North and West Norfolk Monopoly

Available from a number of places in West Norfolk. Raising money for Tapping House Hospice - the Norfolk Hospice.

SAGT Conference 2019 - #3 South Georgia

The reason for going up to SAGT was to present on a new resource I am producing for the South Georgia Heritage Trust.
This is out in the new year.
The SGHT had a stand at the conference, manned by CEO Alison Neill.

Image may contain: people sitting

Please sign up here to be informed when the resource goes live, and we will send you a link to download the new PDF. We will only use your e-mail address to send you the link and then delete the details - they will not be stored any longer than needed.

Worth following Mark Brandon's twitter feed for his recent travel - he is in South Georgia at the moment, exploring the end of Shackleton's crossing and the whaling station at Stromness.

UK Climate Emergency Poll - some early results

At the end of last week, a group of us called Geographers for Life launched a UK Youth Climate Emergency Flash Poll. 

We ran it for a week and shared it very widely. The tweet where we launched it had over 50 000 impressions, which was impressive.

The results can be viewed here in the embedded map. More outcomes to come....

And here is a first


Changing Places: Hveragerdi, Iceland from DiscovertheWorldEducation on Vimeo.

An excellent video from Simon Ross and Discover the World Education. It introduces you to this small town which will be familiar to many visitors, and which has an interesting history.

Antarctic sound clips

Antarctic sound clips from the Scott Polar Museum, part of the new Shackleton Online collection.
If you're in Cambridge, you can pick up some interesting Christmas gifts from the shop at the Scott Polar Museum too.

FSC 75th Anniversary Celebration

There were two livestreams of the am and pm sessions at the FSC's 75th Anniversary celebrations I attended last week.
The morning one is here.

The afternoon sessions are here...
This includes Gill Miller of the GA, and Professor Iain Stewart

More thoughts in a future blog post...

WEMC Education Visualisation Tool

The beta of the C3S Climate and Energy Education Tool, developed by the World Energy and Meteorology Council is now live – have a look:
It would be great if you could have a play, share, and perhaps comment on social media using the hashtag #C3SeduWEMC.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Climate & Energy Education Demonstrator gives access to reliable and robust scientific data through intuitive displays and controls. 
It offers a great opportunity to easily explore first-hand how our climate is changing in a way that matches the school curriculum.

A launch webinar will take place on Tuesday 7th January 2020 at 4pm GMT/UTC

The tool and associated webinar would be of interest to those teaching energy/climate related topics.

Climbing and Climate Change

This BBC piece explains how some Alpine peaks are now close to being closed due to the safety of climbers.

The Matterhorn is one of the famous peaks which is being considered as being close to closure as the rocks are becoming loosened due to a thawing of the water content within them.
I visited the Alps at the start of 2018, and saw the disappearance of the Mer de Glace written in the signs that are on the side of the steps as you descend to the level of the ice from Montenvers station.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Mexico - Google Crisis

A useful Google document on the way that Google Crisis response was brought to play following an earthquake in Mexico, helping people to find out what was happening, and where they could go for help.

FSC 75th Anniversary

I was invited to this event, which is to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Field Studies Council, and held in London.
The day featured a range of sessions which were varied in their scope and approach, but all around the same theme of the importance of learning outside.
Thanks to the FSC for the invitation, and to the Linnean Society for hosting. I shall be sharing some of my take aways from the day in a future blog post, but it was lovely to chat with some old friends and colleagues, and meet some new friends.

Thought for the Day

“Thinking geographically offers a uniquely powerful way of seeing the world and making connections between scales from the local to the global’… the zoom lens attribute of geography that shows how decisions and events at a local level can have global consequences. 
Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield

Climate Change survey

Dear fellow geographers

We need your help to make something important go viral so, one geographer to another, we are hoping that you'll pass this message on to 5 more Geography educators/influencers. 

What do the young people of the UK think about the climate and nature emergencies? 

Myself and a group of geographers (Geographers For Life) working in primary, secondary, and higher education have released a flash poll to find out. Please ask young people you teach (or parent!) to complete this poll AND share it with 5 more geographers to help us spread the poll far and wide. You can also pass it on to your kids, your neighbours, your friends and colleagues, your students... 

