One chapter finishes, and a new one starts...

Today was my final day as a full-time employee of the Geographical Association. Tomorrow I move into the 3rd phase of my working life...

I will be moving on to new geography-related projects, and am grateful to those who have already offered me some work. Particular thanks to Steve Brace and Eleanor Coulber at the RGS-IBG, Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop and the Catlin Arctic Survey, Andrew Campbell and the team at Harper Collins, the SSAT Humanities team, Karl Donert, the Field Studies Council, Richard Allaway, Ruth Totterdell at the GA and Bob Lang & Paul Cornish, Dave Holmes and Philip Allan, Paul Baker, Katie and the TeachIt team, Jobina at TwigIt and a host of others, who have offered me work of some kind. Apologies if I have missed anyone out - don't worry you'll feature in future blog posts...

There's also a few other exciting things which are in the pipeline and will be announced later in the year...

I shall also still be 'affiliated to the GA':  leading CPD courses for the GA, notably the ESRI / GA GIS courses for beginners and advanced, and the NQT Conferences in November
Keep an eye out for some new GA publications in 2012.

I will also be spending more time on projects for the Geography Collective too: we have the re-launch of MISSION EXPLORE and the launch of DISCOVER:EXPLORE coming up as well as a host of other exciting things.

I shall also be completing some work in Poland, Austria, Scotland and various other locations, and I'm still keeping my eye out for a suitable teaching job in my home area.

Many thanks to all my GA colleagues for their tremendous support over the last three years. Don't forget to JOIN THE GA.

Also, please have your say in our KS3 consultation if you haven't already ! The results of this will matter !

I shall still be blogging here on Living Geography, so keep reading to find out what I get up to and elsewhere and tweeting on @GeoBlogs
Thanks for reading, and best wishes to everyone for the new academic year. It's going to be interesting !

Peak District 1954

Thanks to Andy Knill for the tip-off to this wonderful video of the Peak District in 1954...
This was just a few years before I was born and yet seems like another world !

Mission:Explore now stocked by New Internationalist

Delighted to hear this morning that Mission:Explore is available to buy from the NEW INTERNATIONALIST shop.

If you haven't got your copy yet, CLICK HERE.

City nicknames

The big smoke, LDN, Town...
Image by Sally Parkinson

There are many cities in the world, and many of them are known by several different names...

This Google Document has a growing list of city nicknames - if you have something to contribute to this project then head over there and add your nickname knowledge to this collection of vernacular geography.

Thought for the Day

“None of the tasks of the geography teacher is more urgent, and none is harder, than the quickening of the geographical imagination.”
M. W. Keatinge, Lecturer in Education, Oxford , 1902

GIS in the Geography Classroom...

I've created a GOOGLE FORM related to the use of GIS in KS3 Geography - I'd appreciate your answers to the questions to help prepare for some forthcoming events....

Please let others know about this - the more responses the better....
Thanks in advance for the responses - you can GO HERE for a larger version.

Google Earth Treasure Hunt

The Great Global Treasure Hunt is on.... using Google Earth

Information via Telegraph which has included a handy BASIC GUIDE to Google Earth for those unfamiliar with the tool...

Streets in the Sky

Park Hill has been in my consciousness for the best part of 50 years...
I remember as a young boy visiting Sheffield for shopping (we used to get the 287 bus that stopped outside our house, and it cost 4p to get to Sheffield, either that or we'd get the 69 bus through Attercliffe which cost just 2p) and on arrival at the bus station, we could see the bulk of Park Hill overlooking the railway station and the rest of the city as we walked up past the Crucible theatre and into Fargate....

I've just added a blog post about Park Hill Flats to the Hodder Geography Nest as part of my guest blogging for August, which comes to an end in a few days time...

This YouTube clip has some useful history and details...

Iceberg : 'let us' explore the options...

The idea of towing icebergs from Polar regions to supply water to other areas is not a new one. I remember reading about it when I was a child...
This YAHOO NEWS story revisits the idea.
My initial feeling is that by the time the iceberg gets to where it's supposed to be it will have melted away...

There are various technological and environmental challenges to overcome with this, but it offers a potential technological fix...

