Friday, 29 June 2012

Gaywood Valley Fieldwork

I spent a pleasant few hours earlier today in the valley of the Gaywood River, just east of King's Lynn with colleagues from UEA and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We were involved in testing out an augmented reality solution for allowing visitors to a place to find out more about the nature's benefits / ecosystem services in that area.


Sarah Taigel has created, and is trialling an application called VesAR which stands for Visualising Ecosystem Services using Augmented Reality. It uses an app called LAYAR, which I have previously experimented with. 


Holding the phone or tablet up at particular locations reveals 'hotspots' floating in the camera view, which contain more information about what the visitor is looking at. (See the image below)
Ecosystem services are split into three types:

Regulating

Provisioning

Cultural

Essentially, a landscape like the river catchment we walked through provides three types of benefits, e.g. a regulating benefit would be the grazing meadows along the river, which slow down runoff after rainfall and reduce the flood risk, a provisioning benefit would be the nearby Reffley Woods, which provide a source of timber, and a cultural benefit would be the ruin of St. James church (pictured above) which provides a historic reminder of the way in which the landscape was used in the past.

You can perhaps think of other examples of the three types of benefit. 
Landscapes are increasingly being managed to protect the existing benefits, and to provide more benefits where possible.


You can read more about the work in this BLOG POST here or on Sarah's website: Communicating Landscape Futures.

Sarah will be presenting at the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase at Preston Montford in September. I'll be there too presenting the work of Mission:Explore and Guerrilla Geography. The tours that Sarah has been creating will be released to the general public, and be accessible to anyone with an appropriate GPS-enabled smartphone or 3G tablet. I shall let you know when that happens in a future blog post.

Image of St. James ruin: Alan Parkinson
Image of VesAR: Sarah Taigel

Holding a torch...

Here's former GA President John Halocha with the Olympic torch in Lincoln earlier this week...


Mark Cowan free e-book

I've worked with Mark Cowan before when he provided a poem for a Teachers TV programme on Weather and Climate that I was involved in creating.
Now it's good to see what Mark has shared a number of great teaching ideas in an e-book.

Go to the Amazon link here, and you can download a free copy of the e-book to your preferred e-book reading device...
Thanks for sharing Mark, it's much appreciated

Geograph - now 3 million images...

Geograph has been around for 7 years now. I remember when I first came across it back in 2005.


The site has just passed 3 million images of the UK, which is a major resource for all geographers. There is a guaranteed to be at least one (probably many) photo taken within a few hundred metres of where you are currently sitting (as long as you're in the UK....)
Use the SEARCH function to find lots of examples of most key geographical features...

Here's the 3 MILLIONTH image....

There's a few of mine on there too....

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Brian Cook

I love the vintage illustrations of Brian Cook, which featured on book covers and elsewhere during the 1930s and onwards...
Here's a detail from a landscape, from a book of Brian Cook's Britain that I have...

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park's new ad campaign features a series of posters in the same vintage style...

Wastelands to Wonderlands

There's an exhibition on at the British Library which I plan to visit over the next month or so.
Wastelands to Wonderlands explores the different ways that Britain has been represented in fiction over the years, and contains many manuscripts and other materials.
There's plenty here that's relevant to teaching about landscapes, and the way they are represented.

I'm grateful to Angus Willson for the loan of the exhibition catalogue in advance of my visit.


Welcome to the future

Apparently the date that the DeLorean is set for in 'Back to the Future' is today...

Except it isn't..
Always check your sources...


Update: love this site - thanks to Danny Nicholson for the tipoff...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Changing Places - Toby Smith's Olympics Map

There has been no shortage of Olympics stories over the last few months and they're going to keep on coming...
Toby Smith has produced a really interesting resource which explores change in the Lea Valley. It contains a series of images, all mapped to their locations, along with an Extended Essay on the developments which have changed this area of East London utterly...



New Google Android Tablet

OK, who's going to be getting one of these ?
I think one of these will end up in the Parkinson household.
Purely for the purposes of researching its potential in geography education of course....


