We recently received some fantastic feedback on Digimap for Schools from Dr Neil Clifton, a retired chemistry teacher/lecturer. When his grandson showed him our service, Neil was so impressed that he requested access so he could further explore the maps and tools available. A lifelong mapping and geography enthusiast, whose son studied geography, Neil enjoys contributing photos to the Geograph project.
We particularly like Neil’s point about the maps helping young people to develop a love for their environment and wanted to share his considered thoughts with you:
Every child/pupil/student in every school in Britain should have access to this brilliant facility which has been developed by a team at Edinburgh University in co-operation with Ordnance Survey.
For little more than the cost of a set of text-books, the project allows access to the whole range of Ordnance Survey mapping, right up to the largest scale of 1:1250, (on which even garages, sheds and tiny streams are depicted, and where appropriate, named).
The team has put much thought into the project, which has made it easy to use, and attractive in appearance, so that even young children will enjoy exploring and using it, for locations such as their immediate home surroundings, as well as for locations that they have visited, or hope to visit, in more distant parts of Britain.
A beginner, in perhaps year 1 or 2 in their junior school, might look at a map showing their own school. And as the child develops and matures, they will trace their own house and the route they follow to get to school. Then, finding perhaps the location of the local supermarket, where the railway station is situated and so on, their confidence as map-users will increase all the time. The pond or stream where they go fishing will be found – and perhaps the map will enable the discovery of other possible fishing sites nearby.
The benefits to those students taking geography examinations can hardly be overstressed. But there are so many other ways in which the use of these maps will help the young person to acquire a love of the environment and a care for its well-being. It is here that our future botanists, naturalists, photographers, walkers, cyclists, and leaders of the next generation of young people are born.
If any teacher is still unconvinced of the real and lasting value of making this resource available in their schools, I would urge them to look at the (free) trial which shows just a small area of the country.
Dr Neil Clifton, April 2017