Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Autumnwatch Special: Seal Diary

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Sunday 22nd April, 9pm BBC 2
1.4 million, 5.7% Audience Share

RadioTimes: An in-depth and extended review of cameraman Gordon Buchanan's trip to witness dramatic and spectacular scenes at Europe's largest seal colony on a remote Scottish island. Newborn seal pups are attended by devoted mothers and huge males fight for supremacy in the teeth of autumn storms.

Extreme Animals! on BBC1 & CBBC

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Stunning images from the BBC Natural History Unit are narrated by CBBC’s own Reggie Yates and Caroline Flack, Extreme Animals is a series of 10 shows which puts the kids in the position of editorial power! Featuring the weirdest, the cleverest, the most spectacular and of course the most disgusting! Which ones will get voted into the grand final – and who will be crowned the ultimate Extreme Animal? The first 9 programmes each present a different category of animals featuring 10 aspiring animal ‘contestants’. ALL are potential winners…. it’s up to the audience to decide.

Extreme Animals event will be stripped across two weeks commencing Monday 23rd April with the grand final on Friday May 4th. Programmes will be shown on BBC one at 16.30 - repeated the next day at 07.30 on the CBBC channel.

Children can vote for their favourite animal in each programme by text on 62222 or on the CBBC website then click on Extreme Animals. Full details will be given on each show and on the website. Voting lines will open after each programme is broadcast.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Cutting Edge: Meet the Foxes

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Channel 4, 9 - 10 pm
1.4 million, 6.1% Audience Share
Monday 16th April

RadioTimes: Though foxes are making their homes in towns and cities in increasing numbers, for them urban life can be nasty, brutish and short. Run over by cars, poisoned or shot by pest controllers, their average life span is 15 months, compared to the eight years they're more likely to enjoy in the country. This fascinating if occasionally irritatingly anthropomorphic film follows foxes who forage around the gardens of Lambeth, south London. It's described by Channel 4 as a "modern day fairy tale" so it's hard to know what's real, and what isn't, as the programme uses documentary footage of dozens of animals to piece together the "story" of a fictional family of foxes. Some householders leave out food and see the foxes almost as pets. Others, including one family that keeps hens, despise foxes as sneaky, deadly predators. "They're bastards, a bloody nuisance," says the hens' owner as he surveys yet another eviscerated bird. His neighbour, on the other hand, can't help a slight smile - the chickens are noisy and a fox has to eat. Disposing of foxes is a growing business. If they're lucky, two sweet old men who run a local fox sanctuary will get to them first and feed them swiss rolls. If they're not, then they could face pest controller Bruce Lindsay-Smith and his big gun. RT reviewer - Alison Graham

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Superstorm: This Sunday

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The first episode of Superstorm tx's this Sunday at 9pm on BBC1.

Set in the near future where global warming has led to ever more ferocious hurricanes, this exciting, factually-based drama follows a team of scientists as they embark on a project to investigate ways of diverting and weakening storms. In Episode 1, they are given clearance to fly into a small hurricane and seed it with silver iodide a technique first developed in the USA in 1960's in a government-funded project called Stormfury. However, a dreadful accident occurs just after the seeding takes place when the plane crashes, killing all on board.

The 3 part accompanying documentary 'The Science of Superstorm - The Taming of the Storm' follows straight after this at 10pm on BBC2.

This reveals the extraordinary history of hurricane modification through cloud seeding - the only proven form of weather control - and explores the future possibilities of controlling hurricanes as predicted by some of the world's leading scientists:

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Toki's Tale (from Big Cat Diary)

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Don’t forget to watch tonights Natural World- BBC 2 9pm!

TOKI'S TALE: Simon King returns with a new story about Toki the cheetah. Toki’s search for a new territory and a mate puts him in great danger, but if any cat has nine lives- its Toki!
All details and more information on the series- including exclusive preview clips are on the website:

My New Gadget: Geo-Tagged Photography

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I was so excited by a gadget that I recently bought that I wanted to let everyone know about it.
If your interested in the potential of using Geo-Tagged Photographs then please read on...

The gadget is a small GPS sync device (25pounds on ebay!) which allows me to geotag my photographs (taken on most digital cameras - I use a Cannon 350D) with GPS coordinates.

There are many other simple methods by which a photograph can be tagged (the longitude lattitude information entered into the images metadata) with the geographical location in which it was taken. You can even use your in-car GPS device to help you.

Navman have a range of in car navigation devices that include a digital camera. These generate geocoded photos that can be copied off the device, shared and used as navigation targets. Also see the NavPix Library a site for sharing geocoded photos:

Once they are tagged we can view photographs much more dynamically, and navigate them via maps online such as through mappr, or through an application like Google Earth. You can create and export a Google Earth KML file and share your photos and geo-tracks with other people using Google Earth.

See an excellent example from National Geographic where they represent features of the Zakouma National Park, such as elephant sitings or locations of camps.

Manually Geo-Tagging
(if you dont have a GPS device you can simply geo-tag your images using a combination of Picasa and Google Earth. From within Picasa you can select to manually geo-tag your photographs by pin-pointing the location on the Google Earth globe (not that specific if your in some of the more uncharted and remote areas). Current online photomaps are general and consist mostly of people’s random holiday snaps.

What cool things could I do with this...
There are many ways you could use Geo-tagging from help during production (i.e. revisiting exact locations) all the way through to new and interesting ways of delivering content to an audience. I've drafted a few of my ideas below, the best ones i'm keeping for future development, but I would encourage everyone to experiment with new gadgets and try doing more with GPS than just plotting your car journey.

- Paul Williams

We could build a user-generated photographic map of British Natural History. The interface would allow the user to filter the images he is interested in, peeling away layers of images, to show a a bird watchers photo map, a geological map, a habitat map... the list is endless and all created from User-Generated-Photographs.

Track an Adventure
* Create a GPS photo-diary of an adventure, more dynamic and exciting than a regular blog
* The exact route of an expedition or filming trip could be tracked and uploaded to the map.
* The audience can see the trail that the crew followed and the exact spot on earth where the crew took photographs. This can also be linked to daily diary entries and even video clips.

Geological Photo-Map
As a Geologist one of my first thoughts was to create a Geographically accurate Photographic Map of the Geology of Britain - to show people where the best sites are - a geo-accurate photographic field guide! Quite a step on from the original 19th Century William Smith Map.
This would tie in really well with an online field guide map (something iv'e already been working on by plotting my field visits on a Google Maps

Because geological exposures change very little the images on this map would correlate very well with what could be observed in the field.

Orangutan Diary

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BBC 1, 7 - 7:30pm, Mon 2nd April 2007
3.2 million, 17% Audience Share

RadioTimes: Michaela Strachan and Steve Leonard present a series featuring orphaned and rescued orangutans in Borneo. Steve heads up river where he rescues a tiny orangutan being kept illegally as a pet. Back at the rescue centre she's named Ellie and takes her place alongside the other orphans. Michaela visits the forest school where the young orangutans are trained in climbing, feeding and socialising. Steve attempts to rescue an adult orangutan from a fragment of forest destined for destruction.