Fran Crowe

Just been reading about Fran Crowe in a magazine I picked up on my Suffolk travels recently...
Her website FLY IN THE FACE showcases her art, which is made from materials found along the coast.
She makes her art work from materials that have been discovered on beaches.

Describing one of her projects, Fran says:

According to a United Nations report issued in June 2006, humankind's exploitation of the the deep seas and oceans is 'rapidly passing the point of no return'. I was really shocked to discover that there are on average around 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide, leading to the death of over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year due to entanglement with or swallowing litter. Moreover, Greenpeace recently discovered that there is a vortex of floating pieces of plastic in the southern Pacific which is the size of Texas. Even worse, plastic can take 1000 years or more to degrade in seawater and even then continues to pollute our environment with thousands of microscopic fibres: samples of sand taken from a Northumbrian beach were found to have over 10,000 fibres per litre of sand..


New in...

My latest purchase. Cost me 1p from Amazon. Need to get up to speed on the new curriculum changes. It's ages since I've taught about the West Yorkshire Woollen Industry, the 100+ trawlers operating out of Grimsby, Brighton's 2 piers, the collieries of North Derbyshire, the market gardens of the Vale of Evesham and a notorious traffic jam on the M4 which was 'more than a mile long'....

New look for Triptico

Triptico is a suite of tools which every teacher should be making use of.  Use the SEARCH function top left to see previous posts on some of the tools. They can be downloaded from the website, which has just been given a new look by creator David Riley. Watch out for blog posts and further new tools and developments in the future. An essential part of every teacher's toolkit....

Londinium MMXII

Another reminder of my document containing over 50 ideas for things to explore, related to the big event in London this Summer....

Mission:Explore Food

Just reading the rather splendid e-book version of Mission:Explore Food on my iPad...
This will shortly be available to purchase at a special low price, to whet your appetite for the print version, which is coming in September.

We have our launch party for the book on Saturday.
We'll also be around at Latitude in the Kid's field, so come and say hello if you're at the festival.

As Dan explains HERE, we also had a bit of a Mission:Explore F(l)ood at our printers....

Mission:Explore could also be the antidote to stories like THIS.

And some exciting news.... If you're interested e-mail me or comment below....

Mission:Explore Food expeditionary tour. Should we come to your part of Britain? This September/October we're going to be taking our spaceship, festivals workshop and new food books on an expedition around Britain. We'll be doing and accepting missions as we go. 

The question is.. where should we go and could you host us?





"Probably the only book I will ever recommend to my undergrads, buy for my kids, and use as a plate."
Professor Ian Cook, University of Exeter

Ocean Pollution

Via Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop, a great infographic showing some of the pollution impacting on the Mediterranean.
Click for biggery....


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

3D Tube Stations

I like these 3D renderings of some of London's tube stations, which can be manipulated and moved around...
Nice work by Andrew Godwin
Here's the station I use the most: King's Cross St. Pancras....

Code, content and image by Andrew Godwin...

Make your mind up...


I have a couple of Grade 1 CSEs amongst my clutch of certificates. One of them is in Physics, and I still remember having to stay behind for the practical, and load a spring with weights until it deformed.... something I've used countless times in my adult life...

Bryan Ledgard

Thanks very much to Bryan Ledgard for his generous help with a project that has been occupying quite a lot of my time in recent weeks.
Bryan designs the GA's publications and journals, as well as taking photos at all GA Conferences, and main events. He's a very nice man, and a great photographer.

Check out Bryan's images on Flickr HERE.


Here's a recent image taken at the Appleby Horse Fair...


Image copyright: Bryan Ledgard.

I liked this....


Lego Mapping

This is something that I would love to spend a while playing with today, but sadly have no time...
It's a new LEGO layer for Chrome, which allows you to build something with LEGO bricks, and have it added to a
At the moment the location where your building is placed has to be in Australia or New Zealand. Change the colour and shape of the bricks, view it in 3D, rotate it... then position it on the map...

I'll have a go later when I have some time...

Bristol Map

Thanks to Joseph Kerski for the tip-off to this useful story-map for anyone in the Bristol area.