High Arctic competition

This is being organised by the National Maritime Museum along with the Cape Farewell project
Competition details here

High Arctic: Future visions of a receding world

High Arctic Competition from National Maritime Museum on Vimeo.

Thanks to Shaf Hansraj for the tipoff via Twitter

‘Our planet is changing. The way we live our lives is affecting the environment, causing melting icebergs, rising seas and extreme weather.’
At the National Maritime Museum, we want to raise awareness of these issues and get other people to think about them too. With help from Cape Farewell andUnited Visual Artists, we’re producing an installation inspired by an expedition to the Arctic. High Arctic uses sound, light and sculpture to recreate the arctic landscape for visitors to discover and explore.
As part of the High Arctic exhibition, we’re also launching a competition – we’re inviting young people to reflect on environmental issues that concern them, and in groups to create a piece of art that communicates their concern for the environment and how the changes are affecting them.

Check out the HIGH ARCTIC exhibition at the museum too.. I need to get to that at some point between now and January 2012.

Irene heads up the east coast

Cities on the Eastern seaboard of the USA are bracing for Hurricane Irene, which is weakening as it heads away from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico...
This might make it into the first week of term as a mention in geography lessons, particularly if there are students whose holiday has been affected...
Andy Murray's preparations for the US Open have been affected by it - a previous tournament it was the teachers' strike of course... ;)
A mandatory evacuation has been announced for the first time in these areas of the USA according to the BBC NEWS.
Check out the CRISIS COMMONS Wiki page for loads of resources and other Irene stuff...

Twitter accounts to follow:

Update 12.18
Updated Threat Level from Fox news via @twc_hurricane

As always, there's a new term to describe the problem: remember the 'snowmageddon' that they had earlier in the year, well now they have a "flightmare...."

Discovering Britain - new from the RGS-IBG

Thanks to Jenny from the RGS-IBG for letting me know about the imminent launch of a new site which offers a fresh look at the UK.

The site is called DISCOVERING BRITAIN.

"We are developing an exciting series of geographically-themed walks across the UK that aim to bring these stories alive and to inspire everyone to explore and learn about our different landscapes."

Look forward to seeing the full site when it appears in just over a month's time....

Enjoying this album at the moment...

On Spotify
Icelandic band...

Vimeo: The Last Days of the Arctic

The Last Days of the Arctic - Trailer from Sagafilm Productions on Vimeo.

Traffic jammed...

According to Ward's Auto, a significant automotive milestone was passed recently...

The world now has more than ONE BILLION CARS !!

New "Made by Joel" paper landscapes...

Have previously blogged about these, when they were featured in Anorak magazine.
Thanks to So-Shan Au for the tip-off to the newest MADE BY JOEL cut outs...

This time round you can have Paris and Sydney and go on a roadtrip... I love them...

Enter through the gift shop...

I have previously blogged about the commercial aspects of the London 2012 Olympics.

A recent article in the Guardian reinforced the connection between retailing and the Olympic Park and the potential impact on other local businesses.

"No matter which sport you are going to see when the third London Olympics begin, a visit to 2012 park will mean one thing – walking though a very large shopping centre first...."

Riots, postcodes, politicians and geography = inequality

Have been working on, and rewriting this post quite a few times over the last week or so....

In a few weeks time, teachers in England returning for the new academic year will discover that some of the students they teach were amongst those in courts over the last few days, or will have recognised some of their faces from the CCTV cameras that were broadcast in the media. Other colleagues will find that students have important questions about what happened in other parts of the country.

The Royal family and various politicians have visited some of the affected areas. Technology is being used to match the details of people taken from hours of CCTV and other footage. Anyone not covering their face is very likely to be identified and it seems that people are coming forward to identify people and thousands have already been through the courts.

Citizenship teachers and geography teachers (perhaps considering their Geography of Crime contexts) may also be exploring the issues which led to the 'riots' (the words used to describe the looting were also a matter for discussion), or the many reasons that were suggested for their rapid spread, or exploring the geographical locations of the unrest and the mapping of the impact.
There has been a wealth of material that has come through the news media but also, more usefully via my Twitter feed, often from retweets of material...
Some of this has been, understandably, measured and thoughtful, and some blogs written by people like Russell Brand have got a lot of publicity.
There have been some other responses, including these 3 videos from the IARS website
This references the 99% CAMPAIGN that I have blogged about previously...

