Close this search box.

Idea 17 Rivers fieldwork: Collecting and displaying results

Rivers fieldwork Collecting and displaying results

This project idea was contributed by Mark Bamford

Exam Board Components that this project links with
AQA A Unit 1, Section B: Water on the Land
Edexcel A Unit 1, Section A: Geographical Skills
Unit 2, Section A: River Landscapes
Edexcel B Unit 1, Section B: River Processes and Pressures
OCR B Theme 1: Rivers and Coasts


As well as being a requirement in all the new GCSE specifications, the experience of both human and physical fieldwork is crucial when studying geography, as it helps to deepen geographical knowledge and understanding, not to mention that students really enjoy it. It is imperative that the interest created on fieldwork is maintained when the students enter the classroom again to analyse their results. Creative use of ICT can help identify trends and promote learning and it is hoped that this example enables you to implement some of the ideas in your departments.

This project idea is provided to help with the development of fieldwork based on rivers though the techniques of data display described can be applied to other topics too. This project idea does not take you through the actual fieldwork process itself and there are links to sites that can offer guidance on this in the Links section below.

The example is separated into the following sections:

  1. Preparation
  2. Data Collection
  3. Data Display

Each section is further divided into sub-sections based on the level of teacher ICT confidence, ranging from simple Excel use to the use of GIS using the AEGIS 3 package.

Key Objectives

  • To be able to use Microsoft Excel to log data in the field
  • To be able to use Microsoft Excel to create graphs
  • To be able to display data linked to a map- with the ultimate goal to create their own GIS maps in AEGIS 3


For those starting out with ICT: Create a recording sheet for the students or use the ready prepared blank recording sheet below. The Power’s Scale is used to calculate pebble roundness, clinometers & ranging poles are used to measure the slope angle, and velocities are calculated either using an orange/10 metre tape measure, flow meter or a digital flow meter (preferable).

For those with more advanced ICT skills: As above, but the Excel worksheets for the sites would be prepared in advance as they would be completed on a laptop during the day of the trip by reliable students. The results could be shared on the journey between sites.

Below are also two Excel files that show example data from a fieldwork trip carried out on the River Meon in Hampshire.

Download: Blank recording sheet (Word, 128K)

Download: Example Fieldwork Data (Excel, 128K)

Download: Example Master data (Excel, 18K)

Data Collection

Once data has been collected in the field it then needs to be transferred to an Excel file. The following guide shows you how to do this.

Download: Data Collection (PDF, 1.26M)

Data Display

The next step is for students to display the results. Those starting out with ICT could concentrate on producing simple graphs with Microsoft Excel. Those more confident ICT users should have a go at using Aegis 3 or similar GIS software to display their results on a map. The following two PDFs take you step by step through these processes. The second PDF also contains an example of plotting a map with Microsoft Word, for those who do not have access to a GIS.

Download: Displaying Results: Simple Excel graphs (PDF, 3.75M)

Download: Displaying Results: Mapping results with Aegis 3 or Microsoft Word (PDF, 746K)


For more about river fieldwork visit:

The Geography Site
Juicy Geography

Become a member

GA membership provides specialist support and expert advice for geography teaching

Geography Quality Marks

Register for the 2025 Quality Mark before 31 July and receive a 20% discount off your fee

National Festival of Fieldwork 2024

The GA encourages everyone to take part in June 2024