Catlin Seaview Survey

This news article explains the background to a project which I've been slightly involved in on the sidelines for a while now, and am just finishing off the 2nd of a series of resource contributions to what will become a major resource for geography and science teachers. While waiting for a connecting flight in Dusseldorf airport, this was a major feature on the German news, so it's been getting good coverage.

To watch more, take a view at this remarkable video:

The project is in association with Jamie Buchanan Dunlop and the team at Digital Explorer, who have worked with Catlin: the insurance company which is funding this project previously (as did I) on the Frozen Oceans resource pack.

Catlin Seaview Survey is underway and the first of tens of thousands of images have now been released.
Some remarkable pictures from the tool are available here...

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the World's great places, and a World Heritage Site.

Perhaps with these 'virtual' trips there will be less need for people to physically visit the areas which are threatened and fragile, or will they actually encourage more people to visit them ?

I'll keep you posted on the resources as they are produced. Jamie is heading out to Australia shortly to work on some video materials. The final pack is due out at the end of the year, or early 2013.... 

Awesome Iceland time-lapse...

ICELANDIA - Time-lapse Visuals from 64° North from The Upthink Lab on Vimeo.

Salzburg Photosynth

Just made this from some images I took earlier this week. The view of Salzburg from near the Stadt Alm...

Gravel drive...

One of the changes that has happened in many urban areas over the years is the concreting over of front gardens. They have been paved, gravelled, or otherwise stripped of their greenery.
There are various drivers of this change, one of which is convenience.
Many streets now have row after row of gardens which contain few areas of grass or planting. Instead they are either paved or gravelled.

When I first got a car, I parked it on this street here... - thanks to Street View for the image...

View Larger Map
As you can see, it's a street with terraced houses.
Some of the houses did have parking round the back, but it was down a narrow alley, which was difficult to get access to, and full of potholes. Most people parked their car in front of their house - if they could manage that... There was a college round the corner, and a pub with no car park, so often there was a problem finding a parking space.

Parking a car on the road also needs to be mentioned to insurance companies as it may lead to a higher premium. For all those reasons, and more, gardens are disappearing. A report looking at the issue in London was published recently, and makes interesting reading, as it links to the idea of urban hydrology.

I am currently working on 2 resources that make use of the idea of front gardens disappearing.
I'll let you know where and when they appear....

Rory's Story Cubes Max

Anyone who has been to one of my CPD sessions knows that I tend to use and recommend Rory's Story Cubes.
There are three sets, plus an iPhone app (with an Android app in preparation)

You can now pre-order the new MAX version of the cubes, which are 30mm square and can be used more easily with groups sat around a table, or where the users have motor skills or visibility issues...
Great for creating Geographical narratives....

On reflection...

As part of my work with the VITAL CPD portal, I have today downloaded the REFLECTION APP for my Mac Book Air, which connects with my iPhone 4S via AirPlay and allows anything that is shown on the mobile device's screen to be shown on the MBA (and therefore on a projector if one is connected).

It also allows a recording to be made of the app as it is being used, which means that there is a chance to show other people how an app might be useful for education purposes, as well as demonstrate an app with students in the classroom, or teaching colleagues at a CPD event or departmental meeting...

You can also hear the sound that comes through any app, which means that you can listen to your music through speakers connected to a Mac (or PC) and record the sound of an app....

Once the app is installed, a double press on the Home button brings up the AirPlay button pictured at the bottom, which can be used to turn AirPlay on and off, triggering the app screen. The screen can also be positioned on the screen of the MBA in various ways.

The app costs $14.99

Some screencasts made with the App will be appearing shortly over on my VITAL Geography portal.

Remember that you sign up to this portal for just £10....
Special deals for schools on multiple subjects also available....

Learning outside the Classroom

We are delighted to announce that the Geography Collective has been shortlisted for a Learning outside the Classroom award.

We would be even more delighted if you would consider voting for us, especially if you have been enthused by our Mission:Explore books, app or website, or perhaps been visited by us, seen us at Glastonbury, Latitude or the Hay Festival, ridden on buses in Suffolk, cycled along Sustrans routes in many cities, explored the Great Glen with Discover Explore or in some other geographical context...

We're going to be on the road in the next few months, and also will be running our Geography Camp in December, of which more later...

