Whatever happened to me...

Although I'd never been to Newcastle when I was in my teens, I knew about it, and the areas that had been cleared for new development, and the working class life which was giving way to those who were 'improving their lives', the growth in home ownership, urban redevelopment and other issues.
This was via the lives of Bob and Terry, and Bob's fiancee Thelma, and Bob's sister Audrey.

I 'knew' about Newcastle via 'Whatever happened to the Likely Lads'...

These are some of the most memorable characters and episodes of TV comedy that have been broadcast. Remember Bob and Terry trying to avoid Brian Glover telling them the result of the England match, the Fancy Dress party and Bob in the dock for fighting.

Sad news from a few days ago with the death of Rodney Bewes.

Thanksgiving StoryMap

Christmas Gift Ideas #1

I know that you'll probably want some gift ideas for the geographer in your life (or perhaps you're doing a Secret Santa at work, or within your department), or perhaps you're planning on sending me a small gift in appreciation of the 1000+ resources and ideas I've given you this year via this blog...

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some suggestions for geographical Christmas gifts for the geographer in your life...

Here's the first. A pop up book by James Gulliver Hancock explaining 'How Cities Work'...

Infographics CPD session

This year, staff have been given a large booklet of training courses which are a mix of external and internally offered courses, from which teachers have to choose four during the year.
I've been asked to run some of these courses, and did the first one earlier today. I asked earlier in the month for any comments, and am grateful to a few colleagues who responded.
The session was on how to create an infographic using Piktochart.

Here's the presentation that I used...

I started the session with a bag of Skittles tipped out onto the desk - I've also used mini-boxes of Smarties for this too.
Each sweet was a data point, and had some attributes: colour, flavour etc.
These could be used to group the data, produce graphs, look at distribution etc.
With locational attributes known, they could be plotted onto maps or GIS and the patterns analysed, and reasons for these patterns explored.
The purpose of an infographic is to 'tell the story' of data in a visual way.
We talked about the growing use of infographics on TV news, and in newspapers.

To reinforce this, I have a copy of the book below: 'Dear Data', which tells the story of a year-long correspondence between two friends, with 52 projects exploring personal data. I showed some of the methods that they used to illustrate particular data, such as how often they picked up their mobile phone and why....

There was also a hand-out, which has some basic details on how to set up Piktochart and make a start on using it.
The whole session lasted around an hour.
Thanks to the colleagues who came along...

Lost ice and lost meaning...

A New York Times article which has a relevance for the work I am doing on Polar regions at the moment, but also a tremendous resonance about the connection between people and ice.
I will be adding this to some articles from the 'Earth' magazine, which explore the changing lives of Inuit hunters, and the changing landscapes they now need to navigate.

“Inuit are people of the sea ice. If there is no more sea ice, how can we be people of the sea ice?”

Tokyo Bousai

Tokyo Bousai is an emergency guide which was issued to households in Tokyo in 2015 to help them prepare for the likelihood of a large earthquake.
The whole thing can be downloaded, and is also available in English, as there are a significant number of overseas residents in the city, who speak English as a first language. The guide includes a full set of illustrated guidance and checklists, and a manga style comic visualising a large earthquake. It also includes maps, planning cards and other elements.

Bousai is Japanese for "disaster preparedness". 

The whole thing is printed in bright yellow covers, so you can't miss it when it's on the shelf...

Check out the Disaster Preparedness Map too...

I've been using this with Year 10 this year to explore primary and secondary effects and the importance of individual responses as well as the larger scale migitation which cities need. The issuing of Bousai is a city-wide response to the earthquake threat facing the city...

Teaching OCR B GCSE Geography?

Don't forget my OCR 'B' GCSE Geography Blog, which I started in time for September this year, when I started teaching Year 10 using the textbook that I helped to write (and contributions from other people too)

I'm currently teaching Global Hazards, so most of the content there at the moment is connected to that unit. It will develop over the next year and a half as I teach the rest of the course...

Dan Raven Ellison interview....

