Perspectives from EGU GA 2011 (6)

This year on the EGU General Assembly blog there will be guest posts from participants about their research and their impressions of sessions. These are personal points of view not EGU corporate views. If you would like to contribute a research or session viewpoint, please email us.

This perspective from the European Geosciences Union General Asembly 2011 is from Thomas Smith about how to maximise your poster presentation. Thomas’ research was presented in NH7.2/AS4.14/BG2.17 Fire in the Earth System: Impacts and Feedbacks.


In a world of multi-touch interfaces, e-readers, and televisions the size of cinema screens, it is not hard to imagine the day when the poster boards at the EGU general assembly are replaced by large, interactive devices, automatically downloading their designated poster for each day from “the cloud”. In the mean time, I decided that I would compliment my paper poster with an online interactive poster (iPoster!).

With three days until my poster presentation in the session on ‘Fire in the Earth System: Impacts and Feedbacks’, I was offered the opportunity to present my poster as a summary in the oral programme of the session. Whilst struggling to summarise my poster in four Powerpoint slides, it occurred to me that it would be much better to simply exhibit the poster as a Prezi, a navigable, zoomable, interactive poster, complete with photo and video galleries. Not only did this go down well in the poster summary, but it also proved useful when describing my research in the poster session itself. If you have a poster presentation, but feel that animations or videos are important to communicate your research, this is a very good way of integrating the audiovisuals with your poster.

No doubt, many of you savvy EGU blog readers are familiar with ‘Prezi’, one of the rising stars in alternatives to the linear presentation style prescribed by the likes of Powerpoint. If not, then you should at least take a look (Prezi Homepage). Prezi is difficult to describe without demonstration, although I shall try. Imagine a Google Earth for your presentation slides; you can begin with an overview contained in the field of view of your audience, before moving into sections, but always within the context of the initial overview; Prezi allows you to customise a route through your text, images and videos, using flashy animation (like moving from location to location in Google Earth) to navigate and zoom around the information you wish to disseminate. As with all developing web-based tools, there are a few issues, particularly with the narrow range of supported video formats, limited text formatting tools and some issues with image scaling (it’s best to convert your images to pdfs). Prezi is free for educational use, however, and the reaction from your audience will be worth that exploratory effort.

So whilst we are stuck with our temperamental printers, unruly paper, and comical dancing acts in front of our poster boards for now, at least it is possible to point to an animated version of the poster on a laptop or tablet screen. How long will it be before iPosters take that step from sidekick on the pedestal to the main board?

My interactive poster can be viewed online.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>