 at 5.00pm, BHASVIC "The Future of London as a Global Financial Centre" Dr Frank Brouwer, University of Sussex 

Tuesday 11th February 2020 at 5.00pm, BHASVIC “Droning on: The application of small-Unmanned Aircraft Systems in geographical and environmental research” Dr Niall Burnside, University of Brighton 

Tuesday 10th March 2020 at 5.00pm, BHASVIC ‘The British Empire in 1838: Three Kinds of Freedom that shaped the modern world’ Professor Alan Lester, University of Sussex Other events 

Wednesday 12th February 2020 World Wise Quiz Varndean School, Brighton Details to follow 

Thursday 30th April 2020 at 6.00pm, BHASVIC AGM of the Brighton and District Branch followed by an illustrated talk 

Thursday 18th June 2020 Local Evening Field Excursion Seven Sisters Country Park - details to follow

Fearghal - "the coolest Geography teacher in the UK"

I've been using some materials from the Water Diaries this last half term, particularly the expedition planning scheme that was written to accompany the RGS Land Rover Bursary funded project.

This Red Bull site shows some of Fearghal's travels which have been run alongside his teaching career apparently earning him the description in the title of the blog post.

Take a look and see what you think.

Guardian Mapping Course.

Booked and heading for this course in February 2020

Here's the description.

Everything happens somewhere. That’s geography.
It’s hard to think of any problem or opportunity that exists, that doesn’t contain an inherent value or have a geospatial value. Geography is social, a form of visual communication, and maps are incredible sources of storytelling.

If you want to unlock the endless possibilities of geography and the mystery of map-making, all you need is your curiosity and creativity (and a laptop, if you like) - and to come to this class. With Paul Naylor and Charley Glynn, visual data design consultants for Ordnance Survey, you will be taken through the theories behind the art of cartography, as well as how maps can be the foundation of any narrative - helping you to convey your message quickly, clearly and with great impact.

Regardless of your level or ability, you will learn how geo data can be used as a key ingredient for a very diverse range of applications, from building maps for your website to learning how to craft compelling infographics. You will also learn the theory and practice behind the art of visualising with geo data, ultimately coming away with a strong understanding of the principles of cartographic design, and the toolkits used to design a web or mobile map.

SAGT Conference 2019 #1 - The reason for going...

The SAGT Conference has been an annual visit for me for most of the last 15 years other than when I have been abroad on other trips.
The Scottish Association of Geography Teachers has a one day conference, and has keynotes and seminars and a publishers' exhibition.
I've previously attended to man the GA stand, including one year with Margaret Roberts, another with Bob Digby, last year with Stephen Scoffham, and always presented something at the conference, and often won awards there too - which is nice...

This year, I was heading up to present a seminar on the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and a new resource I'm writing for them.

This will be made available via the South Georgia Heritage Trust website.

I'm going to post more about the conference in further forthcoming posts over the next few days, but to get things started, here's a version of the slides that Val Vannet and I used.

Thanks to those who came along to see us speaking.
As previously, the conference was hosted by Dollar Academy below the Ochill range of hills, which once again looked beautiful in the autumn sunshine.

South Georgia also featured in the first episode of David Attenborough's new series Seven World, One Planet, which started on Sunday. Check it out on iPlayer.

Sign up below to hear when the resource pack is ready to be sent out.

Million Neighbourhoods Initiative

Thanks to Carl Lee for the tipoff to this mapping site called the Million Neighbourhoods Initiative.


Click the interactive explainer top left to be shown how the site works.

Or click EXPLORE A CITY to be taken to a city which has

It has been made by the University of Chicago's Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation.

Urban scientists at the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation launched the Million Neighborhoods Map – a groundbreaking visual tool that provides the first comprehensive look at informal settlements across Africa, helping to identify communities most in need of roads, power, water, sanitation and other infrastructure.

Watch the video to find out more aboutt the project, which is about connectivity...

The History of the Earth...

and our place in it...

Film and TV Location Map

ST&G's Great British Film & TV Map: folded or posterI have all the maps which have been made by this company. They work closely with the Ordnance Survey.

Their new map shows the location of Film and TV locations in the UK, along with other details of specific places. There are the locations of cinemas and other film related places as well.

