Saturday, 22 December 2007

A White Christmas?

Just spotted this great site on Val Vannet's blog... Click on the picture to create your own snowflake!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

At long last - the end of term!!

To keep you occupied for a few minutes, here's a quick quiz about Christmas Around the World from Yr10's end-of-term assembly...

A very merry Christmas to you all, and best wishes for a Geogtastic 2008!

And don't forget to track Santa on Christmas Eve - Norad

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Track Santa...

Although there are a few days still to go, I've been pestered several times today about this website, so thought I'd better blog it while I remembered!

Santa, it seems, is a bit of a techno-whizz, and for the last few years, has had a GPS attached to his sleigh... That means that on Christmas Eve, you can use the Norad Santa site to track Santa's progress, see how long it'll be before he gets to your house, and make sure that you're safely tucked up in bed in plenty of time!

In 2005 and 2006, it was also possible to use Google Earth to see what Santa was upto and you can have a look at Santa's route, etc. here. This year, Google Earth and Norad have teamed up and are working together, so you just have the one site to follow.

Obviously, as Santa won't be setting off until 24th December, there's not much to see at the moment. There are, however, a number of games to keep you entertained in the meantime! Click on the picture below to link to the site...

Friday, 14 December 2007

Where've all the dots gone?!

Regular visitors may have noticed that the ClustrMap has not got quite so many red dots on as it used to...

That is because Tuesday (11th December) was Geogtastic's first birthday, and so the map was archived yesterday...

The new map already show 40 visits from three continents! How long before we've got dots in South America, Africa and Australasia??

Here's to the next year, the next 284 posts and the next 12052 visitors!!

You are my sunshine!!

Thanks to Alan Parkinson for this fantastic Greenpeace advert!

Friday, 7 December 2007


Especially for 8PBh, seeing as the penguins are never there when you're looking!

Ship Ahoy!

There've been a few penguin sightings on the South Georgia webcam of late... And now a ship!

Keep visiting the webcam and leave a comment to let us know if you spot anything interesting!

Friday, 30 November 2007


Thanks to Noel Jenkins for pointing out this fantastic map of Brainland! Click on the picture to find out more...

Thursday, 22 November 2007

South Georgia...

An interesting view from the South Georgia webcam this evening!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Alphabet of Nations...

Both Yr7 and Yr12 were rather taken with this today (as was a certain Head of Humanities!) so I thought the rest of you better have a look as well!

Prize for the first person to leave a comment telling me the capital of West Xylophone!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Earth - The Power of the Planet

Hopefully, you will have just finished watching Earth - The Power of the Planet. Tonight's spectacular programme was the first of a new series on BBC2, and looked at volcanoes - "the most important force in the creation of the planet as we know it today"...

If you missed the programme, and didn't see Dr Iain Stewart abseiling into a lava lake, then it is repeated on Sunday at 6.oopm - make sure you are watching!! (You can also pre-order the DVD of the series from the BBC Shop... I wonder if Santa reads Geogtastic...)

Sunday, 18 November 2007


The view from my front door about an hour ago!! I'm sure I get far more excited than someone my age should about snow, but hey ho!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Indonesian Volcanoes...

Not much in the news yesterday about the eruption of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) in Indonesia...Indonesians are more concerned with the prospect of an eruption of Mt Kelud... More here from the Times, and a picture gallery here.

East Coast Storm Surge...

Fortunately, despite a lot of local disruption, it seems that things on the East Coast were not as bad as anticipated...
There were still some pretty big waves though!

The picture above was taken at Walcott, in Norfolk, and is one of the BBC's "In Pictures" series.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


They're back!!
For anyone who STILL hasn't seen this fantastic South Georgia webcam, click here.

Storm Surge Warnings

It's probably a good thing this evening that we are almost as far away from the coast as is possible... This is what the Environment Agency's Flood Warning website looks like at the moment:

There are currently 6 "severe flood warnings" in place in Norfolk and Suffolk, with threats of "extreme danger to life and property", as well as 9 "flood warnings" and 24 "flood watches" along the east coast of England, and the Thames Barrier will be closed later this evening.

