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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Science for Society: new developments in physical geography Event

19:00 - 13:30
21 - 26 July 2013
University of Southampton Fee: Free* *The £50 booking deposit will be refunded on completion of the course. Delegates must fund their travel costs to attend the course at Southampton. All tuition, accommodation, food and travel during the course will be provided free.

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Sarah Dack on 023 8059 2522 or email .

Event details

Recent advances in physical geography place geographers in a unique position to answer many of the world’s problems, such as: how rivers work at a range of scales and the impact water resources have on surrounding ecosystems (including humans); how changes in climate can affect carbon budgets from soils, lakes and other sedimentary archives; and how environmental change (both natural and human-driven) influences landscape evolution and can affect ecosystem services.

The University of Southampton's physical geographers are currently engaged in addressing such geographical questions using a variety of innovative and cutting-edge research techniques. These academics will share their expertise, experiences and innovation with school teachers through this course.

Attending the course will provide geography school teachers with the skills and resources to appreciate leading-edge advances in the discipline, allowing them to pass on that knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise to a new generation of geographers in schools.

How to apply

Complete the application form and arrange for a countersignature by your school. Enclose with a covering letter that explains in no more than 500 words why you believe attending this course will be of particular benefit to your teaching career and a cheque for £50*.

*The £50 booking deposit will be refunded on completion of the course. Delegates must fund their travel costs to attend the course at Southampton. All tuition, accommodation, food and travel during the course will be provided free.

Application and Selection

Applications will be reviewed as and when they are submitted (until the deadline of 31st May) relative to the selection criteria. Applicants will be informed within 2 weeks whether they have been successful in gaining a place on the course. The course is limited to 20 places so interested applicants are advised to discuss with their school as early as possible and put in an application.

Priority criteria for selection:

  • Secondary school teacher - must be specialist geography teacher
  • Priority to GCSE / A level teachers currently delivering to these year groups
  • Should be ‘mid-career' ie not have graduated in last 4-5 years
  • ONE teacher from each school
  • Must teach in GB school

Aims of the course

To provide teachers with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and techniques for data collection in the field, and its analysis and interpretation.

To give teachers an insight into how The Met Office and Ordnance Survey each collect and enhance geographical data to underpin complex forecasting and decision-making.

To ensure teachers return to school equipped with knowledge of new tools that can contribute to raising
standards of geography teaching in their school.

To engage with leading academics to inspire teachers to raise the aspirations of their A level geography students, and provide encouragement to those who are considering a BSc in geography at university.

To provide an outstanding Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunity. This course provides 10 points towards the 35 annual points required for Chartered Geographers.

Programme for the course:

Sunday 21 July 2013
Check in from 3pm
Evening: Welcome and course review
Dinner: The Blue Room, Highfield Campus, Southampton

Monday 22 July 2013
Innovation in data collection techniques for application within physical geography
Morning: Field and laboratory-based equipment
Lunch: Geography Building, Highfield Campus, Southampton
Afternoon: Remote sensing and GIS technologies
Dinner: The Olive Tree, Oxford Street, Southampton

Tuesday 23 July 2013
Visit to Ordnance Survey, Southampton
All day: Introduction to the organisation including insight into remote sensing (aerial photography), cartography, GI, GeoVation and resources for schools
Lunch: At OS
Dinner: The Blue Room, Highfield Campus, Southampton

Wednesday 24 July 2013
Visit to the Met Office, Exeter
All day: Introduction to the organisation including insight into weather forecasting, climate change, impacts and resources for schools
Lunch: At MO
Dinner: Restaurant in Exeter

Thursday 25 July 2013
Problem solving in the field - sampling in the New Forest
Morning: Collecting a range of data using techniques to investigate fluvial geomorphology, soils and biogeography
Lunch: The Drift Inn, Beaulieu Road Station
Afternoon: Visit to National Oceanography Centre
Gala Dinner: Goldsmiths' Hall, London

Friday 26 July 2013
Data visualisation
Morning: Uploading field data (from Thursday); data assessment and interpretation. Discussion around use of Google Earth, OS OpenSpace and OS OpenData as web tools for visualisation - exploring recent developments with emphasis on practical use for the classroom
Lunch: Geography Building
Afternoon: depart

 This course is a collaboration between Ordnance Survey and Southampton University, in association with The Goldsmith's Company and Met Office.

 Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey is Great Britain's national mapping agency. It collects, maintains and distributes accurate and up-to-date geographic information (GI) which is used by government, business and individuals to underpin a wide range of social and economic activities. A well recognised brand for paper maps, digital data now accounts for 90% of the business. In 2011 Ordnance Survey moved to a new purpose-built sustainable head office building at one of the gateways of Southampton, its home city since 1841.

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is one of the UK's leading university geography departments. It is a leading centre of geographical research, both nationally and internationally, with excellent facilities, a strong publication record, and a thriving research culture. In the recent RAE 2008 assessment almost all research activity was judged of international standing, with 20% classed as world-leading.

 The Goldsmith's Company

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, more commonly known as the Goldsmith's Company, is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London and received its first royal charter in 1327. In addition to its responsibility for testing the quality of precious metals and its role in supporting the craft and industry, the Goldsmith's Company supports a wide range of charitable and educational projects including the Science for Society courses which aim to inform and inspire teachers of science.

 Met Office

The Met Office is the UK's national weather service providing a range of information including weather forecasts, extreme weather warnings, weather and climate predictions and international services. A range of solutions are provided for the public, government, the armed forces, health service and a range of industry sectors including the media, transport, utilities and financial services.


Speaker information

Dr Ellie Biggs ,Ellie’s research interests mainly encompass the spatial and temporal analysis of environmental data, predominantly within the field of hydroclimatology. Her research is currently focussing on the adaptation and sustainability of rural communities to climate-induced environmental change.

Professor Steve Darby,Steve’s research interests include morphodynamics of large monsoon-affected rivers and submarine meanders, modelling river channel dynamics and floodplain processes in meandering rivers and forested floodplain environments, and landscape evolution modelling investigating the influence of vegetation on fluvial forms and processes.

Dr Gareth Roberts ,Gareth's research interests focus on monitoring land surface dynamics using optical and thermal remote sensing. One aspect of this concerns linking Earth Observation (EO) data with models for quantifying land surface dynamics and vegetation change using biophysical parameters such as leaf area index and vegetation cover.

Dr Chris Hackney ,Chris’ research interests include fluvial dynamics, landscape evolution modelling and coastal geomorphology. He is currently working on modelling sediment transport and erosion in large alluvial rivers.

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