New App sets kids on road to guerrilla photography

Posted By | On 29th, Jul. 2010 Under offbeat

Mission:Explore, an iphone app and website, created by one of the UK’s top design agencies in partnership with The Geography Collective, represents the perfect antidote for bored kids during the school holidays.

Comprising hundreds of location-based challenges, it is packed with wacky adventures and ways to discover the hidden geographies of London. But be warned, you will never see the city in the same way again!

Mission:Explore London includes over 1,000 location-specific missions for kids (aged 7 to 97) to complete in central London, as well as ones that can be done anywhere in the world. Based on the book Mission:Explore by The Geography Collective, each mission challenges kids to explore and experience London in new ways, but it can be used by people of all ages.

All Mission:Explore challenges are made and individually checked on foot by experienced explorers from The Geography Collective. Only reasonably safe adventures appear and a training section teaches explorers how to look after themselves before they set out.

Mission:Explore London has been supported by an Ordnance Survey GeoVation Award.

Daniel Raven-Ellison, of The Geography Collective, said: “Mission:Explore is about helping kids and families to get out exploring. You might be looking for a place to play or inspiration for something to do, or you might want to learn about the geography of a place.

“Mission:Explore helps to deliver on all of these things, but it goes deeper too. Scores of politicians, academics, charities and parents agree that children need to have more freedom to play outdoors.

“The Mission:Explore book, website and i-phone app tackle risk aversion head-on, talking directly to children and families, providing a cultural solution to a cultural problem. Exploration can increase learning, improve physical and mental health and address social and environmental issues. This is our contribution to promoting all these things.”

Example Missions

Each mission involves some research, an experiment, creating something artistic or travelling in an alternative way. Each mission includes a challenge, information on how geographical thinking can be used to tackle the challenge, tips and a risk assessment.

A location-specific mission in Trafalgar Square

Give the lions a health check

These lions are getting old. They have been here since 1868! Give them all a full health check. Which lion is most healthy?

A location-specific mission in Covent Garden

Look up

Stand in different parts of Covent Garden and look up. What’s the greatest number of people that you can get looking up at any one time?

An Anywhere Mission

Go on an urban safari

Get on a bus and go on a wildlife safari in the urban jungle. Photograph any animals you see. They can be real, named or imagined.

Any Anywhere Mission

Find evidence of topocide

Go somewhere you like. What is threatening to kill this place? Take photographic evidence and submit it to your local authorities.

To view more missions visit the test site at Currently you will only see a few missions on the site but there will be over 1,000 at launch. Most of these missions will be in playable places such as public parks, open spaces and gardens. We plan to have a mission in every square kilometre of Greater London by the Olympics.

Mission Explorers will find guest missions by well known explorers too, including Jake Meyer, the youngest Briton to climb Everest, and Sarah Outen, the first woman and youngest person to row across the Indian Ocean.

All royalties from the Mission:Explore book are invested in free copies for children who cannot afford their own. Copies have already been distributed by the Play Association Tower Hamlets and RoSPA. Mission:Explore is supported by the CSEC (Child Safety Education Coalition) of which it is a part. Published by Can of Worms Kids Press the book is available nationwide.

“Mission:Explore is splendid — great fun, and a lovely way to get children out into their environment and using their brains.” Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood

For more quotes on the Mission:Explore book visit

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