Pupils Take Part in Innovative British Cartography Society Workshop

Senior Co-Curricular

British Cartography Society Hosts Innovative Disaster Relief Mapping Workshop

In an effort to hone the skills of the future generation of cartographers and aid workers, the British Cartography Society (BCS) organised an interactive workshop for Churcher’s pupils titled "Restless Earth: Our Disaster Relief Mapping" on Tuesday 30 January 2024.

Led by seasoned experts Jennifer Johnston, Chris Barington-Brown, Pete Jones, and Stephen Dodds, the workshop aimed to simulate a real-life scenario faced by organisations during disaster relief efforts.

The workshop immersed students in the challenges faced during the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of 2011, encouraging them to step into the shoes of humanitarian aid, search and rescue, military, and medical aid teams.

The workshop kicked off with a 10-15 minute presentation providing background information on the 2011 disaster and a crash course in cartography. Following this, a short video delved into the events leading up to the disaster.

Students were then divided into teams, each assigned a specific role - coordinator, search and rescue, military, medical, and humanitarian. Tasked with creating two disaster relief maps, one large scale and the other small scale, students had 1.5 hours to collaborate and strategise.

The maps were then assessed based on cartographic design, accuracy, and group work. A winner was announced at the end of the workshop, with the national winners set to be revealed at the BCS Annual Conference.

The overarching aim was to challenge students to think on their feet, working collaboratively to produce maps that aid organisations such as MapAction, Shelter Box, and the United Nations could utilise during relief efforts.

The challenge was explained to the pupils as follows: "We want you to imagine that you are the advanced aid party and you have just arrived in Sendai. The maps that were available before the tsunami are not much use as they don’t show the current situation in Sendai. You have two base maps, with outline details on them, and we would like you to decide as a team what information you need to add, such as roads, the areas of damage, or where you are going to set up evacuation camps."

The winning teams from the workshop will be entered into the annual nationwide Restless Earth competition, judged by the BCS Awards Council for the Schools Annual Award.

The BCS hopes that this hands-on experience will not only cultivate the next generation of skilled cartographers but will also contribute to the improvement of disaster relief efforts globally.

Flickr album: Restless Earth Geography Workshop, January 2024 | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin


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Pupils Take Part in Innovative British Cartography Society Workshop