Apr 162012
 

I remain to be convinced of the merits any commercially-derived GIS software in the school environment, preferring to use the classic product AEGIS 3 and Google Earth. However the MAGIC GIS operated by  multiple agencies to provide the UK with environmental data is quite easy to engage with.

My Year 10 students are being encouraged to learn how to create maps in MAGIC as part of their coursework investigation. Instructions have been posted on my Posterous, and partly reposted below. I hope this information could be useful to others.

A GIS can be thought of as a digital base map over which layers of data can be displayed. GIS offers powerful ways for geographers to analyze spatial data and make decisons. Many jobs rely on GIS technology; one reason why geography graduates are very employable. I’d like you to use the MAGIC GIS to find out a little more about Dawlish Warren as part of preparation for your coursework project.

Before you start, be prepared for your computer to run slowly as you will be interacting with an enormous database buried deep in some high security government bunker.

Follow this link to the MAGIC map of Dawlish Warren

After a while you should be looking at a map of Dawlish Warren. The map will be complicated at first, so here are the basic tools you need to use:

To move the map (panning) click this symbol, and then drag the map..

To change the scale, click the symbol, then click again on the map to zoom in and out on the location you’ve selected.

Now, lets make sense of the map data. At the moment all the available information is being displayed. Click this button to see all the data layers…

This box will appear.

Try turning all the layers off apart from Sites of Special Scientific Interest…
Nothing will happen until you click this button!


If the map slows down or you want to go back to the map with all the layers active, click this button.

Reload the map or click here if you see this message for too long.

While it is common for there to be delays when using GIS, this message also means that data is being collected, so be patient.

Finally, the map tools will let you print off maps, save screen shots, measure distances and a lot more. Just mouse-over the different symbols to find out what each one does.

Now it’s time to get mapping…

Oct 152011
 

This is a presentation I gave at the Somerset Geographers conference. I’m exploring how to incorporate social networking into my GCSE teaching, while encouraging the learners to make the best use of online resources.

Accompanying this presentation was a video by Oasis:

and a Google Earth file incorporating Gavin’s unofficial OS maps overlay (not to be used in Google Earth!)

Thanks to the students whose work is featured in this presentation.

Sep 172011
 

I re-discovered the excellent Guardian Datablog during the reporting of the summer riots. I was particularly interested in the correlation between the addresses of rioters and poverty as measured by the IMD.

The Indices of Deprivation attempt to measure a broad concept of ‘multiple deprivation’, made up of several distinct dimensions, or domains, of deprivation. The data is based on 38 separate indicators across seven domains: Income, Employment, Health and Disability, Education Skills and Training, Barriers to Housing and Other Services, Crime and Living Environment. source

In terms of classroom practicalities, the most convenient way of accessing the data seems to be to follow the link to the data source  Click on Visualize and Map to view in full screen. It should be possible to use the data in Google Earth. There is a  KML network link but I haven’t been able to make it work yet. Has anyone been successful?

May 072009
 

I’ve created a Google Docs presentation to generate some ideas for using GIS in the classroom. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out. You’ll need to create a Google account first. I’m looking for ideas for both primary and secondary classrooms. Inspiration of course comes from Tom Barrett’s ‘Interesting Ways to..’ series of presentations, while more generic ideas are being collated in Tony Cassidy’s 101 creatively simple ways to teach Geography.

Apr 112009
 

My Year 8 class have been working on the Google Earth hazard planning activity: San Francisco: visualizing a safer city. I’ve added some of my own feedback to their placemarks, as the activity isn’t quite finished yet.

Basically, the idea of the activity is to locate a safe site for a new hospital, leveraging the full potential of Google Earth Layers, Street View and some custom overlays of various types of data.

Download the student’s work as a Google Earth file here. Then add the necessary Google Earth overlays to check the validity of their claims!

There’s a poll to choose the best piece of work. Feel free to vote or leave a comment.

Note to class – the comments are moderated, and one of you isn’t allowed to win anyway ;-)

Which is the best site for a new hospital for San Francisco?

View Results

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Feb 252009
 

I need to teach the Aral Sea to a GCSE class tomorrow. Aware of schemes to save part of the Aral, I used the Time Slider feature in Google Earth 5 to check the imagery for the area. Amazingly, the  whole ecological catastrophe is covered by the imagery database. I made a brief  video to illustrate:


Shrinking Aral Sea from Noel Jenkins on Vimeo.

Google Earth isn’t just an essential resource for teaching the Aral Sea issue, it’s a powerful political tool and students should be aware of this. Governments are becoming increasingly accountable in the face of unequivocal evidence from the Google database which has revealed slum clearance in Zimbabwe and genocide in Darfur. The Aral Sea crisis was kept secret for many years, and while Google Earth reveals the astonishing rate of evaporation, it is interesting to note that the current image (if it is indeed the most recent) does appear to show a slight reversal of fortunes.

Finally, could it be that Street View is coming to the UK in March?  I’ve heard a rumour ;)