More about our map-based learning activity; April 2019

INTRODUCTION: Links below point to Google Maps made with map-markers submitted by students during the Jan-April 2019 term in EOSC114, “Natural Hazards”. Students carry out a peer assessment of these submissions using UBC’s “ComPAIR” paired-decision making peer review system. Finally, short quizzes are made for each map, to encourage students to explore these maps made by their colleagues.

HOW IS THIS DONE? Students choose a hazardous event that has occurred (or might occur) that they or someone they know has experienced, or that they are simply interested in. They do a little research on the event focusing upon either natural processes, consequences to communities, forecasting or mitigation, and enter information using this form ( map1form-locked-2018w2 .) Then they submit their data within UBC’s learning management system (Canvas). The instructing team (usually a TA) downloads submissions, anonymizes them and builds the Google Map using a three-step spreadsheet plus Google Map workflow (takes about 20 minutes).

Currently, this process generates maps such as those linked below. Our next iteration will involve more interactive maps that we anticipate will be searchable, sortable, and generally more “explorable”.

  1. Map used for quiz1 in Winter 2018, based on information submitted by students in the fall term of 2018:
  2. Map 1, Winter 2019: Quiz about this map, taken by students at the start of the Map 2 assignment: Quiz_Map2a_Feb4-17.
  3. Map 2, Winter 2019:
  4. Map 3, Winter 2019:

Maps from students’ “miniproject” work

Here are seven maps generated from homework submitted for the eosc114 miniproject in fall 2017. These are the result of our first attempt at running a project-like activity for upwards of 450 students. Stay tuned – we’ll report on lessons we have learned, and plans for moving forward with a “better” exercise that will include both self-review and peer-review of each other’s efforts.

The seven maps generated can be seen here:

  1. First; “chose any event, anywhere in the world”.
  2. Earthquakes
  3. Volcanoes
  4. Landslides
  5. Storms
  6. Waves
  7.  Finally; pick a “favorite” event from previous entries and expand on that information a bit.

Student contributions: Beta version of a project

The new menu section “Resources” includes a page with the first global map generated by students in eosc114. The page outlines some ways of having fun exploring this map.

This is part one of a 6 part “mini-project”. The final part, towards end of term, will entail choosing one event from a previous short post and augmenting the information with “real” references and a short write-up emphasizing either “processes”, “consequences”, “forecasting”, or “mitigation”.

Students take an average of 32 minutes to generate their information, and the global map is generated in roughly 1/2 hour by …

  • downloading data from our learning management system,
  • anonymizing and translating results for input to a Google Fusion table with prepared information display formatting,
  • transferring as a KML format into a new Google “MyMap”,
  • making a few minor edits and formatting choices before “publishing” the map.

After refining this exercise and processing sequence, we will be adding a peer-review step. The plan is to have students assess the work of several of their colleagues, recommend adjustments (such as correcting lat/long errors, etc.), then resubmit their data before the final map is generated.

Our first result can be seen here.

First virtual field trip – Beta

The current “Virtual Tour” consists of 18 sites in the Vancouver region and along the Sea to Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler, and beyond.

Each site has it’s own page. As of Sept 18, 2017, resources on each page, and the organization or layout of the site is “germinal”. It’s very much a first draft, and will change as ideas emerge and difficulties arise.

Eventually I hope there will be more than just the one Sea to Sky “Virtual field trip”. There are plans in the works to include virtual versions of the Pacific Museum of the Earth’s hazards exhibits (via the PME website”, more interactive resources (gigpixel photos, interactive 360 panoramas, 360 panoramic videos, etc.) for the existing sites, and additional sites. Perhaps a virtual “hike” from Squamish, up to Efin lakes, the Opal Cone, and around the Ring Creek Lava flow. Or into the Black Tusk and Cinder Cone region of Garibaldi park. We’ll see.

There will also be student-generated global maps of hazardous events, with perspectives related to the natural processes causing them, methods and limitations of forecasting, consequences to life, property and the environment, and mitigation strategies. These are being piloted Fall 2017, and resources should become stable by summer 2018.

Please send suggestions, comments, corrections etc to

Starting EOAS hazards web resources

Welcome to this collection of web hosted, interactive facilities about natural hazards encountered in and around the Vancouver, BC.

A blog space has been chosen so future instructors, administrators and students can continue to improve these resources. Future posts will outline frameworks in use for creating these facilities. For example, any naturally occurring, potentially hazardous phenomenon or event can be studied in terms of any or all of these five aspects:

  1. Process underlying the phenomenon – or “how and why it works”.
  2. Forecasting or predicting timing, location and severity; current capabilities and limitations.
  3. Consequences: what the impact of the event or phenomenon will be on people, property or the environment.
  4. Mitigation, or how we can both minimize eventual consequences, and recover efficiently after the event.
  5. Inspiration – how learning about any of these phenomena can increase you knowledge of and appreciation for our wondrous planet.

Resources delivered in 2017 and 2018 will have been funded by a TLEF grant, with Sara Harris as PI and Francis Jones as principle author.

That’s will do for starters. More soon.