Please click the link and give us your vote. Thanks :)

Free eBook on exciting learning

Over the years, I've done a few useful geography-related things with Ollie Bray. It's good to see that an eBook that he's writing which shows a range of Microsoft tools in action, and some quotes from familiar names in teaching and learning has now been made available.

eBooks  from the Slideshare account here...

Geography Collective Geography Camp

Care to step (slightly) out of your comfort zone and take some creative steps towards a new geography ?

You can join us at our Geography Camp in December in the countryside of Derbyshire.
We have a range of activities which will open up new worlds...
30th November - 2nd of December
You can join us for the weekend, which will include your accommodation, food etc. Be assured that we won't be camping in tents (although the weekend will be 'intense'....)

£25 will secure your place, with a second £25 being all that is required for all of this...

Guerrilla Geography
Hide, Seek, Scavenger, (wo)man hunt and woodland games 
Geographies of Beer with City Farmers (Real Ale included)
Massage, body and landscape with Rebecca 
Mapping the boundaries of your freedom with Matt
Game Design for Cities with Jana
Something to do with nature and play with Juliet
Life beyond detention: Women, Home & Mental Health with Menah
The Geography of... - The (re)start of a collaborative book
Creation of The Guerrilla Box
Geography Curriculum by The Government with Alan
Summer Festivals 2013 Planning
Freestyle landscape Painting
1:1:1 Micro-Expeditions
TGC Big Meeting
Lift shares organised 
Dance with Christina
Certificates of (non-)attendence 
Guerrilla Geography Day 2013 
Writing for Mission:Explore workshop
A walk, some serious silliness and other stuff
More TBA

What's not to like....

Here's where I've been for 4 days now.... today was 26 degrees and tomorrow I'm off up a mountain...
Image: Alan Parkinson

In Salzburg

For the next three days I will be leading a course in Geomedia and citizenship in Salzburg. There'll be some practical sessions and a chance to develop some new skills hopefully, as well as learn from each other, with the intention of going back home with a new course ready to run...
A day in the city today, and just spent 5 hours wandering out to Mirabell Gardens, up to the Castle on the cable car/funicular, and in and around the Rupertikirtag fair... Market along the river, bells ringing in the sunshine...
Back to the hotel now to prepare for the next 3 days - I hope I have enough of interest for colleagues from a number of countries...
Image: Alan Parkinson - from same place as earlier image...

Kelling Heath Explorer

This was a sheet that was picked up by my wife at the weekend while visiting Kelling Heath.
It is about an app that has been developed for a local caravan park and wildlife area on the North Norfolk coast. It provides some routes and questions to encourage exploration of the area. Simple, but nicely executed...
How many other places like this have their own app ?

Why not design one for somewhere near you ? 

Good ideas for CPD

Via Twitter

A useful blog post from Mr. Fawcett

It describes some ideas for CPD to try....

Full on Learning

Finding quite a bit of interest in this book by Zoe Elder, edited by Ian Gilbert...

Nice presentation, and some good simple strategies and questioning to encourage collaborative and creative tasks...

Opportunity for a research fellowship and grant in the US

Thanks to Angie Cope for sending through details of an opportunity to pursue your research interests at the library of the American Geographical Society. You do not have to be American to apply for these scholarships, as the list of previous winners makes clear.

Fellowships for 2013

The American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, welcomes applications for two short-term research fellowship programs:

McColl Research Program Fellowships

This is a short-term fellowship program available to individuals who wish to communicate their geographical research results to a broad, educated general audience. Awards of $3300 for four-week fellowships will be provided to support residencies for the purpose of conducting research that makes direct use of the Library, and results in publication in a mutually agreed outlet.

Helen and John S. Best Research Fellowships

Stipends of $400 per week, for periods up to 4 weeks, will be awarded to help support residencies for the purpose of conducting research that makes direct use of the Library.

The AGS Library is the former research library and map collection of the American Geographical Society of New York. The library has strengths in geography, cartography and related historical topics. An extensive collection of books, periodicals, photos, maps, pamphlets, atlases, globes, electronic data, and the archives of the Association of American Geographers and the American Geographical Society are maintained at the AGS Library. In addition, researchers benefit from access to the UWM Libraries print and online collections during their residency. Please note that not all AGS Library materials are listed in the online catalog, but finding aids and professional staff are available to assist.