BRISTOL: KNOW YOUR PLACE....



Monday, 25 June 2012

Volcano Live on the BBC

A 4 part series starting in the 2nd week of July on the BBC.
Presented from Hawaii by Kate Humble and Prof Iain Stewart, who I see will be at the SAGT Conference in October again (along with me)
Here's a quick taster...


Satellite Eyes

Satellite Eyes is a nice free app for the Mac.
It automatically updates so that the desktop shows your location on Bing Maps (or other map options) at a series of scales.
Nice work by Tom Taylor.

Overfishing...


Ending Overfishing from OCEAN2012 on Vimeo.

A useful video for the sustainability of ocean fishing....

Are you aware....

It's the start of GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK.
Get your pack of materials from the GA website.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Placing Place...

Preparing some materials for a course in a few week's time. It's being held at the HQ of travel company Discover the World.
The course is being run along with Simon Ross, who produced a number of books that I made heavy use of when teaching, particularly his mapskills book.
The theme is Developing a Global Sense of Place at KS3 and GCSE. I'm exploring KS3.


There are quite a few areas that I could focus on as PLACE is a key concept in geography, and the idea of visiting places is central to the work of Discover the World.

As always, once the germ of an idea comes to me, it's time to flesh it out with various resources and web tools. I have put together two sessions which will eventually be shared on Slideshare.
Interestingly, the OFSTED Subject Report on Geography, published in 2011, made a series of recommendations.
The first was that schools should:
  • focus strongly on developing pupils’ core knowledge in geography, particularly their sense of place
It's interesting that a sense of place is described as core knowledge ?

I'll be using a lot of my own images of distant places, and others by colleagues. Images of places can be obtained from COMPFIGHT
This enables searching for images which are copyright cleared through Creative Commons.

I shall be referring to the following books / resources, as well as some of the outcomes from the GA's National Curriculum Reform Working Group that I have been serving on. Some of the things that we've heard from Michael Gove this week have meant a fresh perspective on some of this work.

There'll also be lots of ideas to take away as always.

Some references
"The Power of Place" - Harm de Blij
"Teaching Geography 11-18" - David Lambert and John Morgan
"a different view" - Geographical Association manifesto
"How to be an explorer of the world" - Keri Smith
"Arctic Dreams" - Barry Lopez
"Journey Journal" - The Geography Collective
"Mission:Explore" - The Geography Collective
'Look at it this Way' - Alan Parkinson
'Learning through Enquiry' - Margaret Roberts
'Oops' - Hywel Roberts

Image: Alan Parkinson - Valle Blanche, below Mont Blanc

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Google Geo Teachers Institute - 4 of 5

The second day of the Google Geo Teacher Institute in Dublin was themed around Google SketchUp. Except it's no longer owned by Google, but by Trimble.
Google SketchUp is something that I explored when it first launched, and then couldn't see the real 'killer application' for it in the classroom in the same way as I did with Google Earth.

Noel Jenkins made some early use of Sketch-Up models when it first launched to 'place' wind turbines in the locations where they would be placed, so that their impact could be visualised.

Sketch-Up is a FREE download.
It enables the production of 3D objects which can then be located and viewed in Google Earth. Here's how one looks in the landscape:

I discovered that there was a model in the warehouse of a distinctive landmark which I pass regularly: the large Ecotricity wind-turbine in Swaffham, Norfolk which provides power for hundreds of homes in the town.

We were lucky to have Beryl Reid presenting, who had been involved in a project where she modelled many of the buildings in her town of Billerica (not Billericay)

We were shown some videos, some of which are available from the links here, or the official YouTube SketchUp Channel...

How did Beryl get her buildings to look so life-like ?
She used a technique called Geo-Modelling.
This involves 'placing' models in the landscape where they are actually located, and then adding realistic photo-textures from Google Street View.

A few final links on SketchUp
The 3D Warehouse, from where I got the wind turbine model.


A post from David Rogers on using it a while back.