The reason for all this, according to the Met Office, is a combination of north-westerly winds exceeding 50mph, low pressure and high tides. Tide levels are predicted to be almost 3 metres higher than normal tide levels - something that happens, on average, once every 20 years.

More from the BBC here.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Witches' knickers?!

You will no doubt already know my feelings about plastic bags... I've written about them a number of times - and Yr8 did some fantastic work on plastic bags last year... But I've never, until this evening, heard them referred to as "witches' knickers"!! According to an excellent new article from the BBC though, that is what they are called in Ireland (where, by the way, they'll cost you 9p each in a supermarket).

Councillors in Brighton and Hove recently voted on a bag ban, asking shops to stop handing them out to customers, and the village of Modbury in Devon have been pleased with their bag ban trial and have just made the ban permanent.

Check out the BBC article to find out more - including 10 arguments FOR the plastic bag... And a great video of A Day in the Life of a Plastic Bag...

Here's a picture of the superb plastic bag collage that 8HCh (now 9NSq) produced last year...

Yr 11 - Revision....

I was pleased to hear today that some of you are thinking about revision!

For those of you who were asking about revision guides... Having worked very hard since the start of Yr10 and made sure all the work we've done is complete, the best revision guide is your exercise book!!

However... there are a good number of revision guides available from bookshops/WHSmiths, etc. These are general ones and are fairly useful. If you do buy one of these, remember that they cover all the material for all the different exam boards - make sure that you refer back to the specification that you were given at the start of Yr10 to prevent you a) spending time learning things you don't need to know, and b) panicking about things that you think we should have done in class!

There is also a revision guide that has been written specifically for the course that we do (OCR C - Bristol Project) - it is slightly more expensive, but covers all the topics that you need to know, with case studies, practice questions and information and advice about the DME. It is by Liz Hattersley, and published by Heinemann. We have some copies left at school - come and ask if you want one! Otherwise, if you click on the picture below it will take you to the Amazon site where you can order a copy.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Geogtastic Photo Competition!

A few more excellent entries for the Geogtastic Photo Competition have arrived in the past couple of days... If you haven't got yours in yet, you have until the end of school on Friday (2nd November) to email it or bring it to me in the Hums Block on a CD or memory stick...

Don't forget - the competition is open to all SHS students, staff and parents... No theme - anything Geogtastic goes!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Atlas Schmatlas!

Well, my intentions of doing lots of work have been thwarted yet again by the arrival of a parcel from Amazon containing Atlas Schmatlas... Only had a quick look so far, but it looks fantastic! I'm particularly liking the Climate Map of the World (we live in an "Umbrella now and again" zone) and the story of the was between the penguins and the polar bears...

Not very happy at all about the ridiculous amount of packaging it arrived with though...

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Could you be a Climate Change Champion?

"Are you passionate about the environment? Could you spread the message about climate change and represent England?"

Then visit the Climate Change Champions 2008 website and find out more about what sounds like a fantastic opportunity!

Some ideas to get you started here... But you'll have to get your skates on - the closing date is 9th November!

Britain to claim parts of Antarctic seabed...

Back in September, we heard stories of a "Cold Rush" with Russia planting a flag on the Arctic seabed...

This week, it was announced that the UK Foreign Office is preparing a claim to extend British Antarctic territory by a million square kilometres and increase Britain's oil, gas and mineral rights... Mining in the Antarctic is currently banned by the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty, but this is up for review in 2041. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said that there were no plans at the moment to exploit mineral deposits in the Antarctic, but that the claim would be a "safeguard for the future".
The map below shows the current British Antarctic claim...

Unsurprisingly, the plans have been condemned by environmental groups... Go here to see what Greenpeace have to say about it all.

