Interesting Maps of London

I happened across this great web site today – with some fantastic maps drawn in rather different styles – and really not badly priced!

Founded by Pablo Baqué, the ‘Walk With Me’  project maps different neighborhoods of European cities from a new perspective. Through collaboration with illustrators of each city, Walk with me has published almost 20 maps in three cities to date: Madrid, Barcelona and London.

I particularly like this map of Shoreditch, illustrated by Ruby Taylor. Sized at 63 x 43 cm, it costs only £18 to purchase. I love the bright style and way it portrays this area as a vibrant part of our capital city:


S Newington.gifComing a close second is this map of Dalston and Stoke Newington by Martina Paukova coming in at the same price of £18.

Check out the site for the other maps of London, as well as those from Madrid and Barcelona. Lets hope some more locations will be added in the future!




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CIA Release Map Collection


The CIA has recently declassified an amazing collection of maps held in its Cartographic Centre. A treasure trove for geographers (and historians)!

The Cartographic Centre was set up in 1941 to support the work of the Intelligence Agency, and the recent gift to the public marks the 75th anniversary of the map service. The collection released into the public domain via the Flickr web site  includes 130 maps and 200 images of old cartographic tools – all of which possibly playing a part in shaping significant events in modern world history.

 Check it out for yourself at:

Here is the index, and a couple of my favourites:


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Giant Sausage To Protect Dawlish Warren


There are some excellent opportunities for fieldwork or class-based studies using recent decisions made to control flooding in the Exe estuary in Devon. The Environment Agency and Teignbridge District Council are working together on a new beach management scheme at Dawlish Warren, which will get under way in early 2017. Flood defence experts are planning to bury a giant barrier in the dunes – likened to a sand-filled 400 metre long sausage – to allow the spit to continue to act as a barrier to storm waves, and stop the Exe estuary from flooding.

dawlishwarrengroyneA group of wooden groynes has helped to defend the narrow spit of Dawlish Warren for generations, but they suffered significant damage during the storms of winter 2015/2016. Despite a package of emergency restoration through 2016, the groynes are deemed no longer up to the job – leaving the spit at risk of being breached as a result of rising sea levels and severe winter storms.

 If this happened, it would increase the risk of flooding to the London to Penzance railway line and thousands of homes in estuary communities such as Starcross, Lympstone and Exmouth.

Hre is a great resource  – Images of posters used at the recent November public consultation can be downloaded from Fickr for use in the classroom:




Winter 2015/2016: Groynes damaged in winter storms.

Spring 2016: Emergency work on groynes.

Summer 2016: Refurbishment of groynes 5 to 9.

January 2017: Site compound established.

February to May 2017: Removal of existing gabion stones

April to June 2017:  Installation of new timber groynes at groynes 10 to 14.

May 2017:  Work commences at the neck following relocation of sand lizards.

June to August 2017: Dredging of material from Pole Sands, pumped onshore to replenish beach.

July 2017: Planned completion of work at the amenity area (groynes 1 to 4) ahead of summer holidays.

September 2017: Completion of works.

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Geography Christmas Spirit Anyone?

It is always difficult to resist introducing a bit of ‘Christmas Spirit’ into lessons – so why not make use of some of these resources before the end of term?

How Far Does Santa Have to Travel

Just type in your own address, and distance figures, travel times, and a map are instantly produced for you! Here are the results for my home town – hope he makes it on time!




Official NORAD Santa Tracker

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NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defense Command) web site has a load of Christmas themed games and gimmicks, culminating in the ‘Santa Tracking’ programme on Christmas Eve, when you can follow the Big Man on his journeys across the globe.


Here are some of the Santa Track videos from last year:

Google Santa Tracker

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Christmas Facts

Or for something a bit different – some thought-provoking facts about Christmas (thanks to @MrTomlinsonGeog on Twitter:

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Happy Christmas all!