Finally, if you teach in Ireland, you have a free SketchUp PRO license to use. There's also one that's been purchased for CAMBRIDGESHIRE for example... Here's the person to get in touch with if you want to access that...

Tour de France 2012

The greatest sporting event in the world starts at the end of the month and goes on until the end of July: The Tour de France.


Cycling the Alps has produced 3D tours of each of the stages of the race, which are rather nice.


The tours can also be embedded into a blog post as below - press the play button...




As with so many map related posts, I'm grateful to Keir Clarke for the original tip-off.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Pick the Geography out of that !

Five go for a Walk

A new walk and trail in Dorset is themed around the Famous Five books.



A new Famous Five walking trail has been opened in Purbeck, Dorset, to commemorate the much-loved children's author, Enid Blyton, bbc.co.uk reports.
The trail has been created especially to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the publication of 'Five on a Treasure Island' - in which readers were first introduced to the intrepid Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. Winding through the Dorset countryside which inspired Blyton's books, the two-day trail sets walkers appropriately on an adventure through Poole and the Isle of Purbeck, following six clues to solve a mystery. It incorporates Corfe Castle, Swanage's Victorian Pier and the Swanage Railway.
For 20 years, Blyton and her family visited Dorset for holidays frequently explains trail deviser, Viv Endecott to culture24.org.uk. "She knew Dorset before we gave it labels like the Jurassic Coast or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there would be so much here that she would still recognise."
Endecott designed the trail for families and wanted it to reflect a sense of the time and space that the Famous Five adventures took place within. For those that don't have two full days to devote to the completion of the route, Endecott says that with "careful planing", the trail could be walked in one day.

This got me thinking about other possible walking trails based around fiction books.
The locations in Arthur Ransome's books spring to mind (although you might get your feet wet)

Download the trail leaflet from HERE
Even if you don't walk the trail, you could take some of the ideas that have been included here to create a similar leaflet for your own area.

Via the Ordnance Survey Blog

Google Geo Teachers Institute - 3 of 5

We had a break out session on the use of KML, which was also referred to in some of the other sessions.

KML is Keyhole Markup Language - the name goes back to the software which Google bought, which became Google Earth.
The basic idea of the language is that it uses tags, which define what particular commands or text 'look like'.These can be used to adapt the resources that are used with Google Earth.

This means that the contents of a Google Earth placemark, for example, can be customised, and data visualised in different ways. This is relatively easy to do.

Jamie Buchanan Dunlop shared a link to a really useful PDF download of some of the key shortcuts and code to make your placemarks look more professional.

We also explored how to import data into Google Earth from a GPS handset. Garmin devices had been used to explore St. Stephen's Green, and some tracks produced.
Some further notes are here.

Following the event, I purchased a Kindle copy of a handbook for how to use KML, which is on my iPad.
I'll let you know how I get on with it....

After the first day of the Google GeoTeacher Institute I had a quick snooze (the 3.15 start had taken it out of me) then into town for a walk through some of the famous Dublin streets, and a few pints of Guinness.... 

A new Beaufort scale for summer rain...

I liked this article on the BBC news page.
It suggests an alternative Beaufort Scale, which can be used to describe summer rain.
I've just come back from another soggy school run... (well, walk...) and it's the village fete tomorrow....

Isle of Wight

I like other colours too....

Heavy rain has caused real problems on the Isle of Wight. An island with a population of around 140 000 is seeing the arrival of over 50 000 festival goers, causing gridlock.

Camp sites have been flooded, car parks closed and there are real problems.

As always in an event like this, Twitter provides a stream of stories... Put in a search for #IoW or similar and you'll find people stuck in their cars, plus pictures of seas of mud, tractors towing cars, queues of cars etc. Plenty of real stories and problems to be collated.