What do you think? Should Britain - or anyone else - be claiming Antarctic territory? Should mineral exploitation be allowed? Who should make the decisions about these issues?

"Sat-nav helps African tribe"

I've just found this interesting story on the BBC website about a Dutch logging company who are working with a tribe in the rainforest of the Congo basin to protect the tribe's way of life.

The Pygmies have been provided with GPS units, which they are using to mark sacred trees, hunting areas, water holes, the tombs of their ancestors, areas of medicinal plants, and other sites that they want to protect. The information is then used to create a map so that the forest can be managed and developed more sustainably.

Brighton Bag Ban??

An interesting story from the BBC here - good idea?? Will it work? Should it be happening all over the country??

The greenest city in Britain is...

This one, according to a news article that my sister's just sent me! Do you know where it is??

Friday, 19 October 2007

One World, One Environment

8PBr (or those of them who hadn't disappeared off on holiday already anyway!) had a great end to their Environmental Issues unit this morning with a videoconference on "sustainability".

We linked up via Global-Leap in London with a lady called Mary Gower at the Centre for Alternative Technology in southern Snowdonia, and talked about resources, conflict, water, deforestation, Fairtrade, carbon footprinting, eco-footprinting and lots more. I particularly liked Mary's definition of sustainability - "treating the planet as though we intend to stay" - rather simpler than some of the others I've seen, but conveys the concept quite clearly!

The website that Mary mentioned where you can calculate your eco-footprint is here There are lots of other eco-footprint and carbon footprint calculators online as well - this one from the WWF is quite good . I like to think that I am quite good in terms of recycling, switching off lights and appliances, using energy-saving lightbulbs, etc. BUT my eco-footprint according to the first quiz is 1.9 planets, and 2.7 planets according to the WWF one... both smaller than the UK average - but bigger than they should be!! The main reasons, I think, are driving to work, living by myself and not being vegetarian...

As for the Centre for Alternative Technology... I haven't managed to get there yet, but am quite keen to go and check it out (I've been told there's a fantastic café and bookshop there!!)... Have a look at their website by clicking on the banner below...

Work out your footprint and leave a comment to let us know what it was and how you are going to reduce it (if you need to!)... And if you've been to the C.A.T., tell us all about it!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day - the aim is to get bloggers all around the world posting about the same issue - THE ENVIRONMENT.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

We hear stories about the environment every day in the news... melting sea ice, carbon footprints, renewable energy, extreme weather events, resources running out, deforestation, animals becoming extinct, food miles, packaging, the list goes on... Many of the posts on Geogtastic have been about environmental issues and we're increasingly being told that we should be recycling, composting, walking to work/school, buying British food, switching off lights, etc.

So... over to you... Leave a comment about the environmental issues YOU'RE concerned about... ARE you concerned about the environment? Which issue worries you most? What do you to to help the environment? What else could you do??

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Geogtastic Photo Competition!

If you are going away at half-term (or even if you're not), make sure that you have your camera with you and that you are taking plenty of geographical photos!

The third Geogtastic Photo Competition is open to all SHS students, parents and staff, and the closing date will be Friday 2nd November. Entries can be brought to me in the Hums Block on a CD or memory stick, or can be emailed to (make sure your name - and form if you are student - is included).

There is no theme this time, so anything goes, as long as it is geographical... Happy snapping!!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Things are warming up in South Georgia!

As the temperatures are falling here, things are warming up in South Georgia. 8PBr were very interested to have a look at the fantastic South Georgia webcam this morning, and there's now a seal lying on the beach! Not long now til the return of the penguins!

For those of you new to Geogtastic, if you click on the South Georgia label at the bottom of this post, you will be able to see all the other posts about South Georgia. There are several other pictures taken from the webcam, so you can see how the weather, wildlife, etc are different at different times of the year!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

A makeover for the tube map...

The London Underground map has fascinated people for years, and has appeared in various forms since it was first designed by Harry Beck - an electrical engineer - in 1933.

