24th June 2015

Schools – get involved in the Ashcloud Apocalypse GIS event


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Originally posted by Gemma on the Ordnance Survey blog.

Today’s guest blog is by Raphael Heath, Head of Geography at the Royal High School Bath and one of the winners of the Royal Geographical Society Ordnance Survey Award for Excellence in Secondary Teaching.

Last year, as part of GIS Day 2014, schools across the world participated in a world record GIS Event that I’d organised in collaboration with Esri UK. In this event students were asked to add their ratings for the quality of life in their neighbourhood to a shared online map using ArcGIS online. In total almost 12,000 students took part in the event, setting a new Esri UK world record. The outcomes of this project can be accessed via this summary web app and analysed in more detail in this web app.

After this I started working on the next free global mapping activity for all geographers for GIS Day in November 2015. This event is called Ashcloud Apocalypse and you can watch the video promoting it. It is only a few years ago when you might remember the disruption caused by the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. Well, what could be the consequences in our highly interconnected globalised world of a larger apocalyptic level eruption of a mega volcano? It has happened before and will happen again, one day! So are we ready for the climatic consequences, the collapse of global food production and disruption to trade routes? Students will examine a series of map layers to determine the level of risk in their home area should a mega eruption occur. You can find out more and get your organisation involved at the event website. Ask your local school if they are planning to participate with the event and help students learn about the power of mapping to solve complex problems.

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OS have always been strong supporters of the use of mapping in schools and education. Their open data is also now also giving schools fantastic access to data they can freely use within GIS based studies. They also support the work of teachers through their award of the Royal Geographical Society Ordnance Survey Award for Excellence in Secondary Teaching, which I was pleased to be one of the teachers to receive the award this year.

Sign up for Ashcloud Apocalypse here.