Wednesday, October 7, 2020

5 Digital Mapping Activities

On Monday I shared a couple of tutorials about measuring distances in Google Maps and Bing Maps. Yesterday, I shared a few resources for helping students understand map projections. This morning, I have some more tutorial videos that might help or inspire you to create digital mapping activities to use in your geography or history lessons. Here are five digital mapping activities you can do with elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Map Spreadsheet Data
The combination of Google Sheets and Google's My Maps tool makes it possible to quickly populate a map with information from a spreadsheet. I've done this to have students share research findings in a Google Form that then populates a Google Sheet that is then imported into Google's My Maps. Doing this eliminates the confusion that can occur when too many people try to edit the same map. Mapping spreadsheet data is also a good way for students to make correlations between information and its location in the world. Here's a short tutorial on how to map spreadsheet data. 

Create a Story Map
Storymap JS is a free tool that you can use to create a combination of a map and a timeline on the same page. This is a good way for students to make connections between historical events and their locations. Watch this short video to see how Storymap JS works. 

Label and or Color Maps in Google Jamboard
Google's Jamboard is a great tool that often gets overlooked in favor of other G Suite tools like Drawings and Slides. With Jamboard it is possible to insert a blank outline map then have students label or color it. Here's a demo of how that process works. 

Learn About Distance and Scale
Google Maps and Bing Maps both make it easy to measure the distance between two or more places. Just using the measuring tools can help some students get a better understanding of the size and scale of two or more locations. Try having your students guess at the size of two countries like the United States and China then have them measure to see how close they were. Tutorials on measuring in Google Maps and Bing Maps can be seen here

Compare Past and Present
In Google Earth there is some historical imagery available to view. You can also import historical maps found outside of Google Earth. Those historical maps that you import can then be overlaid on top of current map imagery. When you adjust the transparency of the imported map, you can make comparisons of historical maps and current map views. Here's an overview of how to import historic maps into Google Earth.