In praise of something, for once

Before I get too stuck into a pattern of banging on about things I don’t like, here’s a word of praise for the British Geological Survey, and in particular for their wonderful iGeology app (part of the Open Geoscience project). If, like me, you eventually succumbed to marketing and acquired one of those modern “smart” telephones with a GPS and internet connection, this will allow you to stand on a randomly chosen chunk of landscape, fiddle with your phone for a minute or so while swearing under your breath, and emerge triumphant with an account of the local bedrock and superficial geology. The big advantage over a traditional geological map is the handy pop-up boxes that relieve one of the need for colour vision. Hours of fun for all the family, especially those who aren’t amateur geologists and are grateful for anything that might make the rest of us a little quieter when we’re out for a walk.

Oh, and I’d also like to praise their Climate Through Time poster (above; they’ll send you one for free plus £1.50 p&p), not so much for the climate-through-timefulness of it as because it gives a fantastic numpty’s guide to how the British Isles fits together and — crucially — when stuff got there: the sort of basic context one learns in one’s first geology class if one has the sense to study it at university, but the rest of us tend to pick up piecemeal. Ace.

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