This allows the exploration of traffic flows and networks (I remember an old exercise in my 'O' level about networks on Anglesey... perhaps I'll hunt it out ready for the return of 'O' level), impact of weather, and mapping using Google Maps.

e.g. this report


TRAVEL - ROADS: Isle of Wight Festival - 4 mile queues A3054 at Newport

Delays are expected due to Isle of Wight Festival traffic on A3054 Fairlee Road at Victoria Road. There is congestion to B3331 Fishbourne Lane.
Heavy rainfall has made the camp site and car parks muddy. Overnight vehicles have had to be towed onto site using tractors. Police are asking drivers to prepare their vehicles for towing. Traffic is queueing for around 4 miles.


Plenty on ITV Meridian news.

Also the official festival TWITTER STREAM


The impact of the weather on human activity case study ? - done....

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Free Hodder Dynamic Learning Resources

I've spent two separate months as guest blogger at the Hodder Geography Nest. Hodder produce a range of useful materials for geographers.
Hodder have a range of content which they call DYNAMIC LEARNING, and have released a number of free resources, partly for publicity of course, but they also remain really useful materials for teachers to try. They require no login or registration, and provide a taster for the full suite of materials.

The first is a set of materials produced for a book written by my good friend Ollie Bray for a book for the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence Level 3 exploring 'People and Place'.
I was at the SAGT conference in 2010 when this book picked up a Publishers' award.

The second batch of free materials explores Weather and Climate, including Extreme weather and are from the book 'Geography in a Changing World'.
The third batch from the same book is on the theme of Ecosystems.

The fourth set of materials from a later book in the series is on the theme of Environmental Issues. A key stimulus material in this batch of resources is a poem by Mark Cowan called 'Plastic Soup'. I worked with Mark on a programme that we made for Teachers TV (as was), where we explored Climate Change through a poem written by Mark. This one explores the formation of the Pacific Garbage Patch.


I like Leek and Potato
Or I’m partial to a Broth
But I’d struggle to digest 
A soup of garbage and of froth. 
This may well be news to you;
I’m not sure you’ll have heard 
About the death of mammals 
And of millions of birds.
It all sounds rather shocking:
Who committed such a crime?
Well let’s begin the story 
In this Ocean plastic rhyme. 

A fifth batch of resources in this free release is from a book to support the teaching of WJEC 'B' Geography at GCSE. The theme is Service Provision. 

The final free resource in this release is also about Employment and is designed for Edexcel 'A' at GCSE.

Take a look and let me know what you think....

Tales from the Riverbank...

I spent a few days last month cycling up and down towpaths alongside the Leeds - Liverpool canal for a project. I passed by many interesting landmarks, and under many bridges. I saw locks, milestones, weirs, bluebells, fishermen, boat builders, nature reserves, swing bridges for cows and old mills.

This Guardian article describes how Google are now moving on from mapping the roads with Street View to mapping the country's towpaths, rivers and canals.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Rough Guide... Rough ride ?

The new edition of the Rough Guide to Norfolk and Suffolk has been published.

I have talked about, and used, this as a context for descriptive writing for many years now, and it still has legs.
There was some publicity in the local press about the less than complementary descriptions of some local resorts and attractions.
E.g. Great Yarmouth


"not even the greatest apologist for run-down seaside towns would make much of a case for Great Yarmouth"


Watch the video from the local news magazine programme HERE for more (link may disappear...)


One of the places that does well is SOUTHWOLD.
This has also recently been in the news for a campaign to prevent COSTA coffee from opening a branch in the town. The planning application was defeated last night. It's being seen as a victory against the steady 'cloning' of the centre of many towns.

New NING for iGCSE Geography

Matt Podbury has started a new NING for those who are teaching (or about to start teaching) the iGCSE Geography
It's particularly aimed at those doing the Cambridge Specification 0460 although it would probably be useful for those using the Edexcel Specification as well.

As regular readers of the blog will know I was heavily involved in the Harper Collins project to produce a textbook and teacher guide for this specification, which is now available to buy from all good bookshops. This textbook series also supports the Cambridge Specification.

So, if you're teaching this spec or thinking of doing it, come and join us.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning

If you're interested in fieldwork and technology and you've not already bookmarked this site you need to. I've blogged about it before...
Enhancing Fieldwork Learning has a range of useful posts on the value of mobile devices for fieldwork.
The latest additions relate to the use of iPads for education in fieldwork.