Expedition Volcano

Check out BBC2 at 9 o' clock tonight (after Blue Planet II has finished) for the first episode in a series based around the Nyiragongo volcano 

Details from BBC iPlayer website

In the heart of Africa, deep in the Congo, is one of the most spectacular volcanoes on Earth - Nyiragongo. This spectacular volcano contains a massive boiling cauldron of molten rock - the world's largest continually active lava lake. But it is also one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. It has erupted twice in the last 50 years, most recently in 2002, wreaking havoc and destruction on the people who live in the nearby city of Goma. This region is also dangerous for another reason - it has been racked by war and humanitarian crises for most of the last 30 years, so Nyiragongo is one of the least studied active volcanoes on Earth.

But now, an international and local team of scientists are mounting a major expedition to study the volcano. They are attempting to discover the warning signs that it is building towards a new eruption, so they can alert the people of Goma before it erupts again. The team will take around four tonnes of climbing equipment, scientific instruments and supplies up to the crater rim. Then a small team will descend into the crater itself - 350m down a potentially deadly rockface - to spend a week camping right next to the lava lake. The expedition is led by Belgian scientist Dr Benoit Smets, who is an expert on Nyiragongo. He is joined by British geologist Prof Chris Jackson. Together, they work with the rest of the team using gas-sampling equipment, thermal cameras and sound waves to try and predict when the volcano will next erupt.

But there is another side to this volcano. As well as the threat of eruption, it impacts life in Goma and the surrounding area in many surprising ways. Humanitarian doctor Xand van Tulleken investigates how Nyiragongo has transformed people's lives by looking at the hidden dangers - from deadly disease to suffocating gases. In charge of expedition logistics is former Royal Marine Aldo Kane. It is his job to get everyone in and out of the crater safely. But during the expedition, he will also risk his life to get the team as near to the lava lake as possible.

City Sets

City Sets offers free icon sets which relate to particular cities in a number of formats which allow them to be put into design software. Would be useful to look at the images that have chosen and consider whether they are an appropriate representation of the city in question.
What would you have included? 
Can you design a few of the 'missing' icons in the same style?
e.g. part of the London set is shown below....

Underneath the Landscape

A new exhibition has opened at the Cambridge University Library and runs through to next year.
It is called Landscapes Below.
Description from the website:

A box full of diamonds, volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius, and the geology guide that Darwin packed for his epic voyage on the Beagle will go on display in Cambridge this week as part of the first major exhibition to celebrate geological map-making.

Uncovering how the ground beneath our feet was mapped for the first time – and revealing some of the controversies and tragedies geology brought to the surface of intellectual debate, Landscapes Below opens to the public on Friday, November 24, at Cambridge University Library.

Featuring the biggest-ever object (1.9mx1.6m) to go on display at the Library: George Bellas Greenough’s 1819 A Geological Map of England and Wales (the first map produced by the Geological Society of London), as well as a visually stunning collection of maps from the earliest days of geology – the exhibition explores how these new subterranean visions of the British landscape influenced our understanding of the Earth. All the maps belonging to the library are going on display for the first time.

“I think the maps are beautiful objects, tell fascinating stories and frame geology in a new light,” said exhibition curator Allison Ksiazkiewicz. “This was a new take on nature and a new way of thinking about the landscape for those interested in nature.

Thanks to Dr. David Jarratt on Twitter for the tipoff...

Tiny landmarks

Via This is Colossal

Maxwell Tilse has been travelling Europe, and creating miniature landscape. He recently visited London and created some familiar (and not so familiar buildings) and took photos holding them up next to them for comparison. A variation on other similar photo projects which I've blogged about before...

Where does the money go?

An Australian video exploring where the money goes when you buy a pair of Nike trainers...

Be more Oldfield...

The Lives Behind the Label

A new 'Follow the Things' style resource exploring the Lives Behind the Label.
It's been put together by the New Internationalist.

It's an interactive resource which will go well into our Geography of my Stuff unit for Year 8.
Meet the people behind the high street: garment workers of Bangladesh.