The latest take on the traditional tube map has been designed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and features key Shakespeare characters in chronological order, and with separate lines for Heroes, Villains, and Strong and Difficult Women!

You can read more about the new map here and see a more larger version of the map by clicking on the image above.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Well I never!!!

Back in December, I was umming and aahing with the idea of starting a blog, but I wasn't sure what I'd write about, I wasn't sure who'd read it (if anyone) and I couldn't think what to call it...

Then, a Year 13 student told me my lesson had been "geogtastic"...

Nine months later, this is the 254th post, one of yesterday's 44 visitors made the 10,000th visit to the blog, and we've had visits from more than 40 countries, across six continents!!
Not much, in comparison with some of the other excellent "geogblogs" out there, but I am rather pleased nonetheless!
So, a big thank you to all our readers... Keep visiting, tell your friends, leave some comments, and let us know if you find anything Geogtastic that should be on here!!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Walkers' Carbon Footprint!

Next time you buy a packet of Walkers' crisps, take a good look at the packet... According to the article on Newsnight that I've just been watching, you'll not only be able to see what's in your crisps (100% British potatoes, apparently), and check your calorie/fat/salt/etc/ consumption, but you'll also now be able to see how your packet of crisps is affecting the environment.

Walkers are the first big company to sign up to a new Carbon Footprint labelling scheme, where products carry labels stating the carbon emissions. Walkers trialled this scheme earlier in the year, but now every product will carry the carbon footprint label.

Walkers have a special website which tells you more about the scheme, and more about how the process of crisp-making affects the environment...

Do you think this sounds like a good idea? Do you care how much carbon dioxide your crisps have produced? Should all manufacturers be required to put this kind of labelling on their products?

Derbyshire Day

I was reminded by a display in the entrance to Sainsbury's this afternoon that Saturday (22nd September) is the first ever Derbyshire Day!

This time last year, Andy Whittaker - presenter of the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Derby - held a competition, and his listeners designed a Derbyshire flag...

Flushed with success, they then went on to plan for a Derbyshire Day, and the decision was made to hold Derbyshire Day on the anniversary of the launch of the Derbyshire flag - 22nd September.

There is loads on the BBC website about Derbyshire Day and the Derbyshire flag, and the display in the entrance of Sainsbury's was quite interesting.

The thing that stood out this evening though when I was looking for more information about all this was this article from Buxton Today... Apparently, the Derbyshire flag will not be flying above Buxton Town Hall, even on Saturday, because not enough people will recognise it or know what it's for!!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Is it a bird.........?

Nope - it's an artist's impression of the Wave Hub - the world's first large-scale wave farm!
The government have given the go-ahead today for this controversial project, and it is expected that the wave farm off the coast of Cornwall, which will cost £28 million and generate enough electricity for 7500 homes, will be operational by 2009.
You can read more about the project here or listen to Chris Evans' "Business Boffin" talking to one of the people behind the project. You need go here and then click on Listen Again Monday - it's about 25 minutes in.
What do you think? Is this a good idea? Or a bit mad?

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Day for Darfur

The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan has been described as "one of the greatest tragedies of our time"... Since 2003, more than 200,000 people have been killed, and more than 2 million people displaced.

Today - Day for Darfur - rallies and protests have taken place in 30 cities across the world in an attempt to draw the world's attention to the violence in Darfur, and a new single by Mattafix - "Living Darfur" - was released. The video for the single - backed by Mick Jagger, George Clooney and Nelson Mandela - to name but a few, was filmed in the Darfur region. The picture below shows Marlon from Mattafix with children in Darfur. Marlon's diary from the visit to Darfur is here.

Amazingly, I have watched the news several times today, and there has been no mention of Darfur, the rallies, or the single, at all. Why not?

Some months ago, the US Holocaust Museum put together a series of photographs, eyewitness testimonies and data, using Google Earth to give some indication of the scale of the genocide in Darfur.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Earthquake in Indonesia...

