The World Cup in VR!

You might have noticed that we love virtual reality (VR for short). We also love football (you have to if you want to lead Scunthorpe United to the Champion’s League on Football Manager). As you’d expect then, we are very excited about the news that the BBC will be showing games from the 2018 World Cup in VR.

The easiest way to do this is using your smartphone and downloading the BBC’s App. You turn your phone into a VR headset using a Cardboard-style device. We have given away hundreds of these during events, including given one to every delegate at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the British Society for Geomorphology, so now is the time to dig it out.


Image by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

If you don’t have one you can pick them up for a few pound on line – just search Cardboard VR headset and shop around.

With the World Cup still a little while off, why not try some of the 360 videos on our YouTube channel, including our new tour of the Humber (remember to view via the YouTube App on smartphones and tablets!).

SeriousGeoGames at #FloodandCoast18 @FloodandCoast

This last week we’ve been at the Flood and Coast Conference in Telford, supporting an exhibit by the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute (EEI). Convened by the Environment Agency, Flood and Coast brings together all the people who are working on reducing the flood risk around the UK, and helping to make people better prepared and more resilient when sadly it does happen.

The EEI exhibit was showcasing its range of research and investments, in particular around flood risk and environmental resilience. Flash Flood! was used as part of the exhibit and proved very popular, and we also took along our 360 camera. Take a look at our highlights below.

Chris Skinner takes a tour of the exhibit hall –

What is it like to be a Lego person in Atkin’s Lego flood town, part of the Emvironment Agency stand –

Chris Skinner demonstrated Flash Flood! to Clare Moriarty, CB, Permanent Secretary to DEFRA

Pics by Flo Halstead

If you want to relive Flash Flood!, try our 360 YouTube video –

See you at our next event!


Games at #EGU18

The European Geoscience Union General Assembly, or EGU, is an annual meeting of geoscientists held in Vienna, Austria. At the 2017 meeting nearly 15,000 attended, with 5,000 talks and over 11,000 posters sharing the latest in scientific knowledge about our planet. The 2018 meeting promises to be extra special as it will feature the first ever, and totally unofficial (at the moment!), Geoscience Games Day on April 11th.

Want to see what the EGU is like? Check out our 360 Video Playlist.

It starts with a scientific programme, Games for Geoscience, highlighting the cutting-edge of games-based research in geoscience, with a session of talks and a session of posters. The Games Day concludes with a Geoscience Games Night, with an open invite to all attendees to bring their own games to share, or just come along to play someone else’s. The only rule is that they must have some link to geoscience, however tenuous.

We also have SeriousGeoGamers involved! Chris Skinner is convening the sessions, and Chloe Morris will be sharing her experiences with the SeriousGeoGames Lab with a poster presentation. We will also be trailing a very early version of our Flood-themed deck-builder game.

We are very excited! See you in Vienna or on #EGU18


Our 360 Tour of Hull for @BSG_Geomorph #BSG2017

Hello, and welcome to the latest news from the SeriousGeoGames Lab.

We’re really excited for September. First, we will be back at the Freedom Festival 2017! You can come and try our Virtual Reality games – TideBox and Flash Flood! – and learn about why flooding happens, and how changing climate and changing landscapes will increase the risk in the future. You can find us in the big inflatable cube on the C4Di carpark, Sat and Sun, 2nd and 3rd September.

Straight after we are running back to the University of Hull campus for the Annual Meeting of the British Society for Geomorphology, where we will be working with the Outreach Committee of the Society to showcase River-in-a-Box, an AR Sandbox, TideBox and Flash Flood! to the delegates. Chris Skinner will also be running a special advanced version of our Defend the City workshop, and sharing the latest discoveries from the Landscape Evolution Model Sensitivity Investigation Project (LEMSIP).

We can’t wait to welcome scientists from all over the UK (and the world) to our city of Hull. To help them find their way around, we made them a 360 video of some of the sights. As with all our 360 videos, these are best viewed on a Desktop PC, or on a mobile device via the YouTube App (otherwise it doesn’t work properly). Remember – look around.

We didn’t get it right all the time, and we put some of our outtakes in the video below.

We have more exciting news to share with you in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on this site, or our Twitter, to be the first to know.


#GuesstheData Answer – 13/07/2017

Fans of the work of Dr David Nash, Brighton University, UK, will love this piece of data. Particularly fans of his 1996 Earth Surface Processes and Landforms paper.

GTL 130717

The Hackness Hills image above was produced via a Hillshade on Ordnance Survey OS Terrain 5 Data downloaded from Digimap (OS Terrain 5 [ASC geospatial data], Scale 1:10000, Tiles: se99ne,se99nw,se99se,se99sw, Updated: 2 April 2017, Ordnance Survey (GB), Using: EDINA Digimap Ordnance Survey Service, <;, Downloaded: 2017-07-13 09:40:15.365).

It is, of course, the wonderful groundwater-sapping formed valleys of the Hackness Hills in North Yorkshire. Below is a view from Google Maps –

GTL 130717 sat

These valleys are unusual as they are formed by the emergence of groundwater to the surface, so erode in a headward direction. This results in them appearing much stubbier and wider, and much larger than the size of the river would suggest. They are quite similar in appearance to some channels on Mars, and are seen as a terrestrial analog for the Martian valleys.

The nearby Hole of Horcum, just to the west, is thought to be formed by the same processes, but looks quite different.

