Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Artistic Clues to Coastal Change

I've just been reading an interesting article from the BBC about the use of 19th Century paintings to aid the study of coastal erosion...

Many Victorian paintings such as the one above ('Bonchurch, Isle of Wight' by Thomas Leeson Rowbotham, 1863) show coastal scenery, geological features and coastal defences in lots of detail, and Dr Robert McInnes, a retired coastal engineer, has devised a system for using these paintings to assess change.

The full article from the BBC is here.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas Trees - The Verdict

Despite repeated attempts by a certain History teacher to sabotage the results, the verdict - according to the poll - is that real Christmas trees are better than artificial ones...

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas whether your tree was real, artificial, or non-existent!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Merry Christmas!!

At last - after a very long and tiring term, the holidays are here! I will still be blogging over the holidays, but would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

And don't forget to track Santa on Christmas Eve!!

Image: Flickr user stephendl (under Creative Commons)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!!!

Just realised that Geogtastic was two years old yesterday... And if you visited yesterday, yours may well have been the 25000th visit - yay!!

To celebrate, our own Google page...

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Christmas Trees?

Was amused by this cartoon from Natural News the other day...
The real or artificial Christmas tree debate is not a new one but still one that divides opinions... Vote in the poll on the right-hand side and let us know what you think!


A novel way to explore the news, (via Noel Jenkins and Alan Parkinson)....

Noel also has links to a variety of other relational browsers here, some of which I've seen before, but others which are new to me...

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Geography really is everywhere...

How well do you know your world?

The Guardian recently reported the results of [another!] survey about how little we know about the world... Read the article here and then have a go at this quiz... How much do you know? (And how useful is the quiz as a measure of how good a geographer you are?!)

Thanks to Tony Cassidy.

Santa Tracking...

Many of you will have seen the Norad Santa Tracking site in previous years... The site is back up and running from tomorrow, with new games and activities every day, building up to Christmas Eve when you can follow Santa's progress via Google Maps, Google Earth and Live Santa Cams!

Happy St Andrew's Day!

Image - Flickr user Grant MacDonald (Creative Commons)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Vendee Globe Update

Conditions not sounding too pleasant for the Vendee Globe competitors at the moment:

Find out more here.

Or have a go yourself in the Virtual Regatta! I've not quite got my head round it yet, but could be interesting... Click on the picture to link to the site:

A year without money??

Could you survive for a year without spending any money at all? That is what Mark Boyle is planning to do. Starting today (which is Buy Nothing Day) Mark will be living in this caravan... And will be "living off that land and the waste products of society".

Find out more here.

If everyone cared...

Thought-provoking assemblies this week from the 6th Form Amnesty International Group. Here's the video they showed:

Click on the logo below to link to the Amnesty International website and find out more about what you can do...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sailing Update...

Vendee Globe

Almost 14 days into the race, more than half of the Vendee Globe boats have crossed the Equator...

It's not all been plain sailing though... A great description from Steve White about his time in the Doldrums:

"I have been released from the Doldrums. I thought initially that perhaps I'd escaped punishment, but it was not so. At one point I was trapped under a cloud that filled a 24 mile range radar screen - and boy, did it rain! It was almost Biblical! We just sat in the midst of it with the sails banging and slatting back and forth, which is a sailor's Chinese water torture, with the rain bucketing down. That was the largest of many clouds, but there were very many equally frustrating ones, sometimes with wind in them, and sometimes only with wind at the edges, and nothing but torrential rain and no wind at all in the centre. There were gusts, but never that big, up to about 20 knots usually, but that's enough when you normally have a couple of reefs in and full ballast tanks by that point, and, you've guessed it, it can blow from any direction. It changes direction so frequently that I often had to look at the wind direction from the instruments and make funny angles with my hands to work out which tack I should be on to get me best to where I wanted to go! At some points I was going backwards faster than I'd been going forwards for the preceding few hours! It changed so often it can get confusing if you're tired. It has been really frustrating, and I am not keen to come back, but it is another experience to add to the list. I often imagined what it would be like to come through here in a square rigger. You can see how they got stuck here for weeks, sooner them than me....... When it rained for the first time,which was both a blessed relief from the heat and the chance for a shower for me..."

Rich Wilson, the only American in the race, has a very good website - check out the Saturday Updates Q&A section, and his description here of the traditions of crossing the Equator.

Mike Perham

The other sailing story at the moment is that of Mike Perham, who set off last Sunday in an attempt to be the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed. He has stopped briefly in Portugal for some repairs to his boat, but is hoping to be off again soon. Follow his progress on his website here.

South Polar Gazette

Want to know what's going on in the Antarctic? Then check out the South Pole Gazette...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Upside down!


¡¡noʎ ɟo ǝɯos uıɐʇɹǝʇuǝ llıʍ ʇı ʇqnop ou ʇnq - ʇɐɥʇ oʇ ǝɯoɔ 'llɐ ʇɐ ǝsodɹnd lnɟǝsn ʎuɐ ɹo ˙˙˙ǝsodɹnd lɐɔıɥdɐɹƃoǝƃ lnɟǝsn ʎuɐ sɐɥ sıɥʇ ʇɐɥʇ ǝɹns ʇou ɯɐ ı


And there I was thinking it was just you lot!

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography fieldtrip)

Fab work from Geography teacher and poet Mark Cowan!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Svalbard and Flickr, especially for 8JHr

Good evening 8JHr! First of all, you can find Laurel McFadden's blog about her adventures in Svalbard by clicking on the picture below:

The Svalbard photos that were up at the start of the lesson were from the fantastic Flickr... (All I did was to type "svalbard" into the search and click Slideshow.)

Have fun!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

California Wildfires...

One of a series of images from the BBC of the California wildfires that have resulted in a state of emergency being declared in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Various related stories, links, video clips and images here.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


On Thursday, more than 5 million people across Southern California took part in a huge earthquake drill...

Find out more about ShakeOut here.


Last week I posted about the start of the Vendee Globe - 5 days into the race, the boats are passing the Canaries and heading for the Cape Verde Islands... It's not good news for everyone - some of the competitors, including Brit Alex Thomson, have had to retire from the race.

All the latest Vendee Globe news is on the official website and you can track the progress of the race here.

Also taking to the water today will be Mike Perham. Mike is 16 years old, and at 11am today, he will set sail from Portsmouth in "an historic bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed..." Click on the picture below to link to Mike's website where you can look at photos, video diaries, and track his progress...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Around the world in three months....

...by yourself... in one of these?

(Image: Aviva Ocean Racing)

That's exactly what the 30 sailors who've just left Les Sables d'Olonne in France are planning to do. They are taking part in the Vendee Globe, which runs every four years, and is described as "one of the most challenging tests of endurance there is".

You can find out more about the race here, where there are maps of the route, photos, video clips and weather reports, and information about the competitors, seven of whom are British. Find out more about them, their boats and their progress in the race on their websites: Mike Golding; Samantha Davies; Alex Thomson; Steve White; Jonny Malbon; Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari.

Rather them than me, I think!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Geo Challenge!

The Facebookers amongst you might like to have a go at Geo Challenge...

Be warned though... It is very addictive!


How would you cope if a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck? Very unlikely in Swanwick, but a real possibility for people living near the San Andreas Fault... which is why, on 13th November, more than 5 million people in Southern California will be taking part in The Great Southern Californian Shakeout - "the largest earthquake preparedness activity in US history".

Have a look at this video which shows what could happen when "the big one" strikes, and check out the ShakeOut website where there is lots more information, more video clips, and you can test your earthquake preparedness by playing Beat the Quake.

Thanks to Bob and Alan...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Carsington Wind Farm to go ahead...

Back in June, I posted about the decision by Derbyshire Dales District Council not to allow West Coast Energy to build four wind turbines at Carsington Pasture - overlooking Carsington Water, and not far from the villages of Hopton and Carsington.

Below is an artist's impression of what the turbines will look like from Carsington Water...

The council's decision has been overturned, however, by a government planning inspector who decided that the turbines would not have an "unacceptable" impact on the environment.

BBC News clip about the latest decision here...

Should the turbines go ahead? Will they be a terrible blot on the landscape? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Where's Wally?

If you're a "Where's Wally?" fan or a Google Earth fan (or both!) then today might be your lucky day!! Borders Books and the Daily Telegraph are running a competition (with holidays up for grabs as prizes) - and all you have to do is to find Wally in Google Earth!

Click on the picture below to find out more... And then get searching!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Mt Chaiten

This was the view of Mt Chaiten in Chile in May this year...

Photo: Flickr user CaromicForever (CC)

Residents are on the alert again now as Mt Chaiten is showing further signs of activity.

Friday, 31 October 2008

"The Sistine Chapel of Crystals..."

Where in the world is this? And what's going on?

(Photo: The Telegraph)

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Ottery St. Mary??

You could probably be forgiven if you haven't heard of Ottery St Mary - but this Devon town made the national news today after freak hailstorms caused "absolute chaos"...

Rather scary video and In Pictures from the BBC and an interesting set of photos and links on Great Geography (thanks Jo!).

And on a a related note, an interesting article from the BBC about the success (or otherwise of you read the whole article) of the new Boscastle flood defences.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Who said soil was boring?

One of the exhibitors at the SAGT Conference on Saturday was the Macaulay Institute, who describe themselves as "the UK's premier land use research centre". They have produced some fantastic resources about soils and succession, which some of the Year 13 geographers will have seen before, but I have just been looking at their website and there is loads more fantastic stuff on there which is well worth a look.

And on the topic of soils, I've also just discovered Soil-net.com! Enjoy!!
Oh, and if your eyesight is not that good and you are wondering just how many living organisms there are in a teaspoon of soil, click on the picture which will take you to a pdf of the original poster on the Macaulay Institute website!

Earthquake in Pakistan

It seems that whenever we are studying tectonics, there is an earthquake or a volcanic eruption somewhere in the world. Unfortunately, this time is no exception...

An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale struck 35 miles from Quetta in the Balochistan province of Pakistan this morning at 4am. So far, the death toll is 160, but this is expected to rise.

The USGS has details here including a Google Map showing the location, and you can find out more from the BBC where there is a set of eyewitness accounts, an In Pictures series, and some video footage.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Yay! The return of the penguins!!

The seals have been back for a while, but I've just spotted the first penguins of the year on the South Georgia webcam! Webcam 1 is the original webcam, and you can also look at the seals closer up on Webcam 2...


Just spent rather longer than I should have playing on this...


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Wet and windy Edinburgh...

Spent this weekend in Edinburgh for the SAGT Conference... An interesting lecture from Iain Stewart - "Unnatural Hazards: Creating Cultures of Catastrophe":

Two excellent workshops by Ollie Bray and Alan Parkinson - some great ideas coming soon to a classroom near you!

Lots of freebies including a fab notebook made from obsolete geological maps... Interesting conversations about the possibilities of trips to Norway or Switzerland... Excellent demonstrations of a twister in a jar and a clever way to show how warm and cold fronts move...

And a fascinating talk from "The Man Who Cycled The World":

The atrocious weather for most of the rest of the weekend meant that there wasn't much photography other than a quick snap of the Castle this morning:

Looking forward to next year!

360 Cities

If you have some time on your hands, have a look at this fantastic website which I had heard about before but hadn't explored until Ollie Bray reminded us about it yesterday...

360 Cities has some stunning panoramic photography from all over the world, and - despite the name - not all of it is city-based... This one, for example, is the beautiful Landmannalaugur in Iceland:

You can also use the little Google Earth icon in the bottom right hand corner of the image to view it in Google Earth...

Friday, 17 October 2008

More Earth as Art!

8CDr's turn this time, and some fantastic work which you can have a look at on Geogtastic's Flickr page. This one was my favourite today... Well done Liam!

If you want to make your own:
- find yourself a beautiful view in Google Earth
- save it as a png or jpeg file
- go here

Have fun!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blog Action Day

By now you will have seen the fantastic World Mapper maps... As today is Blog Action Day, here's one for you to think about that links to this year's Blog Action Day theme:

How can YOU make a difference??

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Our day out!

Lovely day out yesterday planning fieldwork along the River Dove for Year 12...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Earth as Art...

8KJe spent their lesson this morning using Google Earth to create some superb art work... My personal favourite is Kieran's "Fjord Claws" below, but you can check out some of the others on Geogtastic's new Flickr pages.

If you want to create your own, have a look at Big Huge Labs Motivator tool.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Cold Photo...

