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Idea 6 Mapping photographs

Mapping photographs

This project idea was contributed by Lisa Rabbetts

Exam Board Components that this project links with
AQA A Unit 2, Section A: Changing Urban Environments
Unit 3: Local Fieldwork Investigation
AQA B Unit 1, Section B: The Urban Environment
Unit 4: Local Investigation
Edexcel A Unit 1, Section A: Cartographic and ICT Skills
Unit 3, Section A: Settlement Change
Edexcel B Unit 2, Section A: Living Spaces
Unit 2, Section B: Changing Cities
OCR B Theme 2: Population and Settlement
WJEC B Theme 1: Challenge of Living in a Built Environment


It is important to be able to collect fieldwork data, present it and analyse it. With this example students take photos whilst out on fieldwork, then plot those photos on a map and analyse what the results show. The students are investigating whether Winchester fits Burgess’ model of urban land use. Once they have done this they are going to produce their own land use models for Winchester.

Key Geography Objectives

  • To collect fieldwork data
  • To present photos on a map
  • To analyse the photos collected and use them to generate a new land use model for Winchester.

Key ICT Objectives

  • To upload photos onto a photo sharing website
  • To be able to plot locations on Google Maps
  • To be able to plot photos on to Google Maps
  • To be able to draw shapes on to Google Maps

Planning the Activity

  • The photos could be taken by pupils themselves or they could be taken by the teacher.
  • Photos of fieldwork locations will be needed and saved on a web hosting site.
  • Pupils will all need to use computers with internet access.

Running the Activity

  • Introduction to the lesson will be a starter activity where the teacher makes a paper aeroplane and asks the pupils what the differences are between the model and a real aeroplane. This activity is done to get pupils to realise that models are smaller, simplified versions of real life.
  • Show pupils a copy of the Burgess model and explain that they are going to compare Winchester to Burgess’ model.
  • Pupils go to Google Maps. If they do not already have a Google account they need to create one which should only take a couple of minutes, they just need an email address and to make up a username and password.
  • Pupils follow the instructions as provided in the Word document below. In short, they will plot photos on to a map and then analyse it to see whether it fits with Burgess’ predictions
  • As an extension activity pupils could use the shape drawing feature to create their own land use model of Winchester.
  • Plenary could involve pupils showing the rest of the class their model and the class voting on which one was best and why.


The following download contains instructions for students on how to create their own land use maps on Google Maps.

Download: How to create your own land use map in Google Maps (PDF, 229k)


There is a presentation about The Burgess Model on SlideShare. There is an article about the Burgess model on Wikipedia.

For more detailed instructions on creating your own maps on Google Maps see the Google Maps User Guide. Also see the Everyday Geographies blog for a slideshow on using Google Maps.

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