Thursday, May 17, 2018

Iceland - impact of tourism on the landscape

An interesting website which explores the growing pressures on Iceland. It's written by Ellis Quinn, who writes on the Eye on the Arctic website.

When most people think of Arctic economic development, things like resource extraction are usually first to mind. But northern regions and chambers of commerce are increasingly touting tourism as a key economic tool.

It’s seen as an industry that creates jobs for a variety of education levels, promotes small-scale entrepreneurship, reinforces and promotes local cultures, and creates the sustainable development lacking in many of the expensive and hard-to-get-to regions of the North; whether the remote Indigenous communities of Arctic Canada and Greenland, or the villages of Finnish Lapland and northern Russia.

But tourism is far from the benign industry it’s often made out to be.

As Iceland has discovered, mass tourism in the North can have social and environmental impacts as profound as those of the mining or drilling industries.

Yet successive governments did nothing to prepare for any of it. Instead, Instagram and Justin Bieber inadvertently ended up doing most of Iceland’s tourism planning for them.

Now, not everyone is sure they’re happy with the results.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Google Earth Tour Creator

A new tool from Google, which has been trialled by a few folks. It's the Tour Creator.
Apparently it's easy to make 3D tours from my computer, so let's see...

For an early look, and a link to some examples, Richard Treves has been quick off the mark, and posted here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Culture influencing place

A lovely Tweet with some details I hadn't heard before.... I wonder if there are other places that have similar road naming schemes, other than the usual prime ministers and trees. I remember doing a Mission:Explore Lowestoft project, where I found an estate where the streets were named after bird species, and put together a birdwatching / twitching mission you could do while sat on the bus...

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Worldmapper: help support this essential tool

The new Worldmapper website was launched at the GA Conference following months of investment of their own time and money from Ben Hennig and Tina Gotthardt. It is used in classrooms around the country (and beyond) and would be great to support them at this time. I'm amazed no geospatial company hasn't wanted to be involved in ensuring this remains free for all educators to use forever. The new mapping makes this an even more useful site, but as someone who used to run a website knows (albeit rather less useful), bandwidth and server costs aren't free...
Let's see if as many geography teachers as possible can donate the price of a pint, or a skinny latte (or more) to help payback for all the maps we've used over the years.

As it says on the Worldmapper site:

The new website is proving more popular than ever before. Unfortunately this has led to repeated server outages in recent days since the fresh new design and functionalities have considerably increased demands on the webserver that is hosting the Worldmapper homepage.
With this GoFundMe campaign we want to raise the necessary funds that pay towards the running costs for an upgraded server that we would like to switch to, to allow more reliability of Worldmapper while it keeps growing, and maintain the archive as well.

All maps shared under CC license. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Isle of Dogs

I've been telling everyone I've seen for the last month that they have to go and see Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs'. This is still showing in some cinemas as I write this blogpost, and is a real tour de force of creativity and filmmaking. It's a stop-motion animation which involved hundreds of people for a year and a half, and the creation of tens of thousand of bespoke props and different methods of filming at different scales.
The story concerns the cat loving Kobayashi dynasty, and the fate of the Mayor's son and his dog, alongside a group of other dogs who have been exiled to Trash Island.
My son and I visited the exhibition of sets and figures from the film, which had just opened at the time, and we were able to go in, and collect some memorabilia.
We went to see it at Store X on the Strand in London, which was a temporary space. The exhibits, like the plane crash site above, were incredibly detailed and I loved the Taiko drummers who open the film.We also loved the full sized noodle bar, and the scale of Megasaki city and the temple in the opening shots.

Try to see the film. Thanks to my colleague Claire for sourcing an American copy of the screenplay for my son too.

Images: Alan Parkinson - CC licensed

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When a city runs dry... IB Geography Conference preparation

These are anxious times for the residents of Cape Town. They have been counting down to Day Zero: the day when the taps were due to be turned off, and they would have to rely on standpipes and rationing of water. There has been a drought for three years in this area of the Eastern Cape, and most of the major sources of water have been depleted, or are at very low levels.
Channel 4 news had a number of reports on the crisis, which in January had set the date of April for Day Zero to arrive.

Thanks to a lot of efforts by residents to cut down on their water since then, and this has now been put back to later in the year, and possibly now into 2019 if current usage levels are maintained.

There will be a focus on this story for my workshops in Geneva on Saturday.
July was previousy the date when the water was predicted

I will be sharing all the work from my workshop at the ECOLINT IB conference, which has been organised by Richard Allaway here, during and after the event itself.

The Cape Town City Council website is a very useful place to go for further information, as they provide guidance for residents and visitors on how to reduce their water usage.

An interactive by National Geographic has been featured here before, and here's the link.