I'm just back from the SAGT conference, of which more to come, and I've previously done a session on the use of the Scottish landscape by Pixar when they made the film 'Brave'. Another series made in the area around Stirling is Outlander, and I noticed quite a few souvenirs related to that area in the visitor centres that I went to.
A good Christmas gift for the geographer in your life.

Atlas of Imagined Islands

New in for the Department, and one to build into a creative unit on islands which I'm planning for Year 7 to get started on for the next year.

I have a range of other exploration related books as well.

Unequal Britain

Dan Olner has produced a useful tool, making use of other code, to put together a little experiment.

The tool is called Two Countries, which gives you a chance to explore the differences in the level of development in different areas of the country, using the 2019 IMD data.

The Lighthouse

Over to Cambridge last night to watch this movie as part of the Cambridge Film Festival. It's a powerful vision of the descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers who find themselves staying beyond their allotted time: "to 4 weeks". The sound design and visuals are fantastic, and black and white is of course the best format for this sort of psychodrama. There are many themes explored with nods to Melville, The Ancient Mariner, mermaids and Prometheus and the theft of fire.

It's also very much about creating and then slowly dismantling a 'place': the rock containing the island, some buildings which need constant maintenance, a large coal pile, some buried whisky and a very persistent seagull.
Catch this when it comes out in the New Year and go for a deep dive which is actually worth it...

London tonight - at the LSE

For those who might see this and be able to make it... Held at the Shaw Library at the LSE, where many GA Conference sessions have been held over the years, particularly in the early part of the 20th century.

Census 2021

In two years time the next Census will, (presumably), happen.

A trial is taking place in 4 areas to check out the online system which will be used where possible to remove the paper forms which had previously been used, and also presumably some slight variations to the questions that are asked since 2011, when the world and the UK were very different places.

Ribble Valley - the happiest place

According to ONS report and this newspaper article.

The Netherlands in 100 Seconds

Dan Raven Ellison's follow-up to his film on the UK is about the Netherlands.
Will amend to a proper link in time, but follow the link from the tweet and play full screen. Another lovely production and worth comparing the two countries perhaps.

Help needed to find images of former GA Presidents

I'm trying to locate images of the following GA Presidents for my GA Presidents blog project, which has a biography of each former GA President (over 100 of them)
I've had help from archivists and other sources to identify most of them, and Andrew Goudie was the latest person to help source several of them. 

I'm down to just a handful of Presidents that I don't have a high quality image of... here they are:

1953: Dr Osbert John Radcliffe Howarth, OBE - I have found an image of a portrait of him, but not an actual photograph of him - will use the portrait if I can't find an image otherwise.

1955: Leonard Sydney Suggate - served on RGS-IBG Council but there is no image in the RGS Archives - He taught at Dorking High School, and at St. Clement Danes Grammar School during the First World War (eventually retiring from there in 1949) - I've had some luck with school archivists before, such as Grainne from Marlborough College, and have contacted the school

1961: Mr. Geoffrey E Hutchings - I have a slightly poor quality image from Balchin's Centenary volume of the GA, but not a decent full face image of him - have contacted the Field Studies Council to see if they can help as he worked at Field Studies Centres

1987: Dr. Graham Humphrys - linked to the University of Swansea and regeneration - I have a small image from Tehmina, a Flickr user who had some images of an event he spoke at in 2010, but will also contact Swansea University to see whether they can help

1988: Mr. Michael J Storm - ILEA School Inspector - he was quite active at the time in terms of writing and other work in Development education, and surprised I couldn't find an image of someone who was President relatively recently

1990: Bryan Ellis Coates

If anyone has any images, or potential leads to where I might find one for these former Presidents, please let me know....

The other thing to say is that I would also be very grateful to receive good images of ANY former GA Presidents, particularly those taken at GA Conferences.

Image: Derby Conference, Alan Parkinson

esri - see what other's can't...

New phone

Time for an upgrade - I tend to time it quite well for new tech, which means I am now the user of a new iPhone 11 Pro, which is very nice, and also in a protective case as shown opposite.

This means I am also running iOS13 which has introduced some new photo editing options and additional tweaks of the OS.

One of the main things people are talking about is the triple camera, and this is indeed an excellent camera. It has three lenses - the wide angle is excellent, new options for controlling videos, and excellent quality images, including a low light option (I have used apps for this sort of thing before)

I've also just upgraded my MacBook Pro to iOS Catalina, so I'm currently right on point, for about the next five minutes...

