We don’t know what it is about maps…we just love them! Maybe it’s the Geographer within us or maybe we just like exploring new places but the tutor team at FSC Preston Montford definitely have a soft spot for those paper diagrams. Maps help you to plan your outings, help get you back on route when you have made a wrong turn (it happens to the best of us), warn you about hazards or just how steep the hill round the next corner will be and they even make great works of art.
National Map Reading week was from the 16th to 22nd October and was a reminder of how often we use maps.
As tutors we use maps in many of our sessions, particularly during our GSCE downstream river introductions where we assess why Carding Mill Valley is a suitable location for our study and what the key characteristics are in the landscape. We guide the students to read the contour lines, use the scale and identify key symbols.
|Carding Mill Valley river study.|
At Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia, we use Ordnance Survey maps to orientate the students and help them to enter a magical place – one of ice ages past and a land of giants. Additionally with our A level groups, we use compasses at Cwm Idwal to calculate striation orientation.
|The wild glacial landscape of Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia.|
During our KS2 Stiperstones Stomp day, we encourage our young adventurers to navigate sections of the route over the heathland – taking the lead but also teaching them the importance of not leaving anyone behind. We also use maps in urban areas, to direct student to set fieldwork locations and to complete land use mapping on tablets. Many of our evening sessions use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to geolocate data and allow for analyse in relation to the surrounding environment.
|Stiperstones Stomp route card - Part 1 of 4.|
|One of many rocky outcrops surrounded by purple heather on The Stiperstones.|
We use maps on all of our Site Working Information Cards (SWICs), which are site specific risk assessments. The maps help direct people to the site, identify key hazards and hold important emergency information. The tutor team, including our associate tutors, carry copies of relevant SWICs when we are offsite. You can find many of them via the following link: http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/prestonmontford/learn/schools/info-for-teachers/our-risk-assessments.aspx.
Finally, we use maps on our days off too. Many of the FSC Preston Montford team enjoy walking in their free time, two of our tutors have separately completed long distance walks in the last 18 months– the Jurassic Coast and the West Highland Way. One of us is an orienteering competition participant, one seeks out new places to wild camp, several of us have undergone Mountain Leader or Hill & Moorland training and a few of us enjoy recycling old maps into decorations. Collectively we have a great deal of map reading knowledge but we always seek to improve and keep our skills fresh.
|Decoration created by Angela Munn.|
To find out more about how you can improve your own map reading skills explore the following link: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/guides/map-reading-week/
All images, with the exception of the Stiperstones Stomp route card - Part 1 of 4, were taken by Charlotte Timerick.