I am currently researching fieldwork apps too, for a book I am co-writing.

Earlier today I had a play with FIELD PAPERS. This site uses Open Street Maps for the base mapping. The idea is that you can choose an area, and print off a paper map at an appropriate scale.
These paper maps are taken out into the field and can be annotated, and then 'scanned' back in using a digital photograph.

Each page of the printout has a QR code. This helps the alignment of the annotated version which can then be uploaded.


They contain some marks for lining up and identifying the location, and matching it with the maps on the website.

Finally on the theme of fieldwork learning, I'm going to be exploring a local river valley at the end of the month in the company of Sarah Taigel (@_happymapper on Twitter) and some other volunteers. Sarah is doing some research at UEA on GIS work. The work is summarised on the Communicating Landscape Futures website.

We will be exploring the catchment of the Gaywood River, which I used to live within a hundred yards of for about ten years. For more on the Gaywood Valley, you should follow @Gaywood Valley

All of this will feed into my book, due out in 2013.

I am also grateful to Mark Howell for posting some ideas on COASTAL FIELDWORK on his blog. Some really useful ideas here too.

Remember: "geography without fieldwork is like science without experiments...."

Google Geo Teachers Institute - 2 of 5

The first day of the Geo Teachers Institute was focussed on Google Maps and GOOGLE EARTH.
We are now on version 6.2 of Google Earth, which has come a long way since the earlier versions. Make sure that you have an up to date version from here.
I've previously blogged about the video materials that were made available related to Google Earth.

We heard in person from Jerome Burg who created the idea of GOOGLE LIT TRIPS. These are essentially study guides to accompany books, where the locations or journey in a book have been turned into place marks. The place marks contain descriptions, or questions, or activities, or supplementary information. This is an idea that could be used in schools, although I am cautious of the potential copyright implications here ?
Check the website for files for a range of books, and advice on how to use the website on an iPad - perhaps 'in location'.

There is a new look to the GOOGLE EARTH OUTREACH page. It's worth visiting if you haven't been for a while. There is plenty here to borrow and use, with new support areas.

Also this collaborative GOOGLE DOC has 26 ideas for using Google Earth in the classroom - I contributed a few of them.

Also check out a series of useful videos made by Richard Treves, who presented in London, and is also involved in a UCL funded project looking at using Google Earth to teach undergraduates.

There was a quick tour through points, lines, polygons and tours, but I would have liked to see more of a connection during the day with the teaching of geography, geographical enquiry, and the link with concepts of place, space, scale etc. There was also a little too much emphasis on using the technology inside, rather than using it outside. 


There's plenty of relevant material on my Google Earth Users Guide blog, which I set up in 2006.


Also the KEYHOLE BULLETIN BOARD, which hosted many hundreds of thousands of
The NEW FORUMS or GEC (Google Earth Community) that replaced it don't seem to have the same 'atmosphere' to them - it's all a bit 'corporate' now, and very hard to see what's been added recently and how popular particular postings are.
Perhaps one of the best areas is that where moderators have 'selected' some of the best content. This sort of curation works if the people doing the selecting have good taste of course, and are successful in selecting appropriately for a wide range of audiences... Check the MODERATED area of the Forum. I had a quick look, and discovered some useful glaciation files...

Finally, here's a Google Earth challenge for you.
Thomas de Bruin created an alphabet around the Netherlands.
Why not find and create your own ?
You don't have to find all 26 letters, just start by trying to find three or four, and develop it from there...

In the next post, some information on KML... (not the Dutch airline)

Is Urmston in the North ?

Thanks to the GA for the tipoff to this crowd-sourced project which is trying to establish where 'the NORTH' really is by asking whether a series of places are in 'The North', 'The Midlands' or 'The South'.

It's been put together by Chris Northwood. Answer as many or as few questions as you can... they keep coming. Will be interesting to see what the result is...


Oh, and the answer to the question in the blog post title is 'Yes' (in my opinion)

My Soil...

A very useful new app from the British Geological Survey...