The Guardian DATA BLOG produced some very useful geographical analysis of the data.

The Guardian Datablog released this rather useful map which explores the link between social inequality and the location of verified incidents. Check the related links on the page for various other options including the option to view in Google Earth.

The same blog also has updated STATISTICS ON THE UNREST

There are various connections with geographical themes which are probably worth exploring and thinking through, as students will inevitably have questions and opinions.

There were also two interesting letters in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago now, with thanks to John Connell for guiding me to them...
The first one has an interesting exercise in relativism for Michael Gove, who spoke for the Government after the first night of rioting. The first from John Bloomfield:

Michael Gove leads the Tory law and order brigade on the riots, warning Harriet Harman and Ken Livingstone against "relativising" the issues when they raise the wider social context (Report, 10 August). This is the politician who claimed £7,000 of posh furniture on his parliamentary expenses, including a Chinon armchair and a Manchu cabinet. When caught out, Mr Gove simply repaid the money and continued untroubled with his career. Will it be OK in court for a looter to offer to hand back a stolen TV or a pair of trainers?
Jon Bloomfield
and the second from P.Keenan, which might form the basis for a map-based investigation:

The current disturbances (in London) do not seem to affect an area with a hire bike stand. Is this a clue about social cohesion?
P Keenan
Newcastle upon Tyne
Reminded me also of the infamous Hurricane Katrina coverage on Yahoo News which was rapidly removed, but not before people had captured the different language used to describe people on the flooded streets.

Others have remembered a previous connection between David Cameron and 'hoodies'.

Interestingly there was an article by Ed Miliband from May 2011, on what he has done since he became Labour leader

People see a growing inequality between those at the top and themselves. They ask why it is so hard to make ends meet and why this squeeze is getting tighter.
They worry that their children will have a harder life than they had. They see what I call the promise of Britain – of generational progress – under threat as young people struggle to get on the housing ladder or get a good job. And they see the things that matter beyond the bottom line, such as time, family, place, under strain as never before.
It is these forces that explain why people believe the country is heading in the wrong direction and why it has been for some years.
There was also an excellent article by Lynsey Hanley in the Guardian. Lynsey wrote the excellent book "ESTATES".

I could go on, and this post would be even 'later' than it already is, so let's get it out there and I hope that something here is of use to you...

Migration Channels

Another Twitter tip-off via Tony Burton's @geomexico twitter feed.

A great set of Flash visualisations which show the destinations of migrants from various districts of Mexico into the USA, running along what are called "migration channels".
Explore the links here too...

Here are the 'destinations' of migrants from the Chihuahua region in 2010, for example...

A useful companion piece to the SMUGGLE TRUCKS post I wrote recently...

National Geographic : Geography Awareness resource

The resource that Daniel Raven Ellison and I wrote for the National Geographic Education team is now available on the main National Geographic Education website.

The actual Geography Awareness Week is in mid-November 2011.
In addition to the booklet which I provided a link to last week, there is a poster and other associated documents.
It's all based around exploring the local area: "the Adventure in your Community"
Please download it, have a play and let me know what you think...


Thanks to Rob Chambers for the tipoff to a great free set of tools.
TRIPTICO is a free download, which produces a desktop widget.
It has been developed by David Riley, as a way of offering tools that teachers can customise to their particular subject and year group.
I like a few of the tools in particular, and could see them being of particular use. One of them is a FIND TEN generator, which allows you to create a list of items, with 10 of them being the correct answers. I created one below - e-mail if you'd like a copy - you'll need the TRIPTICO tools in order to use the file...

A list of the current tools - more are in development....

Fancy earning some money to write geography resources ?

The Geographical Association is going to be working with a major web-based publisher to develop a range of geography materials for a subject specific expansion of their existing website through 2011-2012.
I have been ‘recruiting’ a team of colleagues who might be interested in contributing to the launch of this site, and working with me over the coming months to produce a range of quality geography resources. I have a list of names already, but there are spaces for more colleagues to get involved.

I have had lots of responses, but this is another chance for you to get involved as we need a larger team still...

