How it started
We always knew we wanted to create a comic book for the industry and so in 2019, we set out to find ourselves the perfect writer for the job. We just so happened across Mat, our brilliant writer, teacher, and friend. Mat Sullivan not only writes children’s novels but also writes curricula for teachers and is in fact a teacher himself in Manchester, England. Elly first presented Mat with the idea for the comic describing this future world, a world without surveyors; “I didn’t just want a story about surveyors and their jobs, I wanted a bit of a shock factor. We tend not to make change happen until we are faced with a disaster of sorts, and so if I could show this future world of despair, perhaps then people would really see how important surveyors and the geospatial industry is, and maybe just maybe start creating change for our future generation”. Mat took this idea and created what you know now as the Geo Squad comic book. If you haven’t read it yet, take a sneak peek at the first chapter here.
So, where’s it heading?
As some keen readers will know, the first three chapters were published in Point of Beginning and Civil Engineering Surveying Magazines. We also published the first chapter in the Nevada Traverse, CAL Surveyor, and Florida Surveyor Magazine as well as National Geographic Kids UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
We are saving the final two chapters for our comic book release on May 17th, 2021.
Let’s set the scene…
‘It’s Careers Day at West Park High School. Four friends stand in the sports hall, surrounded on all sides by stalls promoting some of the worst, most tedious, most brain-achingly boring jobs it’s possible for a human being to endure. The more of these stalls that the gang passes, the further their faces fall. Is this really what grown-up life has in store for them? Maddison Williams does not want to manage middle managers for a living; she’d much rather be a glacier-surfing, base-jumping shark wrangler! Setsuko Tanaka is on the lookout for the extra-terrestrial bio-science stand, but all she can find is someone advertising a job in human resources; a man so bored with his own life that he is sleeping at his table, open-mouthed and catching flies. Kwame Orumo wants to be an extreme archaeologist, and Miles Darwood has his sights set on the drone racing leagues, but all the foursome can see are paths to lives behind beige desks, wearing beige pants, drinking beige tea…
…That is, until they spot something strange in the corner of the hall: a table, unmanned, with no signs and no information, upon which lies four strange-looking headsets and nothing more. Intrigued, the friends approach, lifting up and inspecting these out-of-place objects. The gloomy guy on the Photocopier Technician stand informs the group that people have been trying the headsets all day, and they don’t work. But, just as he starts to talk to them about the most boring job on Earth, the headsets suddenly flash into life. As the gang inspects the visors, turning them over in their hands and peering inside, they begin to wonder why these strange pieces of tech would start working now, just as they picked them up. Wonder soon turns to intrigue; intrigue becomes an irresistible curiosity, and before you know it, all four are wearing mysterious headsets.
What they see shocks them more than the science skeleton sat at the GymClean Sweat Removal company stand. They see Middletown, their town, thirty years into the future – and it’s an awful sight to behold. Derelict towers collapse onto each other like drunken dominos. Cracked and twisted roads weave dangerously over, around, and even through crumbling buildings. Giant cracks and cavernous craters in the concrete streets threaten to swallow civilians whole, and the churning red sky above is filled with thick, choking smog.
This must be a figment of someone’s twisted imagination, right? The gang convinces themselves that the awful images they are seeing can’t be real… until a strange, cloaked figure suddenly appears to tell them that what they are seeing is no one’s imagined atrocity; it is real.
It is their future…’
Chapter 1 can be accessed online here!
What’s special about our comic book?
The comic revolves around a group of school kids turned super-surveyors called the GeoSquad. We wanted to highlight the importance of surveyors, so what better way than showing what a world would be like WITHOUT them in it!?! This way GeoSquad go on multiple adventures applying themselves to different roles in order to save their city. Surveyors are the heroes of our story with all different types and jobs demonstrated.
Have a read to find out more when it gets published in May. Sign up to our newsletter for updates
How can you get involved?
We require sponsors of Activity Pages for the Comic Book. We currently have a few spaces remaining, please see if any of these activities take your fancy. Or design your own game:
- Find the Difference
Using sections of the exploration posters, subtly altered, would encourage children to take a close reading of the posters and to really look at all the action and activity that is going
- Totally True or Fully False!
Here, sponsor representatives in cartoon form would present their craziest stories from survey sites. Some would be true, some might be partly true but with a key detail dramatically altered, and some might be completely made up! This would be a good way to drive traffic back to the website, as the true/false reveals and the real stories could be hosted there, perhaps with links to appropriate coverage of the unbelievable finds/events covered in the true stories.
- Word Search and Cryptic Clue Challenge
A traditional word search with a twist! The found words would stack up horizontally, one below the other, and one vertical line of characters from each word would spell out a special word – perhaps a password that allows the reader access to a protected page on the website where a special surveyor Easter egg (an electronic special treat!) could be found. There would also be a glossary for the found words that would help young readers to better understand key geospatial terms.
- Massive Measures
This page would comprise a multiple choice quiz based on heights, lengths, depths, and other measures taken during extreme survey missions. The focus here would be on the wow factor in each example, showing how surveyors work at extremes, how vast the measurements that they take can be, and how they work all over the world, in all environments and conditions.
- Mega Machines
On one side of this page would be a vertical row of images of survey vehicles/robots, and on the other side would be another vertical row of images of extreme/hazardous locations. They would all be mixed up, and the Last Surveyor would present the reader with the challenge to link the correct robot or vehicle with the setting in which it would be used. For example, a robotic serpent would be linked to an underwater setting; a drone would be used to survey the damage caused by forest fires, etc.
Keep an eye out for GeoSquads Character Profile blogs coming over the next few weeks. Learn more about the main stars of the comic, their likes, dislikes, and a small introductory biography…
More about our Comic:
The Origins of the GeoSquad by Mathew Sullivan
The Continuing Adventures of the GeoSquad by Mathew Sullivan