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GeoparkWay

GeoparkWay provides an interactive guide to the route, geology and other points of interest. along the 109 mile Geopark Way trail running through the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark. The trail starts at Bridgnorth in Shropshire and ends at the Cathedral in Gloucester.

 

Each of the 17 sections of the trail can be loaded into the app as required. In addition, other walks within the Geopark will also be included shortly.

Map of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark

If you would like printable copies of the route map and geology map (as used in the app), for each of the 17 sections of the Geopark Way, then go here.

Key events in the geological history of the Geopark

Select walks from a list or map

Once downloaded each walk is accompanied by a large scale map of the route, giving details, such as, all stiles, gates, car parks, amenities, bus stops, sections of the path which may be muddy, or provide access difficulties, etc.

Each walk is illustrated with around 100 photographs of the route and interesting features, along with diagrams, and in some cases. audio and animation.

Each walk includes a large scale geology map with information about the underlying rocks, activated, by either touching the map or from the GPS of your location.

A geological time scale tracks the age of the rocks you are currently crossing, and when opened, provides a global view of conditions and major events on the Earth at the time those rocks were forming.

GeoparkWay - select walk from list in the aoo
Geopark Way - select walk from map in the app

Sample screens to illustrate how the app apears on a tablet  – iPad or Android. Using the app on a tablet is good way to explore some of the more detailed content and also provides a ‘virtual walk’ via the multitude of walk photographs.

NOTE: If you use the app on an iPad, you may not obtain location (GPS) inforrmation, as WiFi only iPad models do not have a GPS receiver. Such iPads will give a rough location, so long as they have a WiFi connection, but use them on one of the walks and they will show no location change! (This is not normally an issue with Andoid tablets). To give a WiFi only iPad access to GPS you can purchase a GPS receiver, that connects via bluetooth to the iPad. The accuracy of such a device can be around +- 2.5m, but they are not cheap.

Timescale and development of life in the Geopark Way app

 

Timeline

The timeline, normally visible on the right hand edge of the app, moves up and down based on the age of the rocks you are currently walking over, or have just touched on the currently displayed geology map. The timeline can be opened, via the button located top right, just below the top menu of the app.

Once opened you can sweep up and down the 4.6 billion years of Earth history – with a miniscule selection of possible events listed!

You can also open the view shown opposite, which illustrates when a selection of lifeforms came into existence, and in some cases became extinct. Note, for example, how during most of the planet’s history there was no grass or flowers.

More information about this timeline and the concept of ‘deep-time’ can be found here.

Selection of environments that possibily existed within the Geopark at various times during its 700 million year history.
These reconstructions appear at relevant locations in the Geopark Way walks in the app.

Buttons for opening palaeo-environments, ancient life and geography in the Geopark Way app

Whenever any of the three buttons, shown above, appear on the screen, then extra information is available.
The lefthand one opens a reconstruction of the environment at that time the rocks beneath were forming.
The middle button opens a panel featuring plants and animals from the time.
The righthand button opens a view of the geography of the world at the time.

All these images can be zoomed and moved around, in order to fully examine the information they contain.

When the camera icon appears, then a prehistoric creature is available on this part of the walk for you to photograph

When the camera icon appears, an animal or plant that lived when the rocks below formed, is available to be photographed.

The very first time you touch the camera icon, the app will ask your permission to access the camera on your device, then to access the photo library/gallery on your device. You need to grant the app both of these permissions to take the pictures.

Below, a few sample pictures, taken either on the Dudmaston to Highley walk or the Bridgnorth to Dudmaston walk.

The common and scientific names of the animal/plant, along with a scale indicator and a few key facts, are all added to the photo by the app.

Facilities of the camera tool in the Geopark Way app for creating images of lifeforms from the past overlain on your camera view.

Note the safe area in the camera view. Keep out of the red area if you don’t want some part of the creatures anatomy to be chopped off. The exact boundary of this zone varies slightly with the device you are using, so you may need to do a bit of trial and error.

If your photos do not show in the Gallery on Android, check the location where screen shots are stored on your device. iPhones and iPads save the pictures to Photos – so long as you enabled the permissions when requested. These can be enabled retrospectively through Settings, or by deleting, then reinstalling the app. Same applies to Android.

 

The fact that the app shows some creature when you are over the rocks of a certain age, does not mean that creature lived in the area of the Geopark at that time. What is meant, is that creature existed at least in some part of the world at that time. If we take the case of the giant dragonflies. Their existence in the late Carboniferous is known only from exquisitely preserved fossils found at one location in France and one specimen from Derbyshire. However, that does not mean they only lived at those locations. The issue is that the odds for a creature getting fossilised are very, very slim, especially a fragile lifeform like the dragonfly. So in all probability they lived much more widely than the very limited fossil locations might suggest.