It's important that we get as many participants as possible so the key messages emerging from this poll make people sit up and listen. We want to gauge the opinions of young people now, before the election, so that we can communicate how the next generation really feels about the impacts of and solutions to climate and environmental change, and what they want to see done by the government. 

Responses will be anonymous, and all results will be made publicly available when the poll closes this Friday - 6th December. 

Thank you, 

Ben King 
Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Torbay, Devon 

Iain Stewart
Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth 

Paul Chatterton

Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Leeds

Caroline Clason
Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Plymouth

Daniel Raven-Ellison

Paula Owens
Teacher, mentor @LESSCO2Schools
Visiting research fellow Canterbury Christ Church Uni. 

Alan Parkinson
 JVP of the Geographical Association, King's Ely School

Flickr followers - a 100th follower needed please

I've been sharing images over on Flickr for over 12 years.
There have been over 28 000 images added to my account, and they have been viewed three-quarters of a million times.
I'm on 99 followers, so if you would like to follow me and have your own Flickr account please do, and I shall follow you back.... it would be good to get over 100 followers.

David Holmes is one of the geographers who uses Flickr to share his images, and he has produced a useful account called Geography SouthWest with albums which I have contributed a few images to.

Do you use Flickr?
Please let me know, and I will put together a list of Geographers using Flickr for a future Webwatch list.
A few others that I have used.

Bryan Ledgard:
Geographical Association (includes Conference photos from the last few years):

Scottish Association of Geography Teachers - many images taken by Val Vannet

Ordnance Survey:

Felicity Aston

Felicity is doing a series of talks in the Spring Term for the RGS lecture series.
She's coming to King's Lynn on the 13th of March, and I will be there with some students.

Jon Snow speaking to David Attenborough

An important interview, with some clear thinking on our shared future.

Coastal Erosion in Happisburgh

Which areas of coastline are most at risk from erosion?

The Environment Agency has created these maps which allow you to zoom into areas of coastline and see to what extent they have been defended.

The insurance company has been busy producing assessments of which communities around the coast are most at risk of erosion. Click on one to see a simple map, some data about the settlement, along with an animation of the rate of erosion over the next few decades.

At number one is Happisburgh.
An interesting article in the i paper today, on the Norfolk village of Happisburgh.

SAGT Conference 2019 #2 - Lorna Dawson keynote

Apologies for delay - a busy half term so far...
SAGT Conference was held at Dollar Academy near Stirling once again, at the end of October - nearly a month ago now. This meant a long train journey up to Stirling, via Ely. I arrived in Stirling just as the SAGT folks were checking in, so ended up heading for the Allan Park Hotel in Stirling for a meal and chat with friends old and new, and Doug Allan, the wildlife cameraman who has worked with David Attenborough.
After breakfast, it was over to Dollar, with a crisp start next to the Tay.
I helped with the Geographical Association stand, which was being looked after by Steve Rawlinson, and Gill Miller, this year's President was also in attendance.
The first keynote of SAGT 2019 was by Lorna Dawson.
It was sponsored by esri UK

Here are my notes, any errors in meaning are mine. This was a really enjoyable session.

Lorna Dawson is a Forensic soil scientist, and works for the James Hutton Institute.
Her twitter feed is @soilfit and is well worth following.
She described how Forensic Science is not new. Romans looked at the soil in hooves of their enemies to trace where they had been.
On the Prussian railway, people were stealing gold, and substituting it with sand to put weight in.
They looked at the sand and compared it with that in the barrels and excluded all but one station where people were stealing the gold and caught people.
Evidence is about linking trace material with a place.

She has worked on a number of programmes including Silent Witness and Countryfile. On the 'One Show', she was given a soil sample from somewhere in Scotland and was able to get within 700m
A good quote:
“Without GIS tools, we geographers couldn’t do the work that we do”

Lorna described hereself as "a geographer specialising in soil science".

“Geographers are particularly good at communicating the science and are safe knowledge brokers”

Liaising with police, farmers, politicans and lawyers, who speak different languauges
“Geographers are particularly good at translating knowledge into expertise and understanding”

Conan Doyle - used the idea of soils in crime novels - London clay was seen on people's clothing - spatial information about where it had come from was all important.
Every contact leaves a trace.
Everyone here will leave something behind that will tell that you have been in this room - forensically.
The link between person and place is important.