Ideally, you should be a practising geography teacher. 
The aim is for the geography materials to stand out as a source of truly engaging classroom materials. The resources will all be available in editable formats, so teachers will be able to use them creatively, adapting them to suit their own classes and incorporating them within their own schemes of work.

If you'd be interested in principle in contributing some resources, and earning advance payments and ongoing royalties, please contact Katie Green at
  There's no commitment to be involved at this stage, and no guarantee that you will be involved either - simply reply to this email to let me know that you'd like to participate, and we'll be in touch soon.

If you have already been in touch then you are already on the list of potential contributors. We are working on the initial stages of the project and will be in touch as soon as possible.

Met Office: Weather forecasting game

New on the Met Office website
Help Brad the Ice Cream man make decisions on where and when to work....
Helps explore ideas of probability and risk and decision making...
I don't think I'm going to be winning one of those free t-shirts that are on offer....

Mission Explore Newcastle

Image by Flickr user marcusjroberts and shared under CC license with thanks

Sadly, I shall be unable to attend the Mission Explore Newcastle event: 2 days of fun and mission writing...
Apart from missing out on the chance to work with some creative friends and colleagues, it will also mean I can't explore the city as I'd like...

Here are some of my contributions for potential missions that could be carried out:

Compose a toon tune...
Use an audio recorder to capture a range of sound samples: a stick rattled along railings, drumming on the Salmon Cubes, a train rattling over one of the Tyne bridges, and put them together with Audacity to create a Newcastle  tune..
‘Black and White and read all over...’
Look for opportunities for ‘black and whites’ and ‘red and whites’ to come together peacefully. Where is this already happening ?
Tyne Tees...
Plot out an imaginary urban 9-hole golf course that runs through the city. Where would you tee off from and where would the holes be? Put in some ‘hazards’... Will it be up to par?
Newcastle Brown
Get a paint sample chart and turn to the ‘browns’ – how many matches to paint tones can you find in a 10 minute period ?
If Newcastle Brown was a paint, what name would it have ?
Play ‘Geordie bingo’
Print up a card which has the words “canny”, “howay”, “bait” etc. on it and see how many you can cross off by listening to conversations. Which areas of the city are the best for completing the card in a short time
Underground – Overground
Walk the route of one of the Metro lines, above the actual line itself on the surface.

Trump trumped ?

There was a nice ironic story in the news last week that related to environmental management and coastal ecosystems. I have been following this story since late 2008. It relates to the development of a golf resort in the Menie Dunes, funded by Donald Trump.

The development has faced objections (and support) which is taking place in a dramatic area of sand dunes south of Aberdeen: the MENIE DUNES. Trump visited in July 2011, to see the progress so far, and there was some coverage in the media at the time.

There are now plans for a wind farm off the Aberdeenshire coast, which Donald Trump was not pleased about:

"When I first became involved with our billion-pound development – golf course construction is weeks away from completion with a planned opening before 1 July 2012 – I was repeatedly promised, as an incentive for us to go forward and proceed with this project, that wind turbines would not be destroying and distorting the magnificent coastline.

"You've been Trumped" is a movie by Anthony Baxter which explores the history of the development, which will of course be affecting the magnificent coastline...

Thanks to Svenja Timmins @SvenjaT for some information related to this post - it's an area that I shall be keeping an eye on as there have been a few 'golf and geography' related posts on the blog....

A Leopard magazine article from 2007 gives further arguments for and against...

Not quite finished with this post, but am having a bit of a clear-out of 'draft' posts, and this story will be continuing for quite a while yet anyway...
Let me know if there's a further resource that I've missed out relating to the proposals...

Come on Irene....

The Met Office StormTracker (available in a FREE version) is now starting to come into its own with the start of the hurricane season. You need to register first, which is free and takes about a minute.
Thanks to @victoriaellis for the tipoff to the @metofficestorms feed that is going to be useful over the coming months. Remember when teaching about events in geography to be aware of the element of timing...

The Storm Tracker has a number of layers that can be turned on and off: clouds, and also sea surface temperatures...
A handy, and FREE tool...
At the time of posting, Irene is approaching Puerto Rico...

Google Amazon View...

Google are apparently sending a boat up the Amazon...
BBC News article...