There are 6 garments that you can click on, each of which gives you access to a story (the total time for these is around 20 minutes so that would work well with a lesson for a self-guided lesson.
There are some interesting stories here, particularly the film on Sharif, who belongs to the hijra: the third gender community who have particular issues to deal with.
There is also a photo gallery of garment workers, which shows their different personalities. It was developed along with the Awaj Foundation in Bangladesh.

Thanks to Stephen Schwab for the early heads-up on this resource.

Nice work by Paul Myles and Davide Morandini

The Tragedy of the Commons

Flashback to 1983, and I'm in a lecture room in Huddersfield listening to Alan Pitkethly: a charismatic lecturer who spoke without notes, and told us a story of salmon fishing, changing river conditions and the use of resources.

He introduces us all to an idea called the Tragedy of the Commons, developed by Garrett Hardin, an ecologist. It struck a chord with me, and I enjoyed teaching it when it was part of the old Cambridge board 'A' level back in the day too. Thanks to Ben King for this link here... connected to a Ted Talk.

Mend our Mountains

A new campaign by the BMC targets our mountains, and is trying to raise one million to improve the nation's mountains. There's a useful video here showing the background to the campaign.

New GA CPD course on Developing Essential Geographical Skills

There's a brand new course being offered next year by the Geographical Association which looks rather good. Having led 40 or so GA CPD courses in my time, I usually had to do it by myself, but this one has a number of presenters: two excellent colleagues from the GA's Secondary Phase Committee, a teacher educator, and two folks from the Gapminder Foundation!
The course introduces teachers to a number of essential skills, and the tools required to develop those skills.
Details are HERE.

This one-day conference will support you in developing both your own and your students’ geographical skills. In a world of fake news, the keynote address (by Gapminder) and Workshop 1 will support a fact-based worldview which will encourage students to think critically about global trends and sustainable development. Workshop 2 focuses on developing your own skills by providing practical tips and advice from a recently qualified teacher, while Workshop 3 will provide support to enable the development of students’ spatial, graphical and statistical skills. The day will conclude by reflecting on and identifying the next steps in your professional learning.

One of the most eye-catching aspects of this conference is the price: just £30 for GA members, but then it is being held, unusually for GA events on a Saturday.

Plenty of ways then that this course is a little different from previous GA offerings. I am sure there will be lots of interest...

Piktochart CPD - any top tips?

I'm running a CPD session next week on the use of Piktochart to produce Infographics.

Does anyone have any ideas or tips from having used this tool in their own school / department?
Will share what I create here on Monday next week, ahead of the session...


"Undersea cities, teeming with life. As in any crowded metropolis, there are fierce rivalries for space, food and a partner, but they are also places full of opportunity..."

The opening words of David Attenborough from last week's Blue Planet II episode on Coral Reefs. 

I've worked on a few Corals resources in my time.
I created a draft scheme of work for Geography for Digital Explorer as part of the Coral Oceans project, with Catlin.
I've also created some Google Expeditions resources, and one of them is a virtual tour of the Great Barrier Reef, which you can download from TES Resources.

The Glass Room

I popped into this last week while on the way to the Royal Geographical Society.

It's a temporary installation in London which has been put together by the Mozilla Foundation.
It was located on Charing Cross Road but has now closed.
The aim of the project is to show how much of our personal data is collected, and made publicly available.
There were some interesting ideas: images, data capture, and also some funky free postcards which I grabbed copies of.
Check out the website to find out more.
Or watch this short film...


Many thanks to Professor Ian Cook of Follow the Things fame, for sourcing and sending me a copy of Mallopoly: a subversive game made by Louise Ashcroft.
It is designed to be used at the Westfield Mall, but could also be used in other locations. As the Icelandic tour guide we had on my first visit to Iceland said "Once you've seen a mall, you've seen 'em all....."

There are various other games called Mallopoly...

EE and Trade Justice

I'm due a phone upgrade, so have been reading the information on the iPhone X and wondering whether to upgrade to it.
I noticed that EE, my provider, has a Modern Slavery Statement on their website.
A reminder of the stories behind our products.