Filter in a washing machine - in one case, soil was found in the filter and mineral component could be checked, as the criminal had washed their jeans, and connected them with the place

Soil is complex - a microcosm of
Biology / Chemistry / Physics
Geology / Organic matter
It has a signature: DNA - can be extracted from soil

Spatial resolution of the data - James Hutton Institute -database of soil information.

There are apparently only 4 soils which Scottish students need to know about, including:

Brown earths - productive crops
Podsols - uplands
Gleys - lovely grass for livestock
Peatlands - sequestering carbon - value of soils

Gas chromatography is one scientific technique being used to identify elements of the soil.
Working out the scenario of what could have happened - crime reconstruction.
GPR - "ground penetrating radar" also being used.
Volatile organic compounds from a decomposing body can be identified using these scientific methods as well as fibres from clothing.
Sand is not just sand....
2nd case example was this one.

She talked about crime writers she had worked with.
Ann Cleeves work

Ian Rankin
Val MacDermid quote was excellent.

"I think people sometimes underestimate the power of setting, in particular with the crime novel, because everybody knows murders are not solved the way we write about them in our books, it’s not how it happens. If we wrote about the reality it would be so boring no one would read it, so what we have to do is to persuade the reader to come with us on this journey of suspension of disbelief, and anything you can do to make your book feel more plausible helps you with that.

So if you write about place in a way that for someone who knows that place, that absolutely they’re there with you and you’ve got it right – the way people will read and think I know that café, I know that park, I’ve waited at that bus stop – if you get those details right then they trust you about everything else you’re telling them…

In order to take people on that journey of setting, you make your setting vivid, you make it rich, you make it part of the world of the book, and you use all the five senses as well, sight, sound, smell, touch, hearing, and taste."

This is an excellent quote for geographers and sense of place.

An excellent conference keynote.

Image: Ian Crisp

'A' Level Data Analysis StoryMap

Guildford - what would you investigate?

One of the things I will be doing in Guildford at the GA Conference in April next year is leading a fieldtrip for colleagues to explore some ideas developed in the book that I co-wrote with John Widdowson called 'Fieldwork through Enquiry', which is coming out in a 2nd edition in a few month's time I understand. 

It's been trailed in the latest GA Magazine and will hopefully be available to order soon from the GA Shop.

If you were taking some students to Guildford, what would you do with them? 

GCSE or NEA level, or perhaps at KS3

The RGS has a Clone Town resource based in Guildford.

What particular aspects of fieldwork would you like to trial if you were taking part in some CPD?

Population Pyramids made in Google Sheets

May be of interest to some as a technique to use.

Slow Ways Hack Day

Another initiative by Daniel Raven Ellison which we can get behind.

Free tickets available from Eventbrite.

More details here:

100 volunteers needed! Help create a network of 1,000+ walking routes connecting all of Great Britain's towns and cities - in just one day.


I'm a geographer, walker and campaigner. You can read more about my work and collaborations here. A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder...

What if there was a network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain's towns and cities? And... why doesn't that exist already?

While there are thousands of miles of paths linking places across the country, there isn't a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between all towns and cities. A breakthrough is needed.

Using existing footpaths, Slow Ways is a bold collaborative project to design a network of over 1,000 routes that can be used to inspire and guide walking between towns, cities and villages. People will be able to use it to walk between neighbouring settlements or to combine multiple Slow Way routes for long-distance journeys.

This is an important, positive and timely project. Walking can improve health and wellbeing, tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, save people money, improve our environment and bring joy to people's lives.

I've teamed up with Ordnance Survey who I collaborate with as a GetOutside Champion

The entire Slow Ways network will be published and made freely available via Ordnance Survey.

100 Volunteers, 1 Day, 1000+ routes!

I'm looking for 100 volunteers to create the first draft of a "Slow Ways" network, on one day, in just 10 hours.