Beyond replacement level...

In demographics, one of the measures that is referred to is replacement level. Also related to the idea of Total Fertility rate (TFR) and something called sub-replacement fertility.

The basic idea is that the average couple 'needs' to have about 2.3 children in order to 'replace' themselves in a future population after they have gone. The reason why it is not just 2 is related to problems with fertility for some women, and also variations in the age at which women (or their partners) decide to start a family.

There's also something called the Tempo Effect, which is worth exploring further.

Thanks to Will Tuft for pointing me to this Guardian article which put a different perspective on David Beckham's recent addition to the family: Harper Seven.

In 1930, just one or two generations ago, the world's population stood at around two billion. Today it is around seven billion, and by 2050 it is projected to rise by a third to 9 billion.

As a starter image, you could use one which shows David Beckham's football boot which has the names of his children embroidered on it...

RGS Autumn 2011 Bulletin

Always interested to see what's coming up at the RGS when I get my Bulletin.

First of all a good Michael Palin quote from it:

"Passing on our love of geography to a new generation is hugely important..."

Was also good to see Simon Clive from New College, Stamford on page 4 talking about Ambassadors - our 'paths' have crossed a few times in the last few years and good to see him doing well.

Also details of the DISCOVERING BRITAIN project, which doesn't seem to be live at the moment, but looks intriguing - looking forward to that appearing !

Some useful lectures coming up on Monday nights, which might be enough to tempt me down to London when it coincides with an event that I am involved in...
They include a Nick Crane lecture on his 'Town' series, Terry Jones on Columbus and the Flat Earth, Stuart Lane on Flooding in the 21st Century and a Colin Thubron lecture which has a balloted ticket.

Yet another urban timelapse

At the risk of overloading the blog with Urban timelapses, here's another one: by Dominic (although there have been over 2800 posts on this blog, so the odd one or two isn't that many...)
Thanks to @geographynerd (Rebecca Nicholas)  for the tipoff...

Timelapse - The City Limits from Dominic on Vimeo.

I shot this timelapse montage from late 2010 through early 2011.
One year in the making.

My goal was to show the duality between city and nature.

Locations include :

- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Quebec city, Quebec, Canada
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Manhattan, New York, USA
- Chicago, Illinois, USA

You can visit my website at

Follow me on twitter :

Follow me on Facebook :

Contact :

For timelapse stock footage, you can browse through some of my represented work at Getty Images :

Music is "Time" by Hans Zimmer

Remember to crank the volume way up before watching this and turn HD on !

Out in October...

Get involved with Mission Explore

It's only a few weeks now until the new MissionExplore.Net website goes live. We are working with our best friends at The Workshop to make Mission:Explore 2.0 an outstanding space for young explorers to find and complete missions. When doing missions explorers can win points, earn badges, keep an explorer log and share their efforts on Twitter and Facebook (if they are old enough). It's going to be beautiful.

If you work for a third or public sector organisation you can create your own branded missions on MissionExplore.Net. With enhanced branding, HTML enabled mission content (including support for embedding videos) and far more affordable pricing, now is the time to start creating missions with us.

For £25 we will give you one mission, a personalised URL, a branded channel (landing page) and free user account. For just £300 you will be able to create 15 missions, enough to make a teasure hunt or trail. Place your order before we launch to claim 25% off your subscription. If you would like your own Mission:Explore style website or help writing missions we can help with that too.

Clients already working with us to create content on MissionExplore.Net include National Geographic Education, Sustrans, Arla and Cardiff University.

For more details and to place your order

On other business, would you like to join us for a Geography Camp

That's it for now. 

Happy exploring...

We are also running a MISSION WRITING CAMP in association with VITAL which will be in Newcastle.

Good to see Mission Explore on the GeoVation blog as well...

Show off your classroom...

Quite a few Geography teachers in England will be popping in to school in the next few days for exam results and to prepare for the new term. Scottish colleagues are already back. If you've produced a classroom display that you're proud of, why not share it with others. You can do this on a new FLICKR group that has been started by Victoria Ellis.

Have just added a few pics to the group...
Once the new school year gets underway, check back for inspiration...

Beach boo

Weybourne (mp3)

From the weekend just gone...