Applications must be received by October 15, 2012. All fellowships are tenable in 2013. For further information, access the website at: or write, call or e-mail the AGS Library, P.O. Box 399, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0399, 
(414) 229-6282, E-mail


Some planning today for an event next week when I'm heading back to Salzburg to lead a week-long course on geo-media in geography. This looks like being repeated several times during 2013, and there are opportunities to have your fees, travel and expenses paid.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase - 1 of 5

For the second weekend running I was away at a Field Studies Council Centre looking at fieldwork. This time, it was the FSC's centre at Preston Montford, west of Shrewsbury which is a long haul from home.

It was for the 2nd Enhancing Fieldwork Learning showcase event, part of the project of the same name, which is funded by the Higher Education Academy.

I am grateful to the project's team of Derek France, Katherine Welsh, Julian Park, Brian Whalley and Alice Mauchline for the invitation.

We were discussing the use of technology to support fieldwork.

There will be 4 further posts to come with details of my presentation and other information relating to the event. I learnt quite a lot about the use of technology, and other disciplines.

A useful post by Chris Thomson with some more thoughts on the weekend.

4000 up....

I started this blog in May 2008, when I heard that I had been successful in my application to join the Geographical Association as Secondary Curriculum Development Leader.
I called it Living Geography, to represent the fact that every day in my personal and work life I would be 'living' Geography, and to tie in with a key curriculum making idea of the GA.
For three years, I blogged (several times) daily on my work with the GA.
In September 2011, my job was made redundant, and I moved into freelance consultancy, authoring and other geographical work, and thankfully have found that people value what I do.

This is the 4000th post on the Living Geography blog.

I also curate 7 other blogs, and am active on other social networks, but this has become my default place to post ideas, links, images, events and reflection.

I'm grateful to all of you who read it, contribute to it, comment on it or share it with others.
Here's to the next 4000 posts.

ICT Toolkit books....

Preparing some resources for the course on Geomedia in Salzburg that I am leading next week.

You still have chance to get funding to join me for a repeat of the course in February 2013, and the course is likely to run several times during 2013 - I'd love to see lots of you there... you can get your fees, accommodation and travel paid for.

I'm going to be using several activities from two books which I edited, and were published in April this year.

You really need to have a copy of these books in your departmental library.
They have been selling well, and getting good feedback from users.
You can order them from the GA shop - click to follow the link, and remember that GA members get a discount on purchases, and free P&P

Multimedia made Easy by Paul Cornish

GIS made Easy by Bob Lang

Parallel Olympics

The 'legacy' of the games has been much discussed.
I've just finished writing something on the possible legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics for the geography classroom. It will appear in the TES in a few weeks time. I'll let you know where and when it's published.
In the meantime, we have an Olympic Park which is closed for redevelopment for a year or two. A very useful booklet on the SUSTAINABILITY of the Queen Elizabeth Park.

(Click the link to download a PDF of the report)

I've also added some Olympics ideas to the Webwatch column in the latest GA magazine. Much of what I wrote there is applicable to the Paralympics too of course.

There is an excellent post by John Widdowson to make the final parallel connections here....

Tom Morgan Jones

An excellent article featuring the illustrator of our Mission:Explore books in Cambridge News.

A reminder of one of our many reviews...

“Geographers are fond of tracing where things come from, following connections between distant places and thinking about relationships and inter-dependencies. When we think about food, we often talk about closing the links along the supply chain from ‘farm to fork’ or ‘plough to plate’. But, all too often, these ideas are expressed in abstract terms like global food security and sustainable intensification. This exciting new book avoids these abstractions and takes a much more direct hands-on approach, providing us with a whole new set of resources for understanding the world of food. Using the language of exploration and discovery, readers encounter recipes for nettle pesto and elderflower pancakes and are invited to engage in culinary cartography, fantasy farming and guerrilla gardening. Mission: Explore Food provides a fresh way of understanding some fundamental things about the stuff of life through participatory research and action-orientated learning. Take the challenge: get down and dirty with the Geography Collective and City Farmers.” Professor Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield.


Just created a new group on Flickr
I was inspired by the food that I brought home earlier. Noticed that a lot of the fruit and veg had packaging which specifically named the farmer who had produced the food, and not just the region where it was from.

Thought it might be nice to build up a gallery of food like that, and make a point to young people about the origins of their food, and the way that farmers have created the British landscape over centuries of work...

Please add your own examples the next time you go shopping.