Are you up for it? You'll need to:
  • be up for collaborating and sharing your efforts
  • aged 14+
  • be free from 10am to 8pm on February 1st
  • get yourself to Geovation in central London
  • be confident reading and using OS maps
  • use the OS maps platform (with guidance) and be OK with their terms and conditions
  • have a laptop you can work on

The Slow Ways hack day is being organised with support from the Kestrelman Trust. It is being held at Geovation (Ordnance Survey's innovation centre) and you'll be given lunch, dinner, snacks, tea, coffee and we'll have some drinks to celebrate at the end of the day too.

Everything we make will be made freely available online via OS maps . Whilst you'll own everything you create on the day, all volunteers need to be willing to share what’s created with the Slow Ways project too.

This is a unique opportunity to collaboratively create a beautiful, free and important new walking network for Great Britain. 

Who knows who or what it will inspire?

I do hope that you're inspired by this idea and ready to help bring it to life.

See you on February 1st for the #slowways hack day?

Dan Raven-Ellison

See you there!

The EU has declared a Climate Emergency

Report in 'The Guardian'

Young People's Climate and Nature Emergencies Poll

If you teach, or parent young people - or you are one yourself, please fill in this survey - the more respondents the better. Thanks in advance.

See the previous post for our new Geographers for Life @Geo4Life Twitter feed too, where we will be releasing the results of our work.

Climate and Nature Emergencies

Tonight, the Channel 4 News team have a special Climate Leaders Debate at 7pm.

Not all the leaders are quite as concerned about the climate emergency it seems, but our young people are.
What are their thoughts on the growing climate and nature emergencies facing our planet, not by the end of the century, but within the next few decades.
The UN report yesterday made it clear that warming is irreversible. 

I'm part of a group of Geographers who have come together under the name Geographers for Life. 
We have put together a poll which we would like to reach as many people as possible.

Follow us on our new Twitter feed @Geo4Life and share the link to the poll.

Please facilitate your students having the chance to answer it if possible over the next week. It only takes a couple of minutes.

#YouthClimatePoll #ClimateDebate

Google Earth Creative Tools

I posted about the new Google Earth Creation Tools earlier in the week.

These have been launched after extensive beta testing.

Three tutorial videos have been added to YouTube for those who want to take a look at how to make a tour before getting stuck in. Also here's another tip

Geography Fieldwork Unlocked - fresh from Australia

I follow a lot of Australian geography educators and organisations on social media.

There have been lots of connections betwen UK and Australian geographers over the years, with the work of the GA influencing the work of curriculum development. Our work on 'a different view' and colleagues such as Simon Catling and Professor David Lambert have spoken at the conferences of the teacher associations over the years, including AGTA and the GTAV. I've also used a number of resources in my teaching which originated there, including themes of flooding, wildfires and coastal management.
One of the teachers I worked with at the GA on projects: Paula Cooper also moved out there, as have quite a few former colleagues.
The AGTA website has details of recent conferences with downloads of sessions and keynotes which are excellent free resources. Their GeogSpace resource is worth exploring too.
ACARA curriculum reforms were also worth a look at the time and resources are still available to view.
AGTA have also been part of a group which put together a decadal plan for geography which is worth taking a look at for itsscope and conceptualisation of the subject's importance. (PDF download)

There is also an Institute of Australian Geographers Incorporated.

The Geography Teacher's Association of Victoria (GTAV) is another website worth looking at.
Their resources include a 3 module resource, freely available on the theme of Bushfires for the Primary phase.

One of the Australian educators I follow is Susan Caldis, who has held a number of roles, including the Vice President of the Australian Geography Teachers' Association.  
She was also a former President of the Geography Teachers' Association of New South Wales - their journals can be read online.
Susan is currently completing a PhD and has also visited Singapore recently on their Outstanding Educator programme.
Geography Fieldwork UnlockedCheck out the Twitter feed @Austgeog for more too.

Sue has very kindly agreed a book swap.
In return for a copy of the 2nd edition of Fieldwork through Enquiry, which should be available from the GA Shop before Christmas (the ideal stocking filler perhaps), she posted me a copy of a new book published by AGTA and written by a group of educators, coordinated by Grant Kleeman, and released earlier this year.

It was written to connect with the Australian Geography curriculum, from Primary up to Year 10, giving ideas for fieldwork and is called 'Geography Fieldwork Unlocked'. Grant Kleeman is the coordinating author, but there are contributions from a number of other geographers, including Susan.

