Google Earth Thoughts

How to get Kids interested in Geography

This week I sat in on a course run by the Royal Geographical Society to train teachers to use Google Earth in their classes. The course was excellent and will run again in October and is highly recommended. In talking to some of the teachers we soon got on to the topic of the impact that Google Earth has had in exciting their students, and the extent to which their preferred images to Cartographic view of the world.

As a teaching tool just creating a tour and visiting places without any labels displayed is very powerful, asking students to describe the shape of the landscape, patterns of settlement and of course trying to recognise the locations is fascinating.

Last week I saw this same effect in a different environment visiting the Swiss Museum of Transport Swiss in Lucerne. For an aviation anorak such as myself, this is well worth the visit, but for all geographers you must visit the swissarena, a 1:20 000 scale photo mosaic of all of Switzerland on the floor of a dedicated building.


This is just amazing.. constructed from nearly 8,000 images and detailed enough so that you can see individual buildings it is a huge hit with children visitors and is a brilliant tool to understand the geography of Switzerland.

We really must make the most of this opportunity, new technology has made geography interesting again.. lets make the most of it and move beyond the LandRanger extract !!!

Written and Submitted from the Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport, London using the BTOpenzone wifi network.

2 replies on “How to get Kids interested in Geography”

Hello, Ed,
When I had first read about the Swissarena piece constructed some time ago, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the context it places a viewer. It becomes one of the most truly remarkable pieces to me, because I’m certain that it places children (and adults) in the perspective that they’re truly on top of the world. A perspective that is really only subtly accomplished through a monitor.

Imagine the spark ignited in a child’s imagination, however, when placed in such a rich context of visualization. Absolutely phenominal, I can only imagine what must be firing off in their brains!

Museums have also embraced similar large scale exhibits, primarily with 3D contour models. Or so, this seems to be a more popular method of ‘hardcopy’ visualization here in the States.

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