Add the hashtag #thankafarmer and read the group instructions or see my first five examples for the format for labelling them.

If you teach Primary age students, you might be interested in the Discovering the Countryside site - just to let you know that the video on the site plays automatically when you click the link....

GA Magazine - Autumn 2012

The issue is now available to download by GA members from the website.

Check out my usual Webwatch article and lots of other cool content. I get a few mentions in Rob Morris' article on the Google event in Dublin I attended too...

Oh good grief...

Let's just put these two items together: a tweet from Peter Knight and an article from the Telegraph on the new GCSE exams...

3 hour exams - that we didn't have for 'O' levels anyway ?

Rote learning as rigour ?

This is another reminder of the importance of contributing to any consultation on any level of education, whether you currently teach  that Key Stage / Specification / Qualification or not....

P.S: I'm happy to receive large sums of money to write the textbooks... ;)

Have you seen the digital textbooks that Richard Allaway and I are producing ?


You can now add your thoughts to the DfE consultation here before the 10th of December 2012

VITAL CPD Portals - a new look

Work has been going on over the summer to provide a new 'look' for the VITAL Subject-specific portals, ready for the new academic year.
They have now been launched, and a whole new tranche of content will be added to the VITAL Geography portal over the next few weeks. There is a new interface, twitter feeds, app recommendations, and more multimedia content..

Don't forget that I manage the Geography portal, so you can find the same sort of useful guidance that you get here on LivingGeography, but specially selected for its CPD value.

A reminder that special subscription rates are in place for schools subscribing to a range of portals for staff use.

Guerrilla Geography Day....

7th November is Guerrilla Geography Day.

You are invited to join in with a global geography project.

The project website is launching soon.
If you'd like to be involved go HERE and sign up with your details and we'll let you know when the main website goes live.

At the same website you'll also find information about our GEOGRAPHY CAMP in December.

Margam - a belated thanks...

I spent the latter part of last week over in South Wales at the Field Studies Council's MARGAM centre.

It's a very impressive building and location.

I arrived at Port Talbot, after a long train journey from home, and decided to walk to the centre - just over 4 miles. I walked through the community inland of the steelworks which was a familiar geography case study for me for many years.

It was a reminder of the importance of visiting unfamiliar places. As I walked through the streets I listened and looked and picked up snippets of chat, mental images and sounds.  It was a contrast to the rural location of the centre itself...

Thanks to all involved in organising a very pleasant weekend.

Harper Collins Atlas App

I visited the offices of Harper Collins yesterday to have a sneak preview of their new Atlas App which launches next week.
It is intended to be an electronic companion to fine paper atlases such as the Times Atlas of the World.

The app is designed to run on the iOS platform, and will need a relatively new iPad (it wouldn't run on my first generation one) or iPhone (I have it installed on my iPhone 4S)

It offers a range of globes including the default satellite globe. This has information on hundreds of thousands of places, and links through to further relevant information. Zooming past a certain scale changes to Google (soon to be Apple) mapping to go down to street level.

Further globes can be downloaded, including a range of physical and political as well as thematic globes.
These can be cloaked in other layers showing information such as ocean depths, deserts and population density. Further globes will be added quite regularly.

This is an app designed for educational use, and the website has information about the app. At the time of posting it is not availabe.

The app will be on the iTunes store on the 26th of September I understand.... More on launch day...

The page is back....

3000 members on Edexcel NING

In 2007, over 5 years ago, I set up the Edexcel NING for the new (at the time) GCE spec . It was, following earlier experiments with my 6th form classes, the first real subject-specific support network using the NING platform to be set up in the UK (unless you know otherwise...)

Five years on, it has just passed the 3000 member mark.

It now bears the name of Jon Wolton at the bottom of the page, as it is funded by Jon and Edexcel who have kindly kept it going as they recognise the benefit of the collective weight of experience, and the quality of the discussions, communication and support that it offers, as well as the resources which are shared.
I'm proud of what I started, and am profoundly grateful to everyone who has taken the trouble to go beyond just joining it, but to contribute to a discussion, share a resource, answer a question or otherwise network with colleagues.
I hope it continues to be useful as we move towards the next phase of specification change....