Oliver Jeffers

I ended the week by heading over to St. Mary's Church, a short stroll from school, to see Oliver Jeffers after school tonight.
He was doing a talk and book signing of his new book, which is described as 'notes for living on Planet Earth'. It's a geography primer for young people, as well as a reminder of the importance of kindness. Written for his two year old son, it's beautifully illustrated and has a whole lot of geography in there.
Oliver was a good speaker, with plenty of drawings, some reading and advice for all who came...

Landscapes of Detectorists

Detectorists is one of the best things that has been on the telly over the last few years.
Now there is an opportunity to prepare a paper connected with it for the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in 2018.

The focus is on Landscapes, and there is no shortage of recent reading I've done that would connect with that, such as David Matless's book 'Landscape and Englishness' and recent work by Rebecca Solnit and Lauret Savoy.

I'm almost tempted to put something together as a contribution, but haven't much experience in academic conferences, other than the GTE.

The conference strand is described as follows by Innes Keighren:

Where “Detectorists” is distinct from most situation comedies is that much of the action takes place outdoors, in the fields and meadows where the programme’s protagonists pursue their hobby. Both aesthetically and thematically, landscape dominates “Detectorists”. Filmed on location in Framlingham, Suffolk—standing in for Essex, and the fictional town of Danebury—the visual palate of the programme enfolds a non-human supporting cast of insects, birds, plants, and trees, and variously echoes the landscape paintings of Thomas Gainsborough and George Shaw, and the cinematic vision of Peter Hall’s “Akenfield” (1974).

Landscape is, also, the focus of the protagonists’ preoccupations; it is variously walked, surveyed, sensed, gazed upon, read, and dug.

Landscape is where the programme’s characters seek solitude, find companionship, and navigate the sometimes dramatic intrusions from ‘the rude world’.

Landscape reveals the past while concealing the prospect of future discovery.

ECM - now on Spotify

There are a few notable omissions from Spotify - some like Pink Floyd have been resolved, but Peter Gabriel and King Crimson are among the bands who I would like to see added.

Earlier this week, I heard that one of the major gaps in the catalogue had been filled with the release of the recordings on the ECM label. I've been collecting albums on this label since the early 1980s...
This means we now have access to the catalogue of artists such as Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Ale Moller and Lena Willemark, John Surman and a host of other musicians.

I now have plenty more musical inspiration to draw on....

Happy World GIS Day

This takes place today, and I will be in Cambridge on a day's fieldwork with Year 11s, making use of Survey123 App and ArcGIS Online, plus may have a go with Snap2Map to create a StoryMap.
What are you planning to do for GIS Day?

To Hull and back... again...

Up to Hull on Saturday.
I've been up regularly since I trained as a teacher 30 years ago, to work with other cohorts of PGCE colleagues at the University.

I went up to see the Pat Metheny Quartet at the City Hall. I first saw them 35 years ago, and Pat had the same energy as then, with some wonderful versions of old and familiar songs. It was also a chance to wander the old town and revisit some of the pubs and other familiar places.

I quickly realised that there was something on, as the city was buzzing, and it turned out there were around 10 000 people who'd come in to see the final major event of Hull's year as the UK City of Culture.

It was linked to the famous street called 'The Land of Green Ginger', which I also visited, but the usual pubs I'd have got in were rammed because of the parade. The parade itself was excellent. It was a magical parade of animals and music, with fireworks and pyrotechnics and a giant animatronic figure called Crom.
All in all an excellent evening...
Pat finished the concert with an acoustic medley of tunes, including an excellent version of the song he recorded with David Bowie: 'This is not America' - which has been interpreted as a statement on the current state of the USA politically....
Image: Alan Parkinson


Currently devouring the latest book by Horatio Clare.
His last book 'Down to the Sea in Ships' was on the lives of sailors crewing container ships, and was excellent.
This book grabs you from the start, with tales of Finland, and the ice in the Bay of Bothnia. It's very nicely written, with beautiful descriptions of the icy seascapes and landscapes, mixed with the signs of climate change that are becoming increasingly apparent.

There's one obvious omission from the book: a decent map showing all the locations described so that you can get a sense for how they relate to each other, and the relative positions and distances involved.