The view from the top of the Hole of Horum (left) and inside the Whisperdales, Hackness Hills (right), taken by @floodskinner

New Event – Hull City Council and RTPI Climate Change Conference

We are pleased to confirm our attendance at a joint conference held by Hull City Council and the Royal Town Planning Institute of Yorkshire, looking at Climate Change, Renewables and the Humber Energy Estuary, to be held on September 22nd 2016. Chris Skinner and Chloe Morris will be attending the conference, and exhibiting (2016 HEY Digital Award Finalist) Humber in a Box to the delegates.

You can book your place at the conference from this webpage.


Using our Oculus Virtual Reality headset, the delegates will be able to control the sea level in the Humber Estuary and simulate the impacts of future sea level rise on the tides, via the CAESAR-Lisflood environmental model incorporated in Humber in a Box. This is an actual research model used assess climate change impacts on landscapes.

Latest News – New Rift, Freedom Festival, BSG, Into the Blue, and Digital Awards

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for SeriousGeoGames. A few weeks ago we finally got hold of the brand new Oculus Rift and, thanks to the excellent BetaJester, we have Flash Flood! running in Virtual Reality – we’re biased, of course, but it is truly awesome!

The second bit of news is about your first chance to try it – we’re very happy to have been invited back to Hull’s premier arts and cultural festival, the Freedom Festival, as part of the University of Hull science exhibits in Queen’s Gardens. You will be able to try Flash Flood! VR during the day on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2016. There will be lots of other great exhibits, and speakers for Soapbox Science.


Chris demonstrating Humber in a Box at Freedom Festival 2015.

We immediately pack up the kit and get on a train to Plymouth for the annual meeting of the British Society for Geomorphology. Chris Skinner will be demonstrating the application and will also be presenting a talk on the science behind Flash Flood!.

Our next event will be the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) event, Into the Blue at the end of October. We’re really looking forward to this and will hopefully have several sets of kit running Flash Flood! underneath the wings of a Concorde – there will be numerous scientists from the Flash Flooding from Intense Rainfall project on hand to talk about their research (as well as the other 47 exhibits and tours of a research aircraft) – we will post more details soon!


#NERCIntoTheBlue – A Science Festival under the wings of Concorde!

Finally, but by no means least, we are very pleased to say we have been shortlisted for a Hull and East Yorkshire Digital Award in the Best Use of Technology within Education category. Chris Skinner, Chloe Morris and John van Rij have recorded a small piece for the awards ceremony and we hope to show you that in the near future.

Phew! I think you’re up to date now.


SeriousGeoGamer Chloe Morris (@chloemorris_13) wins Prize!

Chloe Morris, a PhD student at the University of Hull, recently presented her research at the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) University Funding Initiative (BUFI) Annual Science Festival. Held at Herriot-Watt University, Chloe’s poster ‘Modelling the Interations Between Coasts and Estuaries’ featured a demonstration of Humber in a Box, and she won the “Best Overall Poster” award and £200.

“I presented my project which focuses on the interactions between coast and estuarine environments and I used the Google Cardboards to show one of the numerical models that I am using to carry out my research” – Chloe Morris

The event aimed to bring together current BUFI students and provide them the opportunity to share their research with each other, staff from the BGS, researchers at Herriot-Watt University, and local sixth-form students.

Chloe’s research aims to couple two numerical models together to simulate interactions between the Humber Estuary and the Holderness Coast. This is important as erosion from the cliffs washes a lot of sediment into the Humber Estuary and this can cause changes to the shape and depth of the Estuary bed, potentially causing problems to things like shipping traffic. Using models like this, Chloe will be able to make predictions of how climate change might effect the Estuary in the future.

Chloe used the Humber in a Box demo and Google Cardboard headsets to demonstrate how numerical models work.

“It’s difficult to explain or show on a poster what a numerical model is or what it does, but the Google Cardboards were a really useful tool that helped me to explain my methods to a mixed audience” – Chloe Morris

Well done Chloe, we look forward to seeing more of your research in the future.

The Origins of TideBox (aka Humber in a Box)

You may know it as Humber in a Box but because we have big plans for the application we are changing the name to TideBox Beta. Whatever the name, TideBox has come from very humble beginnings.

Humber in a Box 1

VR view of TideBox Beta

It all began in the first couple of weeks of my first job after my thesis submission. I was working as a part-time Research Assistant for a project called Dynamic Humber, and my job was to use the CAESAR-Lisflood model to simulate long-term development of the Humber Estuary.

This was half a year before the storm surge of December 5th 2013 and flooding was not on the radar for the research programme – instead we were trying to crack modelling the sediment processes in the Estuary. The model is designed for rivers primarily, so needed to be adapted and tested for use in tidal conditions. I was continuing the work of Jorge Ramirez, and even now this work is ongoing with PhD candidate Chloe Morris leading the charge.

I was asked to present the Dynamic Humber project to the public at the Hull Science Showcase, the forerunner of the massively popular Hull Science Festival. I had no experience of science outreach at all, and only two weeks in the job – with the help of my colleague Sally Little (we were the Dynamic (Humber) Duo), we produced a poster and a short video detailing the programme. They were bad and a great example of how not to do public engagement.

Recently though, the “On This Day” feature on Facebook did trawl up a long forgotten memory for me – part of the video featured an ArcGIS fly through of the Humber Estuary data we were using for the model, including the Humber Bridge towers (very much not to scale). It took a few attempts to fly between the towers! I guess this was the initial inception of what would become Humber in a Box, and hopefully TideBox.

Thanks for reading,