Reports on the BBC website of another earthquake in Indonesia, which sparked fears of another tsunami.

The earthquake, near Bengkulu on the island of Sumatra, measured 8.4 on the Richter Scale.
More from the BBC here.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Geo Blogging with Mark

I've posted a few times about Mark Beaumont and his round-the-world cycle challenge, and I've also mentioned Val Vannet's excellent blog... Val is Mark's former Geography teacher, and is writing a really interesting summary of Mark's journey with extra geography for free! She's just started a new blog - a prize for the first SHS person to tell me the capital city of the country where Mark is at the moment!!

Don't forget, you can also follow Mark's progress, and read his "diary" on the World Cycle website...

Thursday, 30 August 2007


And while we are on the subject of rubbish and waste... On my trip to London at the weekend, I saw a billboard advertised a new Channel 4 series called DUMPED!

According to the Channel 4 website, 11 volunteers (who have agreed to take part in an "eco-challenge" but have no idea what it is) are left marooned on one of Britain's biggest landfill sites, and have to survive for three weeks on the rubbish that the rest of us throw away!

Doesn't sound like my idea of fun, but promises to be interesting (and eye-opening) viewing!

DUMPED! starts at 9pm on Sunday, on Channel 4.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Waste Watchers on The One Show

I've written before about the problem of excess packaging, and if recent reports on The One Show are anything to go by, there are plenty of other people who share my frustration...

The picture, sent in to the BBC by a viewer, shows the packaging that one supermarket think is necessary for a single banana! Other pictures, and some interesting comments, as well as video clips from the show here.

But what's the solution?? What can we do about all this packaging??

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Geography: My Place and Yours

I've mentioned Val Vannet's excellent blog before, but it's particularly good at the moment, because she is following the journey of her former pupil, Mark Beaumont, as he cycles round the world.

You can track Mark's journey yourself, read his diary, etc. at the Artemis World Cycle website, but if you have a look at Val's version, you get the geography of the places Mark's travelling through as well!

Geographical Art? (Or Artistic Geography?)

At last... an excuse to have clothes all over your bedroom floor!!

Find out what this is all about here... And then get creating your own!!

(Thanks Tom, for pointing this out.)

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Well done to the Year 11s who have received some excellent GCSE results today - I was really pleased with the results, and it was nice to hear a good few people talking about doing Geography at AS as well...

If you happen to be one of those people, then you will want to be having a look at Geogtastic6 - the new blog I have started for AS & A2 Geographers... There are few bits on there already, but my intention is that it will be more specific to what we are doing in lessons... Let me know if you spot anything you think should be on there!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Blog Action Day

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for pointing out Blog Action Day...

Visit to register your blog and find out more.

Hurricane Dean

People in the Caribbean are preparing themselves at the moment for the arrival of Hurricane Dean - a Category 4 hurricane (5 is the most severe) which has already claimed three lives.

The BBC have more information here, together with video clips and links to coverage of the story on other news sites.

You can also visit the National Hurricane Center website and follow the progress of the hurricane.

Friday, 17 August 2007

A bit of a let-down?

These are ten of the UK's best-known landmarks...

But according to a survey out today, they are the ten most disappointing UK landmarks! The report is here, and also has lists of the ten most disappointing world landmarks, and the ten most promising UK places to visit...
Do you agree? Have you been to any of these? And did you like them? Anywhere else that you think should be included in the lists?

Thursday, 16 August 2007

A wintery day in South Georgia

It occurred to me today that it was quite a long time since I'd looked at the wonderful South Georgia webcam... A rather wintery day!

If you click on the South Georgia label at the bottom of this post, you can look at some of the previous pictures from the webcam, from when it was summer in South Georgia. If you look at the steps at the right-hand side, you can see just how much snow there is at the moment!


Geography Pages man, Alan Parkinson has started another new blog, looking at Cultural Geography... Some really interesting stuff on there already, looking at Britishness and the idea of the Citizenship Test... links in well to some of the work we've done in Year 9 recently, but also of general interest. Get reading - !!