Copies can be ordered from the AGTA website using a Google Form.

Here's a description of the book from the AGTA website

Geography Fieldwork Unlocked features 34 inquiry-based fieldwork activities developed by a team of experienced Geography educators.
Key features:
  • Section 1 of the book introduces the reader to inquiry-based fieldwork. It provides guidance in developing fieldwork action plans, research methodologies, and data collection tools and approaches as well as guidance on the presentation and communication of fieldwork findings.
  • Section 2 features nine fieldwork activities for primary students (Years F/K–6). Each of these activities has been designed to develop students’ conceptual understanding and the skills associated with inquiry-based learning.
  • Section 3 showcases 25 fieldwork activities aligned to the topics studied by students in Years 7–10.
  • Each fieldwork activity is framed by one or more inquiry questions. They also feature: a statement of expected learning; a list of the equipment needed to successfully complete each fieldwork activity; a short introduction; background information that contextualises student learning; pre-fieldwork activities; and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to complete each fieldwork task.
Cost: $59.95

Alongside the Fieldwork book, there are two others in the UNLOCKED series, as shown here.

The book arrived earlier in the week, and is already providing some ideas for a forthcoming couple of events: one with the ITE colleagues at Homerton College, Cambridge and one at the GA Conference in April next year.
Each chapter provides a context and ideas for exploring a particular theme, with early sections introducing an enquiry plan structure, action planning and methodologies. It is up to date, with ideas on using apps and drones.

The main body of the book provides ideas for different age groups, and includes a range of strategies and tools, including Google Earth, pictorial maps,

New and interesting ideas include explorations of Healthy Habitats, Urban waterways, place liveability and shared space. I liked the coastal ideas, which moved on from familiar wave investigations towards an investigation into the beach as a social space - this could work equally well in urban situations. I learned about the previous rivalries between the 'Rockers' and the 'Surfies' in the 1960s (similar to Mods and Rockers at Brighton I guess). A look at Food Waste is not something I had thought of previously, but would make sense as a possible NEA title as well, perhaps connecting with an interesting chapter on investigating restaurant cultures. There's also a look at homelessness, something I've discussed as a possible future project.

Some of the contexts have an Australian focus of course, most of which would translate into the UK, although others like the Aboriginal sense of space, or the bushfire enquiry might be more difficult. However, the bushfire enquiry includes images and ideas for further research which mean that with the aid of BOM: the Australian Bureau of Metorology site, an interesting project for students to track bushfire outbreaks could be developed.
Some useful resources can be seen on BOM here.

A final Australian connection would be with Tony Binns, a former GA President, whose entry on the GA Presidents blog I've started writing with his help.
He is apparently planning to be at the GA Conference next year to do a session, so will be good to meet up in person.

Australia has also been in the news today in my feed for a number of stories which relate to the climate emergency.

A shortage of drinkable water is becoming evident with changing rainfall patterns no longer replenishing groundwater in the same way, and demand increasing.

The bushfires are affecting air quality in Sydney and this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald makes it clear that they are being made worse by climate change.

Weapons of Reason - Volume 7

I've been using my copies of Weapons of Reason since Volume 1 came out around 5 years ago, on the theme of the Arctic. I was using it today, to prepare for some work on Superpowers in the Arctic.

Image result for weapons of reason arctic

The previous issues can be read on Medium.

Link to Issue 1 on the Arctic is here for example.

Links to the other issues while I'm at it.

Issue 2: Megacities
Issue 3: The Ageing Issue
Issue 4: The Power Issue
Issue 5: The Food Issue - an excellent one this one in particular
Issue 6: The AI Issue

And finally, in just over a week it's time for Volume 7 to be published.
Here's the front cover, which is on the theme of Inequality

GeoCapabilities - Richard Bustin's book is now down in price

... and for a bargain price, saving £55....

I already had access to an e-version of the booklet, but have ordered my own copy of the book in hardback, so it can join my CPD library and inspiration shelf....

Digimap for Schools v2.0

This video explores some of the new features in version 2 of the essential Digimap for Schools service. Take a look and see what's changed.
New subscribers will have access to this version of the service, and any subscriptions that end will be automatically renewed onto the new service from now on.

