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Engagement with the world is key aspect of studying geography. In situations where fieldwork is not possible, other forms of experiential learning can provide enriching learning experiences for students.

The following list of online resources to aid virtual fieldwork is dynamic. If you know of other resources you think we should be sharing, we’d be happy to hear from you at

The Society does not accept responsibility for the content of the external sites. Inclusion on this list does not equate to an endorsement of any content or organisation. Please contact the external site for questions regarding individual resources.


Simulated environments and virtual reality

Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment (InVEnTA)

University of Exeter (UK)

InVEnTA uses geospatial and visualisation technology to create and explore immersive free-roaming interactive virtual environments. 3D data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), kite-based photography, handheld cameras (for smaller areas) or existing online spatial datasets can form the basis for interactive, immersive virtual representations of real-world environments for teaching and learning. Educational content in the form of text, photos, sound, and videos can be easily embedded within the environment, to suit the learning objectives.

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VR Glaciers and Glaciated Landscapes

University of Worcester, Quaternary Research Association and British Society for Geomorphology (UK)

Walk through high-quality 360° images of 13 glacial landscapes, including the Lake District, the Swiss Alps and California. Includes worksheets, maps and virtual ‘tours’ to aid interpretation.

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Virtual Field Trips

Arizona State University (USA)

Immersive environments with embedded videos, photos and information from a wide selection of field environments around the world.

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Valen's Reef (360° Video)

Conservation International (USA)

An interactive 360° video of the remote Bird's Head seascape in remote Indonesia. The commentary includes information about the extensive conservation work in the area.

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Under the Canopy (360° Video)

Conservation International (USA)

An interactive 360° video of the Amazon rainforest. Can be viewed on-screen or using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset.

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NORCE Norwegian Research Centre (Norway)

A 3D viewer for models produced using LIDAR or photogrammetric data. Prof John Howell (University of Aberdeen, UK) has produced a video tutorial which you can watch here.

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Virtual Fieldwork 360° Videos

Thomas E.L. Smith, London School of Economics (UK)

High resolution 360° videos focussing on deforestation, wildfires and other environmental issues in South East Asia. Some videos include 'mini lectures'.

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Julien Mordret (France)

Over 900 high resolution, 360° panoramas of locations across the world.

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Game-based tools

Virtual Landscapes

University of Leeds (UK)

This site operates like a first-person ‘walk-through’ game with field instructions. These virtual environments are also complimented by 3D-draped geological and topographic maps.

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People in Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWI)

Iowa State University (USA)

A free-to-access digital game-based learning tool, including a Teacher's Guide.

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Stop Disasters!

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Game exploring disaster scenarios and the effects of different management techniques.

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Ready-made online field courses, guides and resource collections

Paleontological Research Institution (USA)

Includes ‘teacher-friendly guides’ to landscapes across the US, as well as a database of virtual field resources across North America and Greenland.

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Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources

VSSLR Group (Canada)

A collection of open access online resources from North American universities for soil science teaching.

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DIG into Datasets

Data Incubator Group (USA)

Ready-made teaching units based on ecological data previously collected in the field.

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Resources for conservation educators

American Museum of Natural History (USA)

Open access teaching modules for conservation and biodiversity.

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Advice on Covid-19 and undertaking field surveys

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (UK)

Advice on field survey during the Covid-19 pandemic, published 20th March 2020. Please note, restrictions vary by location and may have changed since publication.

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Enhancing Fieldwork Learning resources

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning (UK)

A growing online repository of resources from the collaborative project.

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Designing Remote Field Experiences

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (USA)

Includes resources, webinars, videos and examples from US universities.

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A (self-confessed) Beginners Guide to Running a Virtual Field Trip

Seds Online (UK)

A recorded webinar providing an overview of things to consider when running a virtual field trip.

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Virtual Palaeoscience (ViPs) project

Quaternary Research Association (UK)

A growing collection of online teaching resources.

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Open access field data sources

WildCam Gorongosa

Zooniverse (USA)

Allows interrogation of data from camera traps in Gorongosa National Mark, Mozambique.

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Global Mangrove Data Portal

Global Mangrove Alliance

Open access data and interactive maps of mangrove environments.

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Examples of virtual field courses

Crete: Society, Economy and the Environment

University of Reading (UK)

An Esri ArcGIS StoryMap is used to present a full virtual field course, including learning outcomes, assessments, data collection training (including Google Street View) and activities.

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Petroleum Geoscience in the Pyrenees

Imperial College London (UK)

Using Microsoft Teams, photographs, Google Earth and drone-scanned virtual models of geological formations.

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Ecology and Evolution: Virtual Biodiversity

Imperial College London (UK)

Involves collecting birdsong data at or near home, then mapping the results.

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Virtual Tanzania Field Class

University of Sheffield (UK)

Details of an International Development programme moving a cancelled trip to Tanzania online.

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Marston Marshes - Esri Story Map

University of East Anglia (UK)

A virtual geography field trip considering various aspects of the landscape of Marston Marshes, Norfolk, using an Esri Story Map.

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A Local Alternative to Field Courses

University of Edinburgh (UK)

Dan Swanton discusses perspectives on local fieldwork and traces his own development of a hybrid field course. 

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Virtual Fieldcourse at the Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld

University of Nottingham (UK)

Ian Conway explains how staff recorded field content in the Lake District for a cancelled first year fieldcourse.

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Rethinking my fieldwork during the COVID-19 pandemic

University of Nottingham (UK)

PhD student Leonardo Porcelloni explores how the pandemic has led to unavoidable changes to field practices.

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The Making of a Virtual Namibian Fieldcourse

University of Southampton (UK)

A film prodcued by geographers at the University of Southampton, explaining how the challenges of running a Namibian fieldcourse remotely were overcome.

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Relevant literature

Commentary on student use of large public datasets

Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (USA)

A paper on engaging undergraduate students in ecological investigations using large public datasets.

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Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic

Deborah Lupton, University of New South Wales (Australia)

A compilation of tools and resources for collection data, including online discussions, interviews and videos.

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Alternative ideas for fieldwork in 2020

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning (UK)

A curated collection of relevant Tweets on the topic.

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Featured image: Adrian Warren and Dae Sasitorn