Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2024

In praise of flat places

Flat places seem hardly to count as places. They’re just the gaps between landmarks. If people think about flatlands at all, it’s usually to call them boring. Nothing to look at, nothing to focus on, no hidden places to discover. To be flat is to be dull: a cut-and-dried equation. I've got a copy of 'A Flat Place' by Noreen Massud. Check out the GeoLibrary for some more. She contributed a piece to The Guardian's feature on holidays to explain why she likes to visit flat places. There's some excellent descriptions of the value of flatness and why other places leave her cold and anxious. Excellent for units exploring the distinctive landscape of this area, and the value of flatness in areas such as the Somerset Levels and elsewhere. Can I also recommend that you subscribe to Drew's Fenland on Film YouTube channel. Drew does fantastic work collating, sharing and restoring films about the Fens and places such as Ely. Here's one of his latest projects: a restor

Hillslope Modelling in Scratch

  In the 1980s, my geography teacher and one of my lecturers collaborated on coding a simple hillslope model which looked at runoff on a hillslope. It was made available as an early piece of software for purchase and reviewed in TG at the time. I wrote about it here. It was for sale at the time - for use on the BBC B computer. The TG description is shown here. A post from Dr. Chris Skinner led me to a modern take on this theme. A group of people led by Dai Yamazaki have been coding a model for the movement of water down and through a hillslope using Scratch and have made the code available. There's a close link with the model from the 1980s.... I had a copy. You can tinker with the code as well. If I had a little more time I'd give this a go. New paper is out. We develop a rainfall-runoff model using educational programming language Scratch, and make it playable as a game. We found through a workshop that learning through game helps to more deeply understand flood mechanism.

Making Space for Sand

  Making Space for Sand is a project I was made aware of recently. The ‘Building Community Resilience on a Dynamic Coastline by Making Space for Sand’ project (also known as Making Space for Sand or MS4S) is one of 25 national projects funded by DEFRA as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programme (FCRIP).  The programme will drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate. The project website has an excellent section outlining the formation of Sand Dunes, particularly within the located context of Cornwall. Sand Dunes are an important part of the coastal defences in the locations where they are found. I am particularly familiar with the dunes on the North Norfolk Coast at places like Holkham.  I've previously carried out fieldwork on those dunes with both GCSE and 'A' level students, and also  Atkins has provided GIS support and created some visualisations of future landscapes.