GA Curriculum Consultation

Head over to the GA website now and read the latest update on the ongoing preparations for the new National Curriculum.
The GA has been working to put together some suggestions for what a new curriculum could look like.
It's a cautious document, given the various agendas that underlie it, and the Government's known penchant for core knowledge. The documents build on the earlier work of the manifesto 'a different view', which was a major influence on much of the GA's work over the last few years.

It recognises that there are many different departments, teachers, favoured topics, non-specialists etc. It will not please everyone all the time, or even some of the time. Most people will question the placement of particular topics. The problem is that as soon as one item is moved, it has consequences elsewhere. If  you feel that there is something missing, the only way that it has a chance of being in the amended document which may well influence the people who make the final decisions is to add it to the GA page. So it is important to participate in the consultation on the GA website.

Please note that the table below is for illustration only and shows the questions that you are invited to respond to having read the supporting documents.....
You will not be able to type into the table and submit your comments, for that you need to go to the GA website....

1. The aims and outcomes statements for each key stage support planning and make the rationale for geography clear.
Any additional comments:
2. The content and guiding questions for each key stage provide coverage appropriate for the core of a student's geographical education.
Any additional comments:
3. The level of detail of the curriculum proposals is appropriate for a national curriculum.
Any additional comments:
4. The paper on 'Thinking Geographically' shows how essential content can be used to develop students’ conceptual understanding of geography.
Any additional comments:
5. The assessment descriptors for each content exemplar provide appropriate standards and outcomes in a way which will support assessment.
Any additional comments:
6. In general, and all things considered, I support the GA's proposals for the national curriculum.
Any additional comments:

The deadline for your submissions is October the 26th....

OFSTED Wobegon....

One of my great pleasures is to catch the weekly podcast from Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show when he does his weekly 'News from Lake Wobegon' slot. It's a monologue lasting about 10-15 minutes, which is based in the fictional town where a lot of Keillor's books have been set. 
Each one is a little masterpiece of the storyteller's art, and almost all of them have me laughing, or with a lump in my throat... sometimes both...
The town is introduced as the a town:
"where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Now it seems that various bodies who run and inspect schools are keen to get to a situation where most people/schools are above average, which is of course impossible. Michael Wilshaw was caught out on his too.

Thanks to Phil Wood for tweet inspiration...

And now we're going to go back to 'O' levels too it appears, as well as new 'A' levels in 2 years time, and a new KS3 curriculum too. And what about English colleagues offering Welsh qualifications - will that still be possible ?
At least it might keep me busy supporting colleagues through yet another change.

The Guardian also features this apparent exchange in an Education Select Committee meeting:

Chair: If "good" requires pupil performance to exceed the national average, and if all schools must be good, how is this mathematically possible?
Michael Gove: By getting better all the time.
Chair: So it is possible, is it?
Michael Gove: It is possible to get better all the time.
Chair: Were you better at literacy than numeracy, Secretary of State?
Michael Gove: I cannot remember.

New GA Primary resources

Two new books are now in stock at the GA. They join the previous titles in the GA's Primary Toolkit series.
Living in the Freezer looks at ways of investigating Polar environments and is written by Paula and Tony Richardson, who have previously written many useful books and resources for Primary colleagues.

Australia her we come! looks at Australia's landscape and people and is written by Wendy North and Ann Hamblen, who are also well known authors of previous GA publications. There are lots of new approaches here too, this time aimed at exploring a distant place.

Both offer a range of resourced lessons which are supported by online materials, and are produced to the same high standards as all the other toolkit books, and indeed all GA products.

The Ice Man

The front cover for a book that I wrote for Collins, which is due to be published in November 2012, has now been revealed on the Collins and Amazon websites.

It's looking really rather good - thanks for the kind words on the design and the front cover... you should see the contents !

Would make an ideal Christmas present I reckon...

Nexus 7 - Update 3

I've been exploring the Nexus 7 tablet a little more over the last few weeks.

I figured that I needed some way to create documents on the go, particularly as the portability of the Nexus 7 means that it would be a useful thing to take where even the Mac Book Air is too bulky - although I'm struggling to think of many times when that would be the case.
I put an app called OfficeSuite 6 Pro on there.
Had the free trial first (you can have a free week of the app fully functioning to try it out, which is a good 'taster' offer) and it seemed to work quite well, so used a chunk of the 'free' £15 Google Play credit that I'd been given when buying the tablet on the app.
The app allows me to create and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. There are also options online of course through Google Docs, but it's good to be able to work on Office documents should I need to.