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Have You Explored ‘What 3 Words’ Location Tool Yet?

screenhunter_02-nov-24-20-16Have you explored ‘What Three Words’ yet? This award-winning location referencing system is a funky new way to locate specific points on a map. It consists of a giant grid of the world made up of 57 trillion squares of 3 metres x 3 metres. Each square has been given a unique 3 word address comprised of 3 words from the dictionary. It’s  far more accurate than a postal address and it’s much easier to remember, use & share than a set of GPS co-ordinates.

 Since its launch in 2013, what3words has experienced tremendous success – gaining over 20 major awards. The company has just announced that 3 word addresses have now been integrated into national mapping portals for France, Poland, Switzerland, Finland, Surinam and Mali.

Poor addressing might seem no more than “annoying” in some countries, but it costs businesses billions of dollars, and around the world it hampers the growth and development of nations, ultimately costing lives. The founders of this new method of geo-location claim that around 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated and poor addressing systems. This means that around 4 Billion people are invisible; unable to report crime, get deliveries, aid or simply have a name for where they live. It is their intention to give everyone in the world the ability to talk about a precise location as easily as possible. It is their mission to be the world’s address system; the universal standard for communicating location.

Each square’s address contains totally different words to its nearby squares – an example might be: Each w3w shortlink uses the w3w address in the link, such as: This can be embedded in a web site or blog, or e-mailed to a friend. By clicking on the link, you are taken to the specified location on a map on the w3w website.

If you want to check it out, try clicking on the links below to take you to my old school:

Slightly unfortunate combination of words – but easy to remember!

Why don’t you log on to the what3words web site, and check out a new form of address for your own home or school?








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Floods Damage and Flood Protection on Exmoor

I took a trip to my beloved Exmoor at the weekend to check out one of my favourite spots – Tarr Steps. Nearly a week ago, Storm Angus brought some serious rain (and snow) to the moor, and the resulting floods  managed to wash away part of this ancient clapper bridge.

The 50m (164ft) Grade I-listed bridge over the River Barle attracts thousands of visitors every year, and was no longer under water when I visited. However, the damage was clear to see, with giant slabs  from the bridge dislodged by the storm and shifted a good distance downstream. Some of them weighing up to two tons!


A short distance upstream, a stretch-cable flotsam barrier was clogged with broken trunks and branches, showing how much material the river was transporting when the flood was raging:


Only four years ago, £10,000 was spent to repair Tarr Steps following damage from another serious burst of flood water. In fact, the National Park Authority seems now resigned to the fact that”exceptional rainfall” could cause slabs to wash away “every few years”.

Somerset County Council intends to put the bridge back exactly as it was, but will wait for a few months until threats from further floods have diminished.

Meanwhile, in another part of Exmoor, natural flood defences, like allowing trees to fall into rivers, have helped protect buildings from Storm Angus. Success of such natural measures, like those evident near the village of  Bossington, coincided with revelation that such schemes receive no current government funding – despite ministers repeatedly backing the idea.

Holnicote Estate in Exmoor, Somerset, has several natural flood defences, which helped protect the village of Bossington.
Holnicote Estate in Exmoor, Somerset, has several natural flood defences, which helped protect the village of Bossington. Photograph: Nigel Hester/National Trust
Artificial pool part of floods defences at National Trust Holnicote Estate, Exmoor, Somerset.
Artificial pool, which is part of the floods defences at National Trust Holnicote Estate, Exmoor, Somerset. Photograph: Nigel Hester/National Trust




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BBC Earth App

If you have been enjoying the recent BBC ‘Planet Earth’ series – you need to check out the new app:


It was originally put together to celebrate presenter David Attenborough’s 90th birthday, and offers over a thousand clips – all for free – including footage from series including Zoo Quest, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

“Knowing and understanding the natural world is one of the greatest gifts that humans can possess, if we lose our connection with nature then we lose ourselves,” said Attenborough.

Sir David Attenborough with an iguana from Living With Dinosaurs.
Sir David Attenborough with an iguana from Living With Dinosaurs. Photograph: Simon Smith/Simon Smith/BBC
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