Apr 262017
 

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

 

Review of the inaugural Digimap for Schools webinar!

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Jun 212013
 

On Thursday 13th June we ran our very first Digimap for Schools webinar.  While we had a few sounds issues (which we will make sure are resolved for next time), the session was found to be reasonably useful by most of the 55 participants.  Before commencing our virtual tour of Digimap for Schools, we asked participants to gauge their level of confidence when using Digimap for Schools in the classroom.  While most suggested reasonable confidence when using the service, a few indicated anxiety about using the service in the classroom.  We were really pleased to see those teachers in particular participating as our aim of the day was to increase confidence and possibly share a few ideas.  We went for a topical theme and gave a tour of the service using Andy Murray’s upcoming Wimbledon appearance as our theme.  We digitized over centre court, added a photo of Andy holding up a cup and created a 0.5km buffer around centre court to identify which streets will hear the crowd roar if Andy fulfills our hopes on finals day!  We followed the virtual tour with a Q&A session which was particularly useful for us here at EDINA:

Q: Is it possible to automatically colour a building to identify land use?

A: Regrettably no.  Because the background maps are images only, you need to digitize the building using the polygon tool changing fill colour as you go.

Q: Can I delete saved maps?

A: The only way to do that currently is to contact edina@ed.ac.uk and tell us which maps to delete.  The ability to delete maps was asked frequently so we will be looking at how to deliver that functionality to you so it can be done locally by yourselves.

Q: Can I create subfolders of maps for different classes?

A: No, however you can filter/order maps according to entries in the class field.  Again this question was asked by many so we will be looking at delivering this functionality.

Q: Will the annual password change purge all my saved maps?

A: No, your saved maps will be unaffected by the password change.

Q: Can I preview my map before generating a pdf?

A: No not yet but we already have on our development path the aim to have that function is place for you returning after the summer break so that before the pdf, jpg or png are generated you will be able to see the extent the map will cover in the map window and be able to move that around.

Q: Can I change the photo size on the map?

A: You can click once on the photo and see a larger version but you cannot change the size of the photo on the map itself.  This was asked for several times so we will look into offering this flexibility.

Q: Grid reference points – can I save them and/or add multiple ones?

A: No the grid reference tool is not an annotation you add to the map, it is a temporary response to a map click only.  There was interest in multiple grid references so we will look into the feasibility of this.

Q: Can the buffer tool be used along a line?

A: No it works on a single click only.  However we could extend the buffer tool to work on digitized line annotations also.  Again, we’ll  look into the feasibility of doing this.

Q: Can children access Digimap for Schools from home?

A: Yes all they need is internet access and a browser and they can use the school login to access the service from home.

Q: Can you offer a route card type function for Duke of Edinburgh activities?

A: That’s not on our immediate development plan but it’s one to keep in mind.

Q: Can I add multiple markers by entering postcodes?

A: Not currently and it’s not on our immediate development path although we have considered a gpx upload function.  We’re not sure if there’s huge demand for this.

Q: Is there a file size limit on the photo upload tool?

A: Yes, the file limit is 10MB per image.

Q: A student friendly summary sheet would be helpful

A: A user guide written by Mark Williams (age 14) is available http://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/cosmo/home?page=resources

Q: Can charts from Excel be imported onto the map?

A: Yes.  If you save your Excel chart as a picture and select the jpeg option, it will be in a format that the Add Photo tool will be happy to accept.

Q: Is there a Digimap for Schools app?

A: No there’s not an app but the service has been optimized to work on Safari browsers on iPads.

Q: Can you enter a grid reference range and see the map within that area? I’m thinking about recreating maps from exams.

A: Not really but if you enter the superset grid reference into the search box you will be taken to that grid reference.  Darren from Ordnance Survey also added Ordnance Survey are in discussions with Examination Boards exploring the possibility of obtaining past paper extracts that could be integrated within the service.

Q: Will the service extend beyond the UK in the future?

A: Maybe if demand exists!

Q: Is there any way of showing Geological information on a map?

A: If you have a photograph or an image in jpeg format then yes it can be added to the map.  There is of course also a wealth of digital geological data that the British Geological Society makes available.  Adding this geological data to Digimap for Schools is something we have considered but haven’t detected as much interest in compared to say e.g. historical data and/or aerial photography.

Other discussion points included a general interest in MapStream (http://mapstream.edina.ac.uk) EDINA’s web mapping service for use in desktop GIS.  There seemed to be a bit of interest in MapStream and even a request for a dedicated webinar.  Prior to deciding to subscribe to MapStream a school needs to decide upon a desktop GIS to use the service in, but we are happy to run a webinar demonstrating MapStream in a variety of desktop GIS.  Email edina@ed.ac.uk if you are interested in a MapStream webinar, we’d love to hear from you!  We had several schools identify problems with losing annotations from saved maps.  We’re actively working to identify what’s causing this intermittent problem.  Again if you’ve experienced lost annotations please contact us at edina@ed.ac.uk because we really need as much evidence as possible to resolve this problem.