(Please note, "culture" is the correct spelling!!!)

Well done Year 13!

Congratulations to the Year 13s who got their A level results this morning... The hard work that most of you put in was well rewarded!

Good luck with whatever you are doing next... And don't forget to keep visiting Geogtastic!

Peruvian Earthquake

An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale has hit the coast of Peru, killing more than 300 people and injuring many more.
Tremors were felt in Peru's capital city, Lima, about 90 miles north-west of the epicentre, but most of the damage seems to be in the city of Ica.

More on the BBC website...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Great British Journeys

Some good geographical TV at the moment... BBC2 at 8pm today is the first programme of the new Great British Journeys series...

Geographer Nick Crane (of Coast and Map Man fame) will be following in the footsteps of some of some of the explorers who discovered Britain...

Check out the website here and find out more about the journeys that Nick will be taking...

Monday, 13 August 2007

Britain's Favourite View

You might well have seen David Dickinson waxing lyrical about Blackpool last night in the first of the new series looking at Britain's Favourite Views...

I am still trying to decide what my favourite view is... I think there are too many! In the meantime though, check out the rest of the views chosen by the celebrities on the Guardian Travel site, and the shortlisted views on the Britain's Favourite View website here.

What are your favourite British views? Do you agree with the celebrities' choices? If you were to add a view to the top 16, which would you get rid of?

Earth Portal

I haven't had chance to explore it properly yet, but the Earth Portal site looks interesting and useful...

Loads of information in the Encyclopedia (or should that be Encyclopaedia?) of Earth about anything and everything earth-related, and you can search by topic, author, location... Also Earth News and an Earth Forum...

Thanks Tom for pointing this out!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

How walkable is your neighbourhood??

Thanks to Lucy Rawe, who's just pointed out this excellent little site which allows you to calculate the "walkability" of your neighbourhood.

The idea is that walkable neighbourhoods are healthier, more environmentally friendly, more sociable, and have stronger local businesses... So, if you type in your address, WalkScore will plot the amenities local to you in a Google Map, and give you a score out of 100 for the walkability of your neighbourhood... Unfortunately, my neighbourhood is not very walkable at all; my score was an abysmal 7 out of 100 (although the shop next but one, and the pub four doors away are not listed). School scores slightly higher - 27 out of 100.

Click here or on the picture to read more about what the scores mean and what a "walkable neighbourhood" is, and then leave a comment to let us know your score!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

On the way!!

I posted the other day about Mark Beaumont setting off on his 18000 mile cycle trip around the world... Well, Mark set off this morning from the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees, and is on his way...

You can follow Mark's progess on the website here, or on the BBC site that is tracking his journey...
Good luck Mark!

Friday, 3 August 2007


The picture shows a scene which unfortunately is fairly familiar to us at the moment.
This though, is in India.

200 people have died, and almost 20 million people been displaced from their homes in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, in some of the worst floods that South Asia has seen for years.

More information about the floods, and the monsoon season that's causing them on the BBC website.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Green Film Competition!

Just spotted the Friends of the Earth Green Film Competition on Alan Parkinson's blog. They want people to create 60 second films exploring how we look after our planet, and use it like there is a tomorrow... Some good prizes to be had... And best of all, they've enlisted the help of my old favourite Morph to advertise it!

You've not got long til the closing date on the 20th August though, so check out the details here and get creating!

18000 miles...

That is how far Mark Beaumont will be cycling on his round the world trip which starts on Sunday morning from the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Mark - who is a former pupil of a geography teacher friend Val Vannet, at the High School of Dundee - plans to cycle 18000 miles through 20 different countries, in an attempt to claim the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle.

The current record is 276 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes; Mark hopes to complete his journey in 210 days, returning to Paris in February next year.

You can find out more about Mark's journey at and follow his progress on the BBC Online Documentary.