National Geographic : Geography Awareness resource

Earlier this year, I was involved in an exciting project with National Geographic Education in the USA as part of the Geography Collective. This led to my friend and colleague Daniel Raven Ellison spending a week at the National Council for Geographic Education conference in Portland, Oregon, and working with educators from across the USA.

This project has been an exciting one to be involved with. It offers a range of activities which can be carried out in your neighbourhood, and earn points for completing them. Would be good for exploring local areas, local wildlife and ideas of community. These will be used across the USA for their Geography Awareness Week later in the year.

You will need to have registered with TES Connect, which is free and takes a few moments.
You can then DOWNLOAD THE BOOKLET as a 34 page, 13 Mb PDF and check it out.

Please take a look and let me know what you think...

Brown Signs

Amanda Hone is populating her BROWN SIGNS website at the moment... get in there and see what you can contribute... There are some images of mine on there already :)
What brown signs do you have close to where you live ?
Or which have you seen while on holiday ?

59 years ago yesterday.....

The residents of Lynmouth woke to a devastated village....

And 7 years ago today, the residents of Boscastle were coming to terms with the previous day's events....

The weather

Useful quick BBC VIDEO on the impact of the weather...

Team that with this CLIMATE CHANGE infographic from the Guardian which promises to tell you "everything you need to know..."

Hekla Summer

GA / ESRI GIS courses

Hope to see some of you on one of these courses !

GA GIS flyer

Prezi now has templates...

Just so you know :)

Weekend by the coast...

Had last few days in a cottage by the sea on the Norfolk coast for a family birthday. Sea view out of the window and lovely pebbly beach and cliff walks & excellent meal on Saturday in the Red Lion at Stiffkey, which never disappoints...

Cromer Carnival, crazy golf and canoeing, Blakeney harbour and back home to prepare for the week ahead...
Images: Alan Parkinson

Thought for the Day

"The look of many city centres has improved beyond all recognition as a direct result of urban regeneration policies. Yet it still only takes five minutes to walk from the sparkling Liverpool One shopping complex to the first block of boarded-up flats. The shopping centre provides low-paying jobs in an environment that encourages high spending, and does nothing to stimulate the local economies of nearby areas."

Lynsey Hanley in the Guardian, with thanks to Danny Dorling for the tipoff

Another beautiful time-lapse

LA Light from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

Song by Cinematic Orchestra

Make sure to watch in HD full screen, with scaling off for best quality!

Just want to say a note of thank to everyone's support and comments.

I sought out to capture the electric radiance of Los Angeles at night.

It took me 6 months of on and off shooting to finish this project and I've learned a couple things along the way.

First off, LA might be the entertainment capital of the world, but it sure is difficult to shoot around downtown without having homeland security officers, police, or security take notice and harass you. Know your shooting rights!

Shooting time lapses is a labor of love and a study in patience.

This video is dedicated to the memory of my Grandmother, Mary Johnson who passed away after battling cancer. She spent most of her life bettering the lives of others and was the kindest person I've ever known.

Cinematography, direction, and editing by Colin Rich

Produced by William Ahmanson

Nice blog for students...

Always good to see teachers who are creating blogs for their students to support them in their learning.

Helen Nurton has been busily adding posts for her students over the summer months at the GCS A Level blog.
Don't forget the GA's useful LIST OF GEOGRAPHY BLOGS

Please let me know of any that we've missed...

Olympics: all about the money ?

The super-sized London Olympic gold medal designs were revealed a few weeks ago as the countdown to the games reached one year and counting.... I've been hearing about various examples of what seems like "cashing in", as well as stories of communities who are being affected by the preparations and will be for at least another year yet. Some local businesses and traders are not happy, mirroring some of the local traders near the South African World Cup venues...

I've already blogged about the charge to stand on the Greenwich Meridian at the Observatory. This has also been compounded by the fencing off of large areas of the park for some trial events (lots of comments on this particular web page giving a range of different views on the use of the park)

There's also the closure of a public park and the erection of fences in Weymouth which will stop even residents from having the sea view they have always enjoyed.

Want the Olympic Mascots (well, two people in costumes) to visit your school event ? That'll be £850 please... which seems like quite a lot - even I don't charge that to visit a school...