MY SOIL


Update


Have installed on iPad and iPhone and here's a screenshot from near my house... excellent !
This will be very good for Geography / Biology / Ecology fieldwork...



Triptico - Slow Writing

In association with David Didau.
A new Triptico tool from David Riley.
Good for joint Geography - English work...


Derive - the app

The DERIVE APP allows you to unleash your inner psychogeographer...
Have you tried it ? 


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Salzburg CPD Course


You have a chance to join me in Salzburg in late September for a course in Geo-Media. We will be exploring ways of using geographical media, GIS, mapping, images and various other social media. I'd love you to be there...
If you'd like to be, you need to get underway with applying for a COMENIUS grant. It's quite straight-forward. 




National Parks of Northern Ireland

England, Scotland and Wales and the Republic of Ireland all have National Parks (or National Scenic Areas)

Northern Ireland hasn't had National Parks up to now.
A number of areas were added to a 'long-list'...


  • Belfast Hills
  • Lough Neagh
  • Ring of Gullion
  • Strangford Lough
  • Binevenagh
  • Lagan Valley
  • Sperrins
  • Antrim Coast and Glens
  • Causeway Coast
  • Fermanagh Lakes and Mountains
  • Mournes
  • Clogher Valley

From there, the short-list was selected - in red above. Two of those will apparently shortly be named as National Parks.
Have you visited any of these areas ?

Urban Life Wordle

To go with my earlier RURAL one - thanks for all the contributions...
Here's an URBAN LIFE word cloud...

Wordle: Urban Life
Click for bigger version...

For my next request, please suggest four tourist honeypots, and 5-10 words to describe them for the next Wordle...

Google Geo Teachers Institute - Post 1 of 5

This is the first of several posts summarising the learning at the first of two European GeoTeacher Institutes for Summer 2012.
I was invited along by Jamie Buchanan Dunlop, who had helped to facilitate the events.
The venue was Google's Dublin offices, and my hotel was fortuitously situated about 50 yards away. It was a 3.15am start to get to the airport and check in for my flight to Dublin, which was nicely empty, then out of Dublin Airport, and onto the 747 bus to the city centre... out at the portside area, and a swift walk to the offices, arriving ten minutes before nine, when the event was due to start.

I settled into my seat for two days of sessions to develop my knowledge of Google Education projects and products.

A GOOGLE SITE had been set up for the people who were attending the event, and contains a series of links to useful resources.

Here's a picture of me talking about the Google World Wonders project on day two - as previously blogged about.
Thanks to John Bailey for the image.


More posts to come over the next few days...
The London event starts tomorrow.

A geography course in the ATLAS mountains...

Details HERE.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weather haikus - Living Geography....

Back in 2008, I did an activity which involved students writing HAIKU about extreme weather. I put it on Slideshare, and it's been viewed over 3000 times.


A HAIKU is a type of 'poem', which has a tightly controlled structure of syllables.
The structure is usually a total of seventeen syllables organised in three lines. Sometimes this is 5 - 5 - 7, and sometimes 5 - 7- 5
I read today that Arizona's Department of Transportation is using the writing of Haikus as a way of warning residents about a danger to motorists: the dust storms called HABOOBs.


Writers are posting their offerings using the hashtag #haboobhaiku, highlighting the danger of attempting to drive through the roiling dust storms which can block out the sun, and cut highway visibility to zero."The challenge ... is really designed to raise awareness that this is a problem and that drivers shouldn't expect to sail through a dust storm," Department spokesman Timothy Tait told Reuters."They need to think about it when they see that dust forming on the horizon," he added.
Watch the news report here:





Here's one example:


Brown swirls obscure all / Drivers know not to panic / Pull aside, stay alive


And here's an ADOT video...




Could you do better ? Why not tweet your own ideas...
What else could this idea be used for ? What else could we describe ?

New GA publication on Tectonic Hazards

New in the Top Spec series. Ideal for 'A' level studies of Tectonic Hazards, written by Cameron Dunn and Martin Degg. Available from the GA Shop.