Also put Skype on the Nexus to try out the video calling.
I changed the desktop to a lighter image, which has changed the overall 'look' of the device a lot for me.

I'm using Tweetcaster as my Twitter client - thanks to Anne Greaves for the recommendation. It works well, and has all the options I would need.

I put the HP ePrint Home app on there to try printing from the tablet, and this has now been updated for Jelly Bean support and works perfectly with my HP wireless printer.

I've also bought a little micro-USB adaptor cable for a quid from Amazon, and can connect a mouse which works, with an arrow cursor appearing on the screen - although again as it's a touch screen tablet that's of limited use.

Here's a size comparison that I did between the iPad and the iPhone 3GS for those who haven't seen the Nexus 7.

Here's Fraser Speirs' thoughts on the tablet, particular the aspect of its size. I'll be intrigued if Apple do release an iPad Mini because for me the iPad's size is one of its winning features compared to the Nexus.

I tried a USB keyboard with the tablet to overcome one of the limitations of its size: the ability to type. You can, of course, use the voice recognition software, and this works very well. The voice search, as I've already said, is excellent too.
I used it over the last week on train journeys for the Kindle app, and it's a good size for reading. It's light and fits into a small pocket on my rucksack. Here's how GOOGLE EARTH looks on it too...

So far, still so good....

Collective Spirit

Down to the Wells-next-the-Sea Pirate Festival on Sunday.
We weren't there for the Pirate wenches, although there were some of those, but to see the results of the Boat Project.
The aim here was to see 'Collective Spirit'
Some images are shown below..
It's very shiny - as you can see...
It took over a year to make, and incorporates hundreds of pieces of wood that were donated to the project, and each one has a story. There are historic bits of wood, plus children's toys, sad stories and happy stories.

It's worth catching the boat at various venues.
The website will tell you where to spot it.

Tour of Britain

Over to Reepham today, a historic market town a few miles east from where we live.

We were there to see the Tour of Britain race pass through.
The summer of gatherings continued, as hundreds of people crowded into the centre of the town as the time for the arrival of the cyclists neared. There was also a Panther brewery beer tent which is always a bonus...
I've blogged previously about the impact of this race on the local economy. There were certainly people taking advantage of the crowds, but also a nice atmosphere. Any cyclist or car coming through as the race approached was cheered, and waved to the crowds.

Then the cyclists came through - a small leading group, who were later caught, and then the peloton, led by Sky and Garmin riders, and past came Bradley Wiggins (left in picture) and Mark Cavendish in the world champion's jersey...
The race continues all week, and some live coverage is on ITV4.

Picture: Alan Parkinson


Sadly I won't be in London between the 14th and 23rd of September. 
Which means I miss out on seeing the PRISM installation at the V&A
Go here to get a FREE TICKET for the event.
Here's a description.

PRISM presents an alternative view of London, exposing intangible data flows in the capital. It is a lens into a second city, one that is made from infrastructural data feeds and exchanges.
PRISM is located at the top of the V&A, in an area that is not normally open to the public. Access is via a steep, narrow staircase, and may not be suitable for all visitors. Please see bookings guidelines for details.

It will make use of the CASA City Dashboard which I have blogged about before....


MENTIMETER is a tool for gathering answers to surveys.
It's a free tool.
Choose your question, and provide the possible answers to choose from, then choose a design from a choice of two options.

The website will then create a poll...
This has an ID which people can vote on using a weblink, or using smartphones.
You can also create an iFrame which shows the details and the results (as below)

There is also a link generated where people can see the results, as well as an admin link....

Please feel free to try it out and see your answer instantly recorded...

I shall be using this tool later in the month in Salazburg itself, home to the film 'Jaws'....

590 cities...

590 Cities is a rather 'crowded' visualisation but worth exploring..
It has a large image, which contains information about the eponymous 590 cities.

It's a stack flow chart, by Barcelona-based Bestiario that manages to pack details of 590 cities into a single digital square. The visualization depicts the world's 590 most populous cities, sorted column by column according to their population size between 1950 and 2010, with projections for 2015, 2020, 2025, and 2050. By rolling over the lines you can highlight individual cities' growth trends. Tokyo, for instance, is the fat magenta bar at the top, a position it snagged from New York-Newark back in the 1950's. (Note that in the "normalized mode" cities are plotted relative to one another in each column, so the trend lines reflect relative, not absolute, changes in population — explaining why Tokyo is a flat line despite obviously having expanded since 1955.)

