Two unusual alphabets and using them with classes.

Alphabet using GoogleMaps

I was looking for typography and different letters of the alphabet when I found these two (amongst others) via Pinterest. One particular board I like is Typography / Calligraphy.

Pinterest has become quite a resource for me when I want some images and it does not let me down often. I have to be very disciplined so as not to get too engrossed in what I find there as time gets away.

The first alphabet here is Google Maps Typography by Rhett Dashwood.

It is amazing that people find so many different ways to make use of Google maps.

For several months in 2008 and  2009 Rhett spent time searching Google Maps. He was looking for  land formations or buildings that resembled letter forms.  The place were limited to those within the state of Victoria, Australia. Go to his page and find the placemarks and links to all of the “letters” used except for “y”

I liked the idea and thought that the idea could be adapted for students to use as a class activity in geography. They could do it the way Rhett did, picking a particular area and searching.They could also try to find the alphabet in their local area/suburb. They could give map co-ordinates so that others could find the “letter”. It would be a great way to get to know an area. They could also go out and search their area, finding letters and then locate them on the map.

The second alphabet offered another way to catch the interest of students and test their knowledge. I have found some good Harry Potter alphabets and posters but this one makes you think about all the characters and their traits to find the answers.

The Harry Potter Alphabet on Buzzfeed and although it is not the only Harry Potter alphabet, it tests you. How well do you know the characters in the series? The letters give a clue. I am sure the students could come up with alphabets for the books they enjoy. I must think further about this idea – may be a good book week activity or take the place of a traditional book report.

Harry Potter alphabet

GeoGuessr and GeoSettr

This week I have been playing around with the addictive puzzle game GeoGuessr and then the related GeoSettr. It is simple to use , free and tests your knowledge of geography and your powers of observation.

To explain it very simply, you go to the site and try to guess your location using Google Maps and Street View technologies. The closer your guess is to the actual location, the more points you score.


GeoGuessr uses Google Maps so when you enter the site, you find are (virtually) placed in different locations from somewhere in the world. You can look around and then put a pin on the world map to guess where you are.

  • Click and drag to look around you. Click the arrows to move forward or back, zoom in and out and move around just like you would normally in Google maps street view, in order to get a better idea what you’re looking at. So “walk” left or  right or turn around or look up and down to fully explore the surroundings you find yourself.
  • Once you think you know where you are, use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in on the map in the upper-right corner to place your position on a world map
  • Click on the map to place your pin.
  • Finally click  “make guess” to lock in your location.
  • You then get the actual location identified and you are told how close your guess was (along with the points you scored). You then click onto the next location.

You can take your time as your score is determined by how far away from the actual location your guess was with no time limit.

Students can explore the world in a very engaging way. It would be a good tool for group activities within a class, with members of the group working together and negotiating to find the locations.

It is a great tool to use with students in this form but you can now customize your own version using GeoSettr.

My Setting page-opt

I created one of my own using 5 places in Victoria.


Once I got the the end it gave me the URL I can use to find it again. The whole address needs to be copied and then pasted into the address field. It does not seem to work when you insert it as a link behind a word or image.

My Setting page-script

We are going to use GeoGuessr with the Geography students at the end of term as an extension activity. They will then use GeoSettr to create their own geo-quizzes and share them with the rest of their class.

It is certainly an addictive pastime.

The World’s Highest Peaks: Scaling heights via Google maps

Have you ever wanted to climb to the top of the tallest mountain peaks in the world but are afraid of heights? You aren’t quite fit enough or things such as avalanches, rock slides and altitude sickness worry you?

You now have the opportunity to get some idea about the sights that the intrepid travellers see via Now Google Maps. It has added some amazing imagery taken whilst scaling the highest mountains on various continents, from the Everest Base Camp (Asia), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) Mt. Aconcagua (South America) and Mt. Elbrus (Europe). Also included are Namche Bazaar (the gateway to the high Himalayas) and Mudslide Bridge, the long bridge across a chasm along the trekking route from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, that has been destroyed many times

It is all part of World’s Highest Peaks, the latest special collection of Google Maps. As with all Google views you can zoom in, up/down and 360 degree swivel (Every location you see from the treks is made up of 12 photos (three in each direction, strung together). It also offers a small map to place it geographically.


Above is an example of one in the collection.

At 19,341 ft, Uhuru is the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro. Called the Roof of Africa, Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent and highest freestanding mountain in the world.

I like it that the images have not only captured the magnificent natural scenery, but you can also see man-made structures along the way. The collection has pictures that show base camps and even cliff-side monasteries.

I will be sending the link to the geography department and add to our store of good resources for our students.

Mapping disasters in real-time – AlertMap

We seem to have been reeling from one-disaster to another this year. Our students have been very interested in (and concerned about) the floods here in Australia and the earthquake in Christchurch. The earthquake in Japan, and the potential for disaster that the Nuclear power stations pose, has the boys looking at the news media often.   There are of course many disasters that are constantly occurring that are not reported in our news media.

Alertmap is a tool that will show what is happening and where. It is a real-time map of disasters that logs and plots emergencies and tragedies as they happen around the world.

It covers various kinds of disasters. These are plotted on a Google-based map and include events such as the natural disasters (eg. earthquakes, floods, typhoons, tsunami), bushfires, epidemics, insect invasions, nuclear events, vehicle accidents and more. At the moment Japan has its own tab in red but you can also use the continents tab for other specific regions.

The events are divided into current emergencies, short time events, long time or rolling events. Each event is rated and color-coded to indicate how critical the event is to human life and property.

You can click on any icon on the map to show details of the event, including the co-ordinates, country, state, and date. The array of icons are explained under the help tab. The map takes data from the internet so it can plot them as they are happening. You can then follow a details link for extra information. The screen below shows the first summary page and you can follow other tabs for further information.

Below the map lists of disasters in table format. You can follow the links here just as you can from the map.

Also worth noting is that the site is free with no sign-up required

Goodbye 2010

My colleague Tania out this video onto our Ning.  I thought it would be a good final post before I leave work this year. The stocktake is done, the orders and invoices are all signed off and the vacant position for a TL in our school library has just been filled. Hello Christmas and school holidays!