Add it to your Christmas list...

Mission:Explore Iceland - revisited

If you go to the Discover Geography website (developed by Discover the World in association with the Geographical Association) you will be able to register to download some free resources connected with the locations that Discover the World take students to. These include video materials developed by Simon Ross, and work by David Rogers.

Under the Guest Resources section, you will also find a link to download the Student and Teacher booklets produced for the Mission:Explore Iceland project.
This was the work of John Sayers and myself, illustrated by Tom Morgan-Jones, and edited, designed and shaped by Helen Steer. 

There were quite a few ideas that didn't make the final cut. I was sorting out some notebooks this week and came across one that I'd filled in back in 2010, when I took part in an inspection trip organised by Travelbound, and in there were a whole host of ideas for a possible future Mission:Explore Iceland, most of which were never used, or even considered for the final resource.

The final 43 missions in the resource we created for Discover the World were excellent but there were another 60 that were never used. I'm going to share some of those in a new resource over the next month or so...

While we're on the subject of tourism in Iceland, this message earlier this week from the travel company The School Travel Consultancy that they were no longer going to offer trips to Iceland.

And here's the view of Discover the World on that subject.

I'm sure there's plenty more to come on this over the next few years...

Image: copyright Tom Morgan Jones / Discover the World Education

Citee Shirt Kickstarter

I own a few of these wonderful shirts: various cities including Norwich and Helsinki.

Alex is now making them available in black, with white detailing, which I think will look much more effective and striking.
There are plenty of cities available as before... I've claimed another city as an Early Bird backer, and will be wearing it at the GA Conference 2018... Guess which city I may have chosen for my latest city...

Ben Saunders - trans-Antarctic expedition

Our Year 8s are currently investigating the journey to the Pole made by Scott and Amundsen, and contrasting this with the modern day technology used by explorers and scientists.
We will be following the attempt by Ben Saunders to make an unsupported, unassisted (no kites or other external aids) crossing of Antarctica.

This was the journey being made by Henry Worsley who tragically died last year. We followed this journey too.
Ben has a tracker on his pulk (sledge) and we will follow the progress. He has just started his journey. We left him a message of support earlier in the week too.

Thanks to Ben for sending us a message from the ice....

Wandering in Norfolk

Reading this book earlier, and it was some excellent elements of geography, history and literature with a Norfolk focus. It's written by David Howe, and published locally too. I liked the section on the cliffs of Hunstanton, which I'm writing about at the moment.

Earlier today, went over to Burnham Deepdale, and as we headed there the weather got filthier. Coming over from Burnham Market, the coast looked grey and the rain was hammering down, but important to get out, and see it in weather like this. It's on days like these that the coast is reshaped: days when the wind comes directly from the Arctic.

The book contains a poem 'written by John Kett'.

Dew Yew Look Up!

We can't show yew a mount'n
An, bor, we're short o'hills
An' yew oon't taake long a'countin'
Ar caastles an' ar mills.
But don't yew set their sighin' -
Jus' caast yar oyes up high
Where clouds an' baads are flyin'
An' see ar Norfick Sky!

London Now, London Future

This deserves a post by itself as it was one of the highlights of the RGS Teachmeet...
London Now, London Future... is linked to an exhibition on at the moment - catch it while you can.
Produced by the Museum of London, in association with teacher Kate Stockings, who is also one of the RGS's Data Skills Champions.

There is also an accompanying teacher guide.
Click this link to download it as a PDF file. (PDF download)

Kate has also made another free resource which includes 'fake' Twitter feeds of some of the sustainability initiatives that are featured in the teacher resource. They are available on TES resources.

Lovely work by Kate, and others involved in the project.

New Land-use mapping

Alasdair Rae has produced a number of excellent maps, and this is one his most useful projects to date.
This BBC News article is interesting, and explains something of the project.

You can use the tool linked to from above to explore your own area.
Have a guess what the percentages might be before you do this, or compare your area with the country.
There are some interesting additional facts in this blog. I like this one for example:

Buildings cover less of Britain than the land revealed when the tide goes out...

Download the whole Atlas of Land Cover in the UK here....