Click on a city to investigate the statistics for the cities, and have a go for yourself...


This idea would be useful for those exploring the school grounds... perhaps at the start of the new school year.
I was intrigued while carrying out some recent work for Mission:Explore to find a whole set of ORIENTEERING symbols were in use in a park as part of a 'treasure-hunt' style activity which had been set up for local school children.

The orienteering symbols have their own language, which those who enjoy the sport can enjoy.
The MAPRUNNER website provides the details on these. The main website for school orienteering has a range of useful resources to explore.

While we're on the subject of starting off the new school year, don't forget the GA Secondary committee has a number of resources related to the crucial first half term.
Some sort of picture-orienteering course might be a good way for students to explore the new school, which always seems 'so big' at first...
What have you been doing for the first month of the new term ?

Dan in DC

For my American readers in particular...

My Geography Collective colleague Dan Raven Ellison is currently one of National Geographic's Emerging Explorers for the year.
We've worked together on a range of projects over the last 6 years or so...

He's going to be speaking on Guerrilla Geography at the National Geographic Live venue.

National Geographic Live! Washington, D.C.

1600 M Street, NW

Washington, D.C.US


Tickets cost $25, and the event is followed by a reception in the National Geographic Dining Hall.

This will be well worth attending if you happen to be in the area in November....

Madagascar and Beyond....

The first of my TEACHSHARES for the VITAL CPD service is due to take place in just over a week's time, in the first full week of term for many English teaching colleagues.
My guest speaker is Paul Cornish, who teachers at Coopers Coborn School in Upminster, Essex.
He's here on the left, and that's me in the middle.
The book Paul's holding is 'Multimedia made Easy': a book that Paul wrote, and I edited. You can obtain it from the GA SHOP.

Since then, he's been a bit busy, picking up an OS award, heading off to Madagascar for much of the summer holidays, writing an MA dissertation and plenty of other interesting things.

This PREZI of the Madagascar expedition shows what an amazing trip it must have been.

If you've not been to a Teachshare before, the basic idea is that you join us in an online 'chat room' like space. You'll be able to hear and see Paul and I talking and there'll be a chance to ask questions, answer questions and make contributions if you want to.... or just sit and watch.
We'll be looking ahead to the new school year and would love to hear what you have planned.

Go here for the link through to the chat, which will take place on Tuesday the 11th of September at 7pm.

The next Geography Teachshare after that will be on the 16th of October on the theme of Geography fieldwork...

Don't forget you can subscribe to the VITAL GEOGRAPHY PORTAL that  I manage for just £10....

Subterranean London

Stephen Walter produced a wonderful hand-drawn map of London called 'The Island' - I've blogged about it earlier, and contacted him about doing something for a GA journal. It's only as I started this blog post as I remembered that, as it was just before my GA job disappeared... ah well...

He's now produced a new map looking beneath the streets...

A new map explores the stories that lie beneath the streets of London: the underground rivers, sewers, abandoned underground stations, catacombs and other features that most Londoners are unaware of...
Check it out...
Do you know what's underneath your street ?

Thanks to Ben Hennig for a dispatch from the Society of Cartographers' Conference with a link to Stephen's new website.

The Shard

I've seen this building many times over the years as it slowly grew and took shape. The official opening took place recently.

The Daily Telegraph had an article at the time of the opening which explores the various impacts that the Shard is likely to make on the city.
Has the Shard changed London forever ?

The tallest building in Western Europe at 1016ft (309.6m) in height, the Shard skyscraper in London Bridge was inaugurated yesterday. Today the first batch of tickets is released for its viewing platform, the View from The Shard.
The View from The Shard observation area will be housed in the 68th-72nd floors of the skyscraper some 800ft (244m) above the capital. From that vantage point, guests will be able to see up to 40 miles (64km) away.
The viewing platforms are accessed by two high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lifts that ascend to the building’s 68th level in 30 seconds. From that point, visitors are invited to the triple-height, glass-fronted Level 69 where the surrounding cityscape is fully exposed. The highest point accessible to The View from The Shard visitors is on Level 72 where it will be possible to look upwards and see the few remaining floors taper out of sight as the separate panels of the building converge at its tip.

Image: Alan Parkinson