Check out  myFlickr page for more recent images taken with the new phone.

Georges Perec Geographies

A free PDF download of a book on the geographical influence of Georges Perec.

The value of an atlas...

"The Atlas is the dictionary of the young geographer, and he [sic] must be taught to so regard and use it. It is "guide, philosopher and friend"... a map is no dead thing, but portrays life.... 
Behind the static red line that marks a frontier, there lies the dynamic life that has gone to its making and that still pulsates along it - the hardships, courage and tenacity of a school where character is moulded..."
Clement Cyril Carter, GA President 1939-1941

Worldmapper - Country Quotes needed

Charles Booth's London Poverty Maps

Looks beautiful

Thanks to Rachael Unsworth of the University of Leeds for the tipoff to this book, featuring these classic maps.

There is also a guided walk on the 5th of November, which is unfortunately back in term time.

South Georgia and Attenborough

South Georgia features in the opening shots, and the first episode of the new Attenborough wildlife series 'Seven Worlds, One Planet' - looking forward to this one very much.

SAGT - next weekend

Up to Stirling and Dollar Academy next week to take part in the 2019 Scottish Assocation of Geography Teachers' Conference.
I'm going to be presenting the first elements of a new pack for the South Georgia Heritage Trust, which will be out early in 2020.

Norwich Science Festival - Montserrat Volcano

Sadly I am not going to be able to get to Norwich to see this as I am away.
It's called Disasters Passed?

An exhibit which tells the story of the eruptions and aftermath of the Soufriere Hills Volcano is now on display at the Norwich Science Festival in the United Kingdom.

The interactive exhibit called Mountain Aglow is part of the Disasters Passed? project.

It is a volcano-shaped ‘tent’ where you can explore what it feels like to be caught up in an eruption, the pulse of a volcano’s magmatic heart, and how scientists monitor its changes.

Visitors can listen to recorded songs and stories, and watch the flow of magma that builds up to an explosion. This exhibit is created with and for the people of Montserrat and is at the festival, which runs until October 26.

Presenting at the festival is volcanologist Dr Karen Pascal from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Disasters Passed? is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and is a collaboration between UEA, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, the British and Montserrat Red Cross and Output Arts. “We are very grateful for all the contributions from the community on Montserrat, whose voices you will hear,” said festival organisers.

Dr Pascal explained that the “Disaster passed?” project is three fold: the ‘Mountain aglow’ exhibit which will be given to Montserrat, the ‘NEST’ exhibit intending to engage UK policy-makers and NGOs about appropriate prevention and response to the various hazards encountered in the Caribbean, and a website which bridges the two exhibits and allows for more materials to be displayed.
“Overall “Mountain aglow” is an interactive display, intended to inform the visitors about volcanic risks and how they are mitigated, but it also has a strong socio-economical content and it shows the transformations the country and the population have experienced during the eruption.

The mobile, collapsible structure is pyramid-shaped, big enough for people to enter and be immersed in the exhibit (10 x 10 feet on floor, 10 feet high). It describes on its 6 panels 6 aspects of the eruption: ‘Before and ‘After’ , ‘Moments of Light and Laughter’, ‘The Volcano’s Guts’ (ie volcano monitoring/risk managements), ‘Ash and Falling Stones’, ‘Moving, Crossing and Leaving’ and ‘Volcano Island’. 

These 6 themes emerged from group interviews carried out in Montserrat as well as with the Montserrat diaspora in the UK. In addition to pictures, the panels include relevant excerpts from individual interviews and from calypsos.”

On the 26th at the ‘Small island, big volcano’ event, author and Professor Yvonne Weekes will give a talk about the creative response to Soufrière Hills volcano eruption.

Mountain Aglow will be shipped to Montserrat in time for the Alliouagana Festival of the Word in November for attendees to experience.

“Not only has the exhibit been built in collaboration with Montserratians, but it will also be possible to add more materials to it, for example more audio-materials or different panels. As it is mobile, it can be displayed outdoors. And because of its holistic approach to the volcanic eruption and its socio-economical but also cultural impacts on the island, it can be used in a wide range of contexts, from showing it in schools, risk awareness days, festivals or even for tourists. Not only it will inform the public, Montserratian or not, but we hope it will generate discussions within the Montserratian population,” added Dr Pascal.

Learn more about the exhibit and the science festival at the links below.

The scariest thing about Hallowe'en

Plastic waste...