I also blogged previously about Iain Sinclair's views on the Olympic Park and his new book 'Ghost Milk', and the upheaval of communities in the East End of London, and there has been some previous discussion over the disappearance of places like the Clays Lane Housing Co-operative.

The BBC will have hundreds of extra staff to cover the games, and also the torch relay...

As always, NEF have something to say on the important issues, and their FOOLS GOLD report makes interesting reading. (Link leads to PDF download)

A few appropriate Google searches throw up a whole range of local alterations and schemes too, such as a new Travelodge, which has its objectors - I don't suppose they'll be offering £19 rooms next August...

There's certainly a longer term project for some local schools to track the ACTUAL Olympic legacy...

And a useful paper on the risks for host cities and the idea of Olymponomics.
Also controversy over the involvement of DOW CHEMICALS.

The end result of this might end up being the creation of new ruins, as described by Iain Sinclair on his visit to Athens, which hosted the 2004 games:

In Greece he finds Stratford's soured future; a real-life posthumous grand project. He wanders barely used stadiums and through echoey atria, and no one tries to stop him because no one cares and there's hardly anyone there. Meanwhile, off stage, the Greek economy collapses, and Sinclair understandably can't resist making a causal connection between the "nation's bankruptcy" and its Olympic folly. "The Games are just empty buildings," one Athenian tells him, "we have no use for them. But they have become monuments, so we can handle them and live with them. We are used to living among ruins. They are just ruins, they were never anything else."

The recent London riots (of which more to come in a future blog post) seem to have been partiy connected (in the minds of some of those involved at least) with the feelings that money is not filtering down to the communities in the area around the Olympic Park.

Will be interesting to follow this over the next few months... any thoughts ?

What about the big successes of the games and organisation so far ? Do they more than balance out these concerns ?

New Sigur Ros something or other...

Eden Project Recycling

Thanks to @HodderGeography for the tipoff to this video....

The axe might mean the end of... the axe...

Image: Alan Parkinson
Gibson axes... or guitars are made from specialist woods and inlays which help give the handmade guitars their distinctive sound. This article describes the problem that may face future guitar manufacturers: a shortage of the wood that is used to make their guitars.

MUSICWOOD is the title of a documentary which explores how the clearance of forests is threatening the industry. A taster can be viewed below:

Musicwood Documentary - 2 min trailer from Helpman Productions on Vimeo.

A group of the world's top guitar makers have banded together to try and save the acoustic guitar, and the old-growth trees of Alaska's Tongass National Forest — the largest temperate coastal rain forest in the world, and the US's largest National Forest.

The Musicwood Documentary follows the Coalition as they try to change the way this forest is logged.

It is an epic journey: from guitar workshops to the splendor of the Alaskan rainforest; from a Native tree-cutting ceremony to forest devastation. As the two sides begin to see from each other’s perspectives, their task gets more complex.

Less than a month to go...

I have less than a month to go before I finish my employment with the Geographical Association, after three years of supporting geography teachers around the country and into Europe, and getting involved in a huge variety of projects, writing, CPD events, school support and numerous other geographically related things.

My plans are coming together quite nicely, in the short term, and I am very grateful to those colleagues, organisations, companies and other folks who are helping me by offering a range of interesting jobs and potential projects to get involved with.

At the end of the month I shall be posting what I think are the most useful / entertaining / important moments or contributions made over the last three years and also sharing some of the things that I'm going to be doing with my time.

Calender image from Just Calendar

Smuggle or Snuggle Trucks...

This was an interesting story that I read about while on holiday...

An app called SMUGGLE TRUCK was developed on the theme of immigration.
The aim of the game was to fill your truck with migrants and try and smuggle them over the border.

The game was apparently refused by the App store, and so was changed to SNUGGLE TRUCK

The designers changed the migrants to fuzzy animals, and the object of the game to driving over the landscape as quickly as possible to get them to the zoo, without losing them out of the truck.

An interesting 'rebranding' exercise.... and a fun looking game !

Seaside weather ?

There's a bit of a north-south divide in the weather today, with most of the North looking a bit wet, and the South faring a bit better. Sun shining in Norfolk at the moment...
Image: Alan Parkinson, made with WordFoto app

We do like to be beside the seaside is the title of the 3rd sample online UPDATE that I've produced as part of the Harper Collins / GA produced KS3 textbook series.

