Showing posts with label Google Maps for Educators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Maps for Educators. Show all posts

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Use Google Maps Engine Lite - A Short Video Tutorial

Google Maps was updated earlier this year (if you're logged in with a Google Apps for Education account you may still the old version). The update was more than just a facelift for the browsing and search experience. The update included a switch to Maps Engine Lite for people who want to make their own maps. While you can still use the old version if you want to (open the settings menu and select "classic" maps) it is probably just a matter of time until everyone has to use Maps Engine Lite to create maps on Google Maps.

Creating maps through the new Maps Engine Lite is a different process than the process used for creating maps in "classic" Google Maps. If you want to try your hand at creating a map with Maps Engine Lite, Bradley Lands has put together a nice tutorial to help you get started. That tutorial is embedded in the video below.

Maps Engine Lite allows you to go beyond manually adding placemarks to your Google Maps by uploading a spreadsheet of locations that will be displayed on your map. You can import up to three spreadsheets per map. You can also draw custom lines and shapes on your maps. Like any other Google Map you can invite others to collaborate with you. You can share your map by embedding it into a website. Google Earth Outreach offers a detailed tutorial on how to use the new Maps Engine Lite.

Applications for Education
Maps Engine Lite could be a great tool to use to introduce students to using GIS to interpret data and make decisions based on that data. Here's one way that I might use Maps Engine Lite with students in my area. I could create data sets about ice thickness on a set of area ponds, create a data set about average weekly high temperatures in those areas, import that data into the map and ask students to make predictions as to when the ponds will be ice-free.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Short Guide to Google Maps for Educators

In the last month or so I have had a lot of requests to share my short guide to Google Maps for Educators. Since I originally published the guide a couple of things have changed in Google Maps. Therefore, I have updated the guide and I'm republishing it now.

In this guide you'll find directions for using the measurement tools in Google Maps, directions for creating your own maps, directions for sharing maps, and links to additional resources about using Google Maps in education.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Google Maps Indoor Floor Plans On Your Desktop

In September Google added 10,000 indoor maps to Google Maps for Android. This week Google added those same indoor maps to the Google Maps that you use on your desktop. To view the indoor maps select a building and zoom in until the floor plan appears.  Click here for the list of all of the places for which Google Maps has indoor floor plans.

Applications for Education
The Google Maps indoor maps are not Street View maps, but they could still be useful for some teachers and students. You could use the indoor maps for field trip planning. The indoor maps could also be useful if you have your students writing travel narratives about places that they haven't been to. For example, a few years back one of my colleagues and I had students write fictitious travel narratives about places that they had studied during our geography unit. Students had to research places in a city and write a short narrative about visiting those places. The indoor floor plans could provide students with some more details to add to those narratives.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Google Maps and Common Core

This week I had the opportunity to introduce some teachers to using Google Maps for more than just looking up directions. I was asked to address Common Core standards as a part of the workshop. These are some of the Common Core standards that I think you can address through the use of Google Maps.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures and understand concepts of area measurement.

View 27 Measures Activities in Madrid in a larger map

Friday, October 26, 2012

New and Better Views of Natural Geography on Google Maps

Today, Google released new visual improvements to the base maps in Google Maps. The improvements include new representations of terrain, vegetation, and land formations. The new base layer reminds me quite a bit of what you would typically find in a flat wall map. It also reminded me of the base layer in the National Geographic Map Maker.

Applications for Education
For a couple of years now you have been able to use "Earth view" in Google Maps. The Earth view provides a great look at the physical geography of the Earth, but running the Google Earth plug-in can be quite CPU intensive on some computers and if your school doesn't allow you to install plug-ins that view is inaccessible to you. Today, Google took a step toward resolving those issues.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Best of the Summer - Map Creation Tools

For the next few days my schedule is packed with travel and two conferences. At the same time, historically this week is when many readers return to the blog after taking a break during the summer. Therefore, for the next couple of days I'll be re-running the most popular posts since June 1st, 2012. 

Animaps is a service that was built for the purpose of allowing users to create animated Google Maps. The basics of creating maps in Animaps is very similar the process for creating maps in Google Maps. The main benefit of using Animaps over Google Maps is that you can create a tour of your placemarks that plays through according to the timing that you specify. Another benefit is that you can build in colored shapes to expand and contract to demonstrate patterns. You can also import images to your map from Flickr, Picassa, and Facebook. Click here to watch a demonstration of Animaps in action. You do not need a Google Account to use Animaps, you can register on the site or use Facebook credentials to log-in.

Tripline is a service designed to enable anyone to record a trip they've taken or to plan a trip itinerary. What Tripline is really intended to do is to give you a platform to "present" your trips to others. To do this Tripline allows you to add details to each stop on your itinerary, add images, and add music to the presentation of your trip. When completed your map essentially becomes a slideshow tour. There are a few different ways that you can create trip on Tripline. You can use your mobile device to check-in at different locations and have Tripline plot those points for you. You can do that using Foursquare or by geolocating your Tweets. The other way that you can create trips on Tripline is to plot them directly on the Tripline site.

Build A Map is a service that allows you to build layers on top of Google Maps. This is different than creating maps in the "My Places" feature of Google Maps. In My Places you can only add placemarks, paths, and shaded shapes. Using Build A Map you can add information from data sets, add shapes, and add custom labels. The service is currently in a private beta so you do have to register your email address and wait for an invitation to try it out. In the meantime you can watch the following video overview of the service.

Scribble Maps is a fun and useful application for drawing and typing on Google Maps. Using Scribble Maps anyone can draw and type on a map. All of the zoom options and most of the search options available on Google Maps are available when using Scribble Maps. You can zoom in on an area and then type text, draw a circle or a box around an area, you can even doodle stick figures or whatever you like on your map. Maps created by using Scribble Maps can be shared via email or embedded into your website. Scribble Maps Pro (an upgrade that requires a payment) allows you to import KML files, import spreadsheets, and import SHP files. Importing KML files allows you to add free-hand drawings on top of files that you may have already created for Google Maps or Google Earth. Importing spreadsheets makes it easy to quickly add placemarks to a large number of places. SHP file importation allows you to add custom shapes to your maps.

Quikmaps is a nice map creation tool that allows you to quickly draw, type, and insert icons on a Google Map without requiring you to have a Google Account. You can register directly on the site itself. Quikmaps is similar to Scribble Maps. Placing icons on Quikmaps is a simple matter of dragging and dropping elements. Maps can be shared via email or embedded into your blog or website.

UMapper is a custom map creation tool that allows you to create maps from just about any JPG, PNG, or GIF file. Using UMapper is a simple process of uploading an image and selecting a map service (Google, Yahoo, Bing) as the basis for the map. The finished maps can be embedded into your blog or website. UMapper also offers a platform for creating your own geography game. UMapper GeoDart is a simple game in which players have to locate the places the you specify.

Historypin allows anyone with a Google account to place images within the setting of current Google Maps Streetview imagery. If you don't have images to add, you can simply explore the imagery added by others. To explore the imagery on Historypin, zoom in on a location then select a range of dates on the Historypin timeline.

Mapfaire is a free tool for quickly creating maps that contain simple placemarks. Using Mapfaire you can create a custