Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking stock of use

Images: Canal trade in northern France. The Riqueval Tunnel at Bellicourt, Picardie, France. Built by Napoleon in 1811 and still in use!

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

What is happening with the use of spatial technology in schools?

It amazes me that after writing this blog for almost 4 years that new sites keep appearing to pass on. It looks like I will never run out of spatial orientated sites for this blog – and I am only touching the tip of the iceberg. After several ‘thinking’ blog entries over the past few weeks on ‘Risky geography’ and ‘Spatial Justice’, I thought a blog entry just to play with some new sites (and old) to gather resources and information (or just spatially play) would be a good way to go.
Before playing it must be asked; considering the plethora of amazing spatial and neogeography sites on the Internet in 2011, how many of them are being used in schools? Hopefully lots but I am not totally confident that is the answer we would get. It would be good to get some quantifiable data on usage and then maybe map it to show the penetration of spatial technology and the visualisation/spatial sites now available for our schools to use - free of charge and totally accessible on the most basic Internet link in 2011. Probably it is time to get such data to see what the status quo is; what sites are most used, where the greatest use is in the curriculum (year levels/subjects), what areas are they being most used (in spatial terms)and where are the gaps across Australia. If we are on about spatial justice in education across Australia, such a map and spatial analysis is critical at this stage, as we develop the Australian Curriculum for geography. Who wants to start this research? Could be a great Doctorate topic (but have we got time to wait?). With today’s technology of tracking sites and on-line surveying, such a task should be quite achievable. Anyway here are some sites schools should be using to enhance spatial and geographical learning.

* An Interactive World Map, Grid Arendal United Nations Environment Programme,
This is an interactive world atlas with country statistics related to sustainable development. Globalis aims to create an understanding for similarities and differences in human societies, as well as how we influence the planet. A number of map layers are provided. Globalis also allows the user to display a number of thematic and statistical maps according to indicators. A written description appears beneath each map, explaining what the map shows

* Free and Open Source Software for GIS Education:

* The earth from above! Understanding and viewing satellite images. Some great use of satellite images from the USGS at:

* If it were my home: Country comparison tool

* Free trial of eSpatial tool

* Visual Assessement: A simple way to understand world facts

* NASA satellite tracking in real time at:

* It's a good idea to have a meeting place in case of an emergency and you get split up from your loved ones. Safety Maps, a straightforward application, helps you tell others the safety location.

* Hazards GIS

* Create a digital history with History Pin: Want to know what was happening on the corner of your street a hundred years ago? Now a new online project will let you ‘pin’ historic photos to images on Google Streetview giving you a snapshot of that particular location throughout history. The HistoryPin website encourages web users to upload their archive photos and ‘geo-tag’ the modern-day locations onto their modern Streetview locations. The site allows users to share images from their personal photo albums and wants them to include the stories and history behind them.

* The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) has designed this site to provide a comprehensive general overview of maps, mapping, cartography and map production. It is not intended to be a definitive reference, but rather to supply a consolidated summary of mapping concepts, principles and practice. Hyperlinks are provided to other sites which offer more detailed information. Also, it is planned that existing pages will be continually up-dated and additional pages added from time-to-time. The site contains an overview to the fundamentals of mapping, history of mapping, types of maps, earth's coordinate system, datums, surveying for mapping, about projections, maps as a summary of the world, making your map and cartographic considerations.

* Catching those criminals with spatial technology. Crime locations mapped by UK Police Dept. Go to and do a street search. Certainly beats the pin maps we used to see on ‘The Bill’! An interesting use of data and maps with spatial technology.

* This site is a toolbox developed by Westone in Perth. It is designed to provide assistance with training across 5 units of competency in the spatial information service qualification.

* Japan quakes over past months in real time

* Target map is a platform for community to share. Just choose a country and a way to create your map by color, type values or by uploading your excel files (you can even use your zip/postal code column to get the best and most accurate maps!)

* The worlds fresh water interactive map

* Geography of Slavery in America
This website provides transcriptions and images of more than 2,400newspaper advertisements between 1736 and 1777 regarding runaway slaves. The maps section is a great example of the incorporation of the spatial in history.

* New York affordable housing. Who lives here? Who can afford to live here? This site looks at income demographics and rents in neighbourhoods all over New York City. Click on the precinct and the statistics chart across the bottom.

* The London Profiler site shows data for London overlaid on Google Image of London. Crime, health and deprivation are just some of the indicators.

* From Scotland (National Collection of Aerial Photography), some great aerial imagery for historical geography in particular

* A brief history of time Zones – an interactive globe.

* Reading Topographic Maps: A Free On-Line Book on How to Read Topographic Maps and Use a Compass. Historically, the development of highly accurate, detailed topographic maps has largely been driven by military requirements. Army map reading training developed to a high degree of proficiency for the same reason. The information contained in this website comes from actual U.S. Army map reading training manuals, but it is also applicable to such civilian uses as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, hill walking or any other use where precise, accurate land navigation is desired or needed.

* Tiny Geo-coder: A simple site that converts location to decimal degrees of latitude and longitude. Search by address, place name, or by latitude and longitude.

Some old postings but worth repeating

* MapCruzin:
An excellent spatial technology overview blog containing free GIS, map downloads, GIS/GPS tuition, GIS news, RSS feeds and much more

* The earth from above! Understanding and viewing satellite images. Some great use of satellite images from the USGS

* NASA satellite tracking in real time at:

* The ESRI blog is a must to keep up to date with and be a follower. Have a read of the Fun with GIS’ postings – full of ideas. New things posted every week.

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