Go HERE to download the three updates so far, and to SUBSCRIBE to the series that will start in September 2011 with an update on Geographies of MUSIC.

Tweeting Geography

Another useful Slideshare presentation by Simon Jones

Morocco Study Tour for PGCE Geography tutors

Are you planning to study for a PGCE in Geography
Do you know people who are ?
Let your tutor know about this opportunity...

A new opportunity for PGCE tutors is being offered by Discover Limited...

Mike McHugo of Discover Limited – owner of the Eagles Nest Field Centre in France as well as the Kasbah du Toubkal in Morocco is setting up a study tour to the Eagles Nest for PGCE tutors next year - in association with Andy Phillips, trustee of a charity: Education for All Morocco (

Contact Andy Phillips for more details if you are a PGCE tutor  - I have his details or add a comment below...
And if you aren't a PGCE tutor, but perhaps a geography teacher, check out these venues for possible overseas fieldwork....

(other fieldwork venues are available...)

With thanks to Val Vannet for the images from a trip to Morocco she made earlier this year...


The digitalearth project is well underway now, and I spent some time earlier in the week working on some resources that will be distributed across Europe on the theme of geo-media: maps, images, video, GIS

More to come on this project soon, or check the website.

Fake iPhone text...

Well it seems to work with a few slight glitches... I'm sure you can think of some ways to turn this into a resource...

Geography Collective at NCGE

The National Council for Geographic Education event has been taking place in Portland, Oregon.

My Geography Collective colleague Dan Ellison is there, and led an Urban Earth walk as well as two workshops in the Guerrilla geography approach of the Geography Collective and Mission:Explore.

One resource that Dan put me on to was this excellent collection of Google Earth related work.

Catlin Arctic Survey

Earlier this year, I followed the progress of the latest expedition of the Catlin Arctic Survey.
The team were exploring the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, and then drilling down through the ice to carry out a range of experiments aimed at exploring aspects of the ocean waters, which are at the heart of the Earth's oceanic circulation.

Digital Explorer's Jamie Buchanan Dunlop was involved in the expedition, which involved camping on the ice.

Now, I've been asked to get involved with the project by producing some teaching materials related to the work that the good folks were up to while camped out on the ice.

The explorer Pen Hadow was involved, as were a number of scientists and colleagues with a range of useful skills and experiences. They were also using some interesting equipment, including Niskin bottles and sensors called "peepers". While they were on the ice they also had a Twitter chat with my friend and colleague Kenny O' Donnell and his students.

Image: Catlin Arctic Survey

Watch out for some resources for KS3 and KS4 which will emerge on the website before too long...

Taxi to Marshgate Wharf please...

The BBC recently announced the names for the five neighbourhoods that will be produced after the 2012 Olympic Games when the athletes village becomes a new residential area in East London.

Interestingly, one of my Twitter network suggested one of the names that was chosen: East Wick, which was chosen by Oliver O'Brien - a place in posterity guaranteed...

Beautiful British Views

Waiting for me on my return home from holiday was the latest COUNTRYFILE magazine.

It turns out that there is a newly updated COUNTRYFILE website

Thanks to Angus Willson for the announcement of funding to protect VIEWS

Data Appeal

A new tool, currently FREE, which offers the chance to visualise data that is stored in an Excel spreadsheet, and produce a result that can be seen using Google Earth.
Not had a play with it yet, but it has potential.
Anyone had a go and want to share some of the results ?

Cars 2

Went to see the latest Pixar film today, and enjoyed it (and particularly the Toy Story short film that was on before it...)
Cars 2 is a sequel to the film that introduced us to Lightning McQueen and Mater.
This time they are drawn into a James Bond style plot involving biofuels.
They visit Japan, Italy and France to take part in three races, and Mater ends up being roped in to help British agent Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell and visits Paris too.

The poster has a satisfyingly "global" look to it, and there are various cultural references throughout the film relating to the places that are visited.
The rendering of the cities, particularly London was predictably excellent.

My son liked the Japanese toilet episode.

I imagine the Finn McMissile toy will be popular this Christmas.