I had a chance to have a sneak peek and play and the new additions really add an extra dimension to the service including basic mapping of the whole globe, a new Postcodes option and changed tool interface which works nicely.

I will be sharing some new resources and ideas in the coming months, and producing a few of them for adding to the EDINA website. It may be worth revisiting some of the existing resources to see how they might now be enhanced with the new functionality.

Prisoners of Geography

I've had a delivery of new books: the 'expurgated' version of 'Prisoners of Geography'.

It takes some of the big ideas from the original best-selling book and turns them into stories and illustrations which are more accessible for younger readers. More to come on how I use them as they get used by students.

Some notes are available from the link.

Gaia Vince - Anthropocene Stories

Danny Dorling Podcast

Essential listening - get hold of a copy of 'The 32 Stops' as well...

The challenge is real... help us get to 1000 followers

In addition to my usual @GeoBlogs Twitter feed, I also help run the feed for the Geographical Association's Secondary Phase Committee, which I served on for many years, latterly as Secretary. This can be found at @GA_SPC

This feed has just under 950 followers at the moment.

Another GA Committee also has a Twitter feed: it's the Early Years and Primary Phase Committe @EYPPC_GA

This has around 920 followers at the moment.

Earlier today, the Early Years colleagues asked for help reaching 1000 followers and I suggested we could race them.

The challenge is on!

Of course if you don't follow either of those accounts you know what to do....

Floating House

Extinction Rebellion staged an art work intervention a few weekends ago in London.

What sort of similar events might students be able to think of to reflect other growing issues with the climate crisis?

Climate Change Curriculum from ThoughtBox

ThoughtBox has produced a whole series of resources, which are shared on a subscription basis.

Yesterday they launched their free Climate Crisis Curriculum for the climate-strike generation. Register details and you get the link and password to access the materials.

LESSON 1 | IMMERSE | Our Changing Climate
Engaging with some of the realities of climate change, introducing the science and exploring ‘Deep Time’

LESSON 2 | UNDERSTAND | Cause and Effect
Exploring cause & effect of climate change and understanding the influence of human activities.

LESSON 3 | PERSPECTIVES | The Ripple Effects
Empathising with the impact of climate change in different communities, contexts and environments.

LESSON 4 | EMPOWER | Be the Change
Connecting with global changemakers and exploring emotional responses to climate change, learning to move from anxiety to empowerment.

There are 4 modules, each with resources and supporting materials as well as lesson plans.

I haven't had a close look at them yet, but will be doing so shortly, as there are other Climate Change related activities planned for 2020.


Thanks to Derek Robertson for the tipoff to this Radio 4 site.
It features explorations of 6 things we are running out of.

Stillicide is a 12 part story about a future of water scarcity, and is connected with the project.

ANPR and littering

Came across this idea earlier tonight and now it's made it into the papers.
Interesting idea for cutting down on littering. There's a narrow country road I take on the way to and from work, and there are often brown McDonalds bags dumped there (along with other fly tipped waste sadly).

Classics from NJ

I've been downloading some of the classic work from Noel Jenkins as it's unlikely, having left teaching for a more exciting life, that any more will be added, and eventually the site will disappear inevitably.

The Web Archive will have captured it, but some of the resources will disappear.

They are awesome.
There may well be a whole generation who will not know the work that Noel did, so here is a link for you.
Check out Wellington Stories for a flavour of the work. One of my favourite ever geography interventions.

Climate Emergency - word of the year

The word of 2019

Defined as 

“a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”

Shackleton Online

A new area of the Scott Polar Research Institute site. One of the places I always try to pop into when in Cambridge.

Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) participated in four expeditions to the Antarctic during the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, leading three of them. He was an impressive leader, known for his bravery and ability to build camaraderie in his crews.
The Shackleton Online resource is a space where you can find out more about Shackleton’s expeditions, crew mates, the places they travelled to, and the exceptional collections of papers, photographs and objects related to Shackleton held by the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Shackleton Online features

New poetry prize announced by SImon Armitage

Image result for all points north armitage"I’ve always written poems about the area where I live, and my interests in things like the Antarctic and the Arctic and geography generally, all those subject matters are shaded now by the environmental situation." 