I shall also be using some ideas from our rather fine Mission:Explore WATER resource which some of you may not be familiar with. This includes some of Tom MJ's wonderful inkings. It's 78 pages long, and the 5Mb PDF can be yours to download by clicking here.

Thanks to Jo Payne for sharing some work she had done, and also to Ben Hennig for consultation over some maps. Also, though not linked to Cape Town, check out the WATER DIARIES resources on Jordan for more watery inspiration.

Illustration copyright: Tom Morgan-Jones

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Iceland to remove all Palm Oil from products

The supermarket not the country...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Cunk on Britain

Diane Morgan's creation has always been a favourite of mine, and I loved this programme. Laugh out loud and some excellent jokes on the creation and early pre-history, and great questions for the talking heads as well. She travels the breadth and width of the country...

Keep an eye out for it on iPlayer, and also the next issue, which is shown tomorrow.

On the Bayeux Tapestry: “It’s just like being there, but in wool".

NB: NSFW warning - a little sweary ...

GA Conference 2018 - here's 125 top tips for Geographers

For the 125 days leading up to the conference, as part of the #125GA celebrations, there was a daily tweet offering a Top Tip for Geographers, with a tag #125geotips. These were on all sorts of geographical themes.
Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who read them and responded to them over on Twitter, but for those who don't use Twitter, here's all 125 collated for you. The hyperlink will take you through to the original tweet with all the relevant images and links to the resources.

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Ladybird Expert Series title

A new addition to the Ladybird Expert series of books has been written by Professor Iain Stewart and is on the theme of 'Plate Tectonics'.
Good to see Marie Tharp included, for her work visualising the work of herself and colleagues....

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sanctuary III

I've loved the first two of Rob Reed's homages to Mike Oldfield, and am very much looking forward to the 3rd instalment... out at the end of the Easter holiday.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Share your special places please...

This is the 125th Anniversary year of the Geographical Association, and the conference in Sheffield in April will be very special.

One of the projects I'm doing (and have been doing for some time) is to tweet out a 'top tip' a day for 125 days on the GA Secondary Phase committee twitter feed. This is coming to a climax on the first day of the conference.

As part of the plans for the GA's celebrations, and connecting with my OS GetOutside Champions Role for 2018, I'm going to start collating a list of 125 inspirational places to visit in the UK.

We all have places from which we draw inspiration... This could be a beach, a particular walk, a historic building, a bench overlooking a viewpoint, a landscape feature or something more esoteric. 

The reasons behind the inspiration may relate to family members, an emotional reunion, or sad passing; they may be places that are visited often, or which left a lasting impression from a single visit. They may be places we remember fondly from childhood, or which we discovered later in life.

This project is connected to the 125th Anniversary of the Geographical Association in 2018. One of the projects which the association wants to develop is a list of 125 Inspirational Places to visit in the UK: human and physical landscapes and locations which sum up the best the UK has to offer.

The project also links to work being done by Alan Parkinson as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion during 2018, and the production of a list with further guidance on visiting the places on it will be a project for Alan to complete.

There is also a joint project underway between Alan Parkinson, and Peter Knight of Keele University, who are working to produce a resource for teachers exploring Inspirational Landscapes and Changing Places at 

Here's an example for you:
Surprise View, in the Peak District
A bend in the road where the Hope Valley, Hathersage and Castleton and Mam Tor beyond suddenly come into view spread out below you - the light varies throughout the year, but the view is always exciting - one of the best in the UK
Be careful when driving! Park up and take in the view

OS Grid Reference: SK249800

I've produced a Google form which you can link to here, and help me out with if possible. Feel free to share the link to the form as well.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Keep getting out of the tent...

I'm currently sat in the garage waiting for a repair on my car which has failed its MOT. Amongst other things I'm doing is looking at videos from the training expedition which the participants in the Women's Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition are currently undertaking in Iceland. I know quite a few people who are in Iceland at the moment, and the weather has been a bit gnarly for them.
I'm putting together some ideas for a teacher resource pack which will go on the website in advance of the expedition in April 2018.
Here's a taster of the expedition planning so far...

The last time I worked with Felicity, the result was the Pole of Cold teaching resource, which won an SAGT award.
Here's Felicity doing a talk on her solo skiing trip across Antarctica, if you want to hear of a previous expedition:

CIW: Explorers: Felicity Aston from Chicago Ideas on Vimeo.

I wonder how much longer expeditions like this will be possible, given the shrinking extent of the sea ice.
I've also been finding out about Barneo. This is a seasonal fly-in base camp operated by the Russians, which is going to facilitate the team's plan to ski the final degree to the North Pole.

More to come on this as the resource develops...