As promised Year 8, Laurel McFadden's fantastic blog about her adventures north of the Arctic Circle is here:
Plenty more about the Northern Lights here...

And for those of you who were interested in setting up your own blogs, go to www.blogger.com and click Create Blog!

You will need to have a Google account to do it - you can do that either through Blogger, or by going to www.google.com and then clicking Sign In in the top right hand corner - you will then be put in your password or create an account... (Even if you decide not to set up a blog, having a Google account is a good idea because it will allow you to use all sorts of excellent applications!)
Have fun!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

South Georgia

Whilst it's getting colder here, things are warming up in South Georgia, and the seals are enjoying the sunshine on the beach...

This is the view from Webcam 2 at the moment:

And Webcam 1:

And this is what it looked like on 4th October last year:
Who will spot the first penguin?!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Volcano World and Montserrat

My Year 9 group will need to be having a look at the Volcano World website as part of their homework this week:

Well worth a look for everyone else as well though - information about volcanoes all over the world, details of current volcanic activity, photos, virtual volcano tours, games, etc.

Year 9 might also like to have a look at the website of the Montserrat Volcanic Observatory where there is detail of current volcanic activity on Montserrat, lots of excellent photos, and details of the new Hazard Level System.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Map Jigsaws...

Lots of interesting things on the National Geographic website, including a choice of 24 map jigsaws...

Shouldn't be too much of a challenge for you to beat my time of 10 mins 22 seconds for the Europe Political map!!

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for the tip-off.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

More on The Box...

You can join the Facebook group... check out Follow The Container, and see photos of the Box in this Flickr pool...

Britain's Favourite View

A while back, ITV ran a series called Britain's Favourite View, where minor celebrities waxed lyrical about their favourite view in Britain, and tried to convince the public to phone in and vote for them... The winner was Wastwater in the Lake District:

The series has been the focus of some of the work that Year 8 have been doing this week - looking at the 16 views that the public voted for and making their own adverts. You can find out more about the series and the views from the ITV website here and on the Guardian website here. 8CDr had some interesting discussions about whether they should choose to promote a view that was famous and that they knew lots about already, or whether they should be encouraging people to find out more about places that were less well-known, and about whether "our" favourite view should be a natural one or a man-made one (or indeed if the "natural" views were really natural!). We also wondered about whether we should be basing our decisions solely on the photographs - we all agreed that Blackpool looked rather nicer in its photograph than any of us who'd visited Blackpool had experienced!

What is your favourite view in Britain? And why?

The Box

Various geobloggers have been writing about this over the past week or so...

Click on the picture to find out more about the project, watch some video clips, track The Box, and even make your own model of it!

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Well, we are now two days into the new school year, and if you are an SHS student reading this you have probably been told or reminded about the blog by your Geography teacher... so welcome, or welcome back!

A very big welcome also to Miss Thurston and Miss Bradford, who joined us in the Geography Department this week. Hopefully they will soon be making contributions to Geogtastic.

The purpose of this blog is enthuse, inspire and support SHS students studying Geography - there will be geographical news stories, interesting websites, resources that might help with homework, competitions, and lots of other bits and pieces.

If you're a 6th form geographer, remember to look at Geogtastic6 as well, and for those of you in Yr10 or 11, there's the new GeogtasticGCSE.

I hope that you all had a fantastic summer, and look forward to some comments about the stories and websites on the blog soon.

Oh, and Geogtastic has now passed the 21,000 visits mark! Yay!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Where's your favourite place?

Had an interesting afternoon yesterday... Took myself to Phoenix Park where I left my car, and then hopped on the tram. Free parking and then £2.70 for a day pass is rather more reasonable than the £8 or £9 it would probably have cost me to park in the car park of a fairly well-known Nottingham shopping centre! And I didn't have the hassle of driving into Nottingham... Not quite sure why it's taken me so long to catch on!

Got off at The Forest and went to meet Mrs Kambalu at the New Art Exchange - where Mr Kambalu has some work displayed as part of the Next We Change Earth exhibition...

Then went into the city centre for a wander round the shops, and was interested to see an alternative to the usual "hello" in the pen-testing area of the shop that sells my favourite pens! And the apostrophe in the right place as well! Thanks to Mrs K for the photo.

While we're on the subject - where is your favourite place? And why?