I put in my own postcode where I live, expecting a larger than average amount for farmland...
And unsurprisingly, it is up to 81%, with only 3% built on...

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter. @undertheraedar

Teachmeet at the RGS - 1 of 2

I would have been quite happy to go home and have an early night last nght, but instead found myself on the train to London on a school night, to speak at the 3rd Teachmeet hosted by the RGS-IBG, and organised by David Rogers.

I found my way across to Kensington via the Wellcome Collection (which had an interesting graphic design exhibition), and the British Museum (although my original plans were scuppered by Her Majesty, who was making an official visit, so the bit I wanted was closed off) and then some food in a convenient Wetherspoons...
The ice rink was open as always outside the Natural History Museum.

More on the evening to come in a 2nd post, but for now, here's a copy of my presentation so that those who wanted to see it can do...

TM RGS from GeoBlogs

Image: Paula Owens 

Over 7500 posts

Since I started this blog (when I heard the news that I would be working for the Geographical Association, back in May 2008), I've posted regularly apart from annual Christmas breaks...

Earlier this weekend, I posted my 7500th addition to the blog, which has millions of words, thousands of images, video links, resources, book reviews, lesson ideas and cross posts from the many other blogs that I also run (some of which also have thousands of posts).

Twitter is sometimes described as a 'micro-blogging site' from the perspective that it allows users to 'publish' their thoughts.
I remember the excitement back in 2004ish when I first started blogging, and leading some training for teachers in how to set up their own blog.
I think for me blogging is my 'addiction'. Where others might get excitement from a flutter at the bookies, I still get excited when an interesting geographical story comes in front of me via whatever means, and I can't wait to shape it into a post, with a suitable image and get it up online, so that it forms part of the body of work that blogs can develop into...
They are also very useful when planning to teach new topics: a quick search will throw up plenty of ideas and weblinks which were previously posted.
Image: Alan Parkinson

Parallel Maps - something for everyone...

There are many map visualisations out there, and most of them have appeared on LivingGeography over the years.
Parallel maps have been getting a lot of attention over the last few days as one of their latest projects (from October 2017), which maps census data on population structure has been more widely discovered.
It includes a 3D option with panning and tilting of the mapping.
The population pyramids are drawn instantly as the cursor is moved over a particular Census output area.
This allows for instant comparisons between different parts of a city, or urban/rural comparisons, or a look at how certain areas are attracting retirement populations.

Here's evidence of Student populations being concentrated in certain areas of Leeds - linked to the OCR 'B' Geography chapters that I wrote.

It's worth remembering that there are other Parallel map projects too - explore the whole website to find maps on air quality and other variables.

For example, how about these COLOUR IN YOUR OWN MAPS options.

Zoom to an area, and then use the buttons to identify a particular colour for it...

These maps can also be switched to other views.

Also try the RISK OF FLOODING maps, from April 2017, which are particularly useful when exploring flood risk topics with students.

There are plenty more.... Lovely work by the folks at Parallel...

GI Learner Madrid Meeting 4 - Conclusion

Image credit: Alex Prodan

An early start again, to wander up to Avenida de America to get the bus back to the airport. Would like to have had a little more time to wander the city, and if my original Ryan Air flight was OK I would have had just that...

Here's a Slideshow of images from the meeting...


Madrid was good to us, and look forward to being back there in 4 months' time with students for a further exploration of the city...

Iceland - it's a bit crowded

Interesting seeing at least 15 teachers that I follow on Twitter as they visit Iceland last week: the main half term for many UK schools. There were thousands of geography students there, with a number of coaches lined up at the popular attractions.
When we went last with school, we decided to go the following week, when it was a lot quieter, and with similar amounts of daylight and temperatures... We were also fortunate with the Northern lights, although there were plenty of sightings last week too.
There has been some talk of late about the impact of tourism in Iceland, and I produced a collaborative ESRI StoryMap here. If you want to add an extra example of how tourism might be affecting an area that would be great...
It's embedded below...

This BBC article asks the same question with respect to Iceland, and it's a question that has been asked before in recent times.