Simon Armitage is a geographer, and the Poet Laureate. He grew up near Huddersfield, where I studied for my degree.
His job carries a salary of £5000, and he has announced a new Poetry prize called the Laurel Prize for works on the theme of the environment and climate change.

He has a lot of geographical credentials.

  • He produced an excellent book around a visit to Iceland with Glyn Maxwell, following an early journey by W H Auden.
  • He created some excellent radio programmes with a geographical theme, including one on the volcanic island of Surtsey
  • His book 'All Points North' explored conceptions of the north.
  • He has produced two books describing long distance footpaths and his experiences of the Pennine Way and the SW Coastal Path.
  • He recently published a poem 'Ark' for the launch of the research ship Sir David Attenborough
The first prize, which will be awarded on 23 May 2020 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, somewhere I know well, will be judged by Armitage, nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the poet Moniza Alvi.

Google Earth Creative Tools - now live!

For some months now, thanks to an invite from Richard Allaway, I've been part of a group of beta testers for some new creative tools on Google Earth on Chrome.

The announcement is here.

Today is launch day and we have been given the news to share that these tools exist, and also some stories that we may have been working on.

Google wants Earth to become a “storytelling canvas” that lets you “create a map or story about the places that matter to you.” These creation tools are accessed by clicking the new “Projects” tab in the sidebar and creating one.
After adding a location by search or dragging a pin, you can attach images, text, videos, and customize other properties, including colors, pins, and choosing the right 3D view to frame. In addition to places, you can draw lines, shapes, and Street View.
All work is saved to Google Drive and supports standard collaboration. Once complete, there is a “Present” view that flies you from location-to-location while displaying all your notes on top. In addition to the web, the final project is available on mobile and tablet devices with the Google Earth app for Android or iOS.

I have started to produce a story on South Georgia for my first attempt, as part of a resource that I am producing for the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This has been blogged about elsewhere.

Here's the link to the story so far.

The tools produce a similar outcome to that produced with ESRI StoryMaps, but with variations in imagery and functionality of course. The two tools aren't necessarily in competition and it remains to you to consider.

Check Richard Allaway's examples here: revising extreme environments.

Cities Skyline: the Board Game

Cities Skylines has already existed as a computer game for some time - I was fortunate enough to win a copy of the game in a competition held by the Royal Geographical Society.
It requires a very fast processor and lots of memory, and my iMac struggled to play it smoothly.

It is now a board game. 
A review of it is here. May be of interest to those who like board games, and collaborative play.

GeogEd Conference at UWE - a reminder

Geography Education Conference takes place on the 16th of December.
I would very much like to have attended this, but have a previous event which I will be involved in.
Click the link in the tweet to see the excellent programme, featuring some of my favourite geographers.

Tickets are very cheap.

The Makara Beach project

An interesting beach project in New Zealand passed to me by Simon Hathaway.

What do you think about the approaches to dealing with sea level rise and climate change?
Are they all appropriate?

PGCE 1986-7

I completed my PGCE at Hull University in 1986-7. I passed with distinction, but I don't like to mention it...

My tutor was Vincent Tidswell, in his final year as tutor before retiring.
There will be more about this in due course on the GA Presidents blog.

Here's a resource from my recent trawl through my Main Method folder...

Severn - source to mouth

This is an excellent drone video made over a period of time by Mr. Bowater.

Impressive for those doing AQA GCSE, but also useful for others using this river as their Case Study, or for comparison with another UK river they may be studying e.g. the Wye also starts from the same summit: Plynlimon.

Paul Turner's Climate Breakdown Scheme

Paul has now shared a video explaining his thinking behind his unit on Climate Breakdown, which can be accessed here.
Wonderful work as always from Paul.

Consumption in the Digital Age

An excellent piece on Fashion Revolution's site.

It describes an MA thesis by Bronwyn Seier on the nature of social media and consumption, particularly with regards to how Identities are created, and the role of fashion in this, particularly with Instagram.

I've been exploring a number of similar themes for years with students since my earlier work with Ian Cook and Eeva K from Follow the Things.

We buy more when we go online. I can 100% say that I have bought lots of additional books having seen them described by people on Twitter.

I'd love to read more of this work.