In the last two days while I was busy traveling and hiking in Alberta (hike pictures to come on Saturday) Google released two great updates to Google Maps.
On Tuesday Google released updates to the 3D buildings that can be viewed in Google Maps Streetview. Now you can see some famous landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and the White House, as 3D models in Google Maps. I've embedded the 3D model of the White House below.
View Larger Map
Yesterday, Google released new Streetview imagery for the Amazon. Now you can go on a virtual Streetview tour of the Amazon. Some the imagery is absolutely stunning. A video introduction is included below.
Applications for Education
The new imagery and 3D buildings could be a fantastic way for your students to explore all kinds of famous and interesting places around the globe. Whenever I teach a place-based lesson I like to have my students create simple stories using My Places in Google Maps. I've found that compared to using a basic paper map by exploring the imagery and pinning placemarks in Google Maps, my students have a greater recall of where things are and why they are important.
If you have never created a map in Google Maps, I have posted directions to get you started here.