Thanks to David Rogers for sharing these images and allowing me to use it here...
A reminder of the growing trend in the use of drones. Here are some signs at tourist spots in Iceland regarding the use of drones in these areas...

Image credit: David Rogers

Some cities have banned some tourist activities. I noticed when in Madrid that there were several Segway tours going around the central part of the city. Here's a tour near the Opera, taken last week, riding Segeways...

Image: Alan Parkinson

GI Learner Madrid Meeting 3 - Day 2

GI Partners at ESRI Spanish Conference - picture credit Alex Prodan

Another shortened night thanks to nocturnal noise - Madrid is rarely quiet. Out for desayuno again, and then walked over to the school for the second day of meetings. This time, our focus was more on administration, and the next stages of the GI Learner project, including the teaching resources, and the student feedback on the work done so far. We are going to launch some of the materials that we have created on the website shortly.

After the main part of the meeting was over, some colleagues started to make their return journey home. We went into the city centre by bus, through the rush hour, and past the large sign on the city hall which says 'Refugees Welcome'. The Catalonian parliament earlier that day had declared independence, and I half expected to see some sort of demonstration or gathering in the city centre, but there weren't any.
We went to the cathedral, and Royal Palace, and then toasted the work we'd done over the last few days with a glass of Rioja in a restaurant built into an old fortress.
Thanks to Maria Luisa from Complutense University of Madrid for her hosting and guiding during the visit.

Hugh Miller Writing Competition

One of the MANY writing projects I've completed over the last 10 years or so was the work surrounding the Cruise of the Betsey project, which followed the travels of geologist and preacher  Hugh Miller. The website, which I produced is here.

The 2 voyages of the Betsey took place in two summers of 2014 and 2015. I was invited to go, but was unable due to my teaching commitments.
The new competition involves a response to a Scottish fossil discovery.

This year, poetry and prose entries are invited that are inspired by fossil discoveries made in Scotland over the last 30 years. As a prolific writer on the subject of fossils, particularly his beloved Devonian fish, Hugh Miller’s texts also provide the reader with a wealth of potential inspiration. We hope that this writing competition, open to all ages, will encourage both a renewed interest in Miller’s work, and contribute to a catalogue of new writings inspired by one of Scotland’s greatest nature writers. We also aim to highlight the role that Scotland’s geology plays in filling gaps in our understanding of the evolution of life and foster greater awareness and appreciation of Scotland’s geodiversity.
The competition is open now. The competition is organised by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, The Friends of Hugh Miller and other partners.

Partners are shown below - plenty of connections with the history and geology of Scotland here.

Worth giving it a go if you have a story to share...

Here is the StoryMap that I produced as part of the project: an early use of the technology

Trick or Treat?

Haribo are the sweet of choice for many...
I had a big bowl today waiting for Trick or Treaters - in the end we had fewer than in previous years.

I've included a link to an article regarding a German investigation into the production of gelatine which goes into Haribo sweets and alleges that it is not being produced in as ethical a way as it might be.
I've got a ton of bags of these Trick or Treat sweets as I bought them for Hallowe'en... are they a trick or a treat?
Image: Alan Parkinson

EuroGeo Conference 2018 - University of Cologne

The EuroGeo Conference for 2018 is being held at the University of Cologne.
I'm hoping to be there, representing the GI Learner project, and offering a workshop.

I've attended the conference in the past and there are always useful sessions and keynotes, along with an exhibition.

Destination Cities StoryMap

There have been many StoryMaps created over the last year or so, since the new templates made the process much easier.

One Twitter feed to follow is that of Allen Carroll.

He is the Programme Manager for Storytelling at ESRI, and former Chief Cartographer at National Geographic, so has quite a pedigree in map creation....
He regularly shares links to great StoryMaps, so follow him for plenty more...

Lovely Streets

Picked up a really nice notebook in the Madrid airport yesterday, created by Lovely Streets.
They had some interesting merchandise, themed around cities, travel and exploration. Worth checking out, although there are extra delivery fees to the UK. I shall look after my little notebook and use it during future travels to EU cities...