We wrapped up the session asking if the webinar had been useful, over half of participants indicated it had, which was great to hear:

‘thank you very much, we have found this very useful’

 

‘thank you very much – has really helped to clarify some points’

 

‘accessed this webinar from home via iPad without any problems – just had to download an app to open the webinar’

 

‘I think this is a really good way of sharing information and it is nice to know I’m not the only person sitting in my room after school!  thank you’

 

‘we love digimap’

 

‘thank you for your help today.  If you offer further webinars I would be interested in attending’

 

‘Superb session. Thanks’

 

‘Use digimaps a lot in school with different year groups. thanks’

We will be making a video of the session available very soon.  Watch this space!

Latest Digimap for Schools Newsletter

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Apr 112013
 

The latest Digimap for Schools newsletter, for the summer 2013 term, has been released!

Click the link to view the PDF newsletter: Newsletter Issue 2

Read about the latest Digimap for Schools developments, hints and tips, the proposed new curriculum for England and how you can earn a collectable Ordnance Survey mouse!

If you would like a batch of 10-20 newsletter printed out for your school, drop us an email and we can print them and send them on. Also if you have any comments about the newsletter please get in touch also. Emails should be sent to: edina@ed.ac.uk

A few lovely enhancements you’ll see from next week

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Mar 212013
 

You may have noticed we’ve added a short announcement to the service home page indicating there are a few new tools being added next week.  Here’s a taster of what’s coming……..

Buffer Tool

We’re adding an exciting new tool to the annotations toolbar.  Buffering is a common term used in spatial analysis and means identifying a zone of a specified distance around a particular feature.  Our new tool – the point buffer tool – allows you to click a point on the map from which you’d like to draw a circle of a certain size.  You determine the radius of the circle from the point you identify either by selecting a distance from the list we’ve provided or one you enter yourself. The tool accepts distances in miles and kilometres and is a great way to draw exactly a circle of a certain size.  If you like the tool let us know because we could even offer a line buffer tool that would enable you to carry out the same analysis from a line feature you draw – great for identifying features a certain distance from a road or river or a walk you’ve plotted yourself.

Welcome to the font picker!

You’ll be able to add more interesting styles of text next week as we’re introducing 7 font types and a range of sizes from 10 to 96 all in a drop down selector you’ll be familiar with, enjoy!

Label in Miles

Back in January we updated our measure line tool so that you could ask it to return distances in miles as well as kilometres.  You liked this enhancement a lot but of course you instantly said, what about the measurement label tool?  We’ve updated that now too so you can also have your measurement labels in miles or kilometres!

Elastic Photos!

Another feature we added back in January was the ability to add photos as a new annotation type to your map.  While this was a really useful new annotation type, you told us you really would like to be able to place the photo at a position/distance relevant to the pin of your choice.  We listened, and now we have elastic photos!  It’s so simple to do – once your photo appears on the map, pick up the Move Feature tool, then click on your photo and spin it round and round the pin, watch out you might get dizzy it’s so much fun!

Active Tool

Something that catches quite a few of us out is not knowing which tool is active.  We go to pan the map and still have the draw line tool active and start accidentally drawing a new line, much to our frustration!  To reduce the likelihood of this happening we’ve changed our tool icons so that when the tool is active the button background turns white – so there’s no missing the active tool now!

And finally, start again really does start again!

It’s a small one, but we felt the Start Again button should not just take you back to the GB view, but it really should clear all annotations also – it just makes more sense.

As ever we’d love to hear your views on the new tools after you’ve had a play.  Email us at edina@ed.ac.uk anytime with your feedback.

GA Conference 2012

 digimap for schools  Comments Off on GA Conference 2012
Apr 172012
 

Last Friday and Saturday (13 – 14 April) the Digimap for Schools team joined the Ordnance Survey on their stand at the GA Conference in Manchester.  It was a fantastic couple of days and we welcomed many visitors to the stand.  In fact, some people had to come back on the Saturday to see us because the stand had been too busy when they stopped by on Friday!

Digimap for Schools received lots of positive feedback from teachers currently using the service and those interested in signing up.  Visitors were impressed with the new enhancements released a couple of weeks ago (read about them here) and were very interested in the new secondary and primary teaching resources recently added (download resources here)

It was an excellent conference for us, providing a great opportunity to meet new and familiar teachers to demonstrate the service and to hear feedback from those already using it.

The Education team from Ordnance Survey also held a workshop on Friday afternoon demonstrating Digimap for Schools.  The room was crammed full of eager teachers to hear about the history and development of Digimap for Schools, as well as getting  chance to have a hands-on session to have a look at the service themselves.

From the buzz on various blogs and Twitter, I don’t think we were the only people to think that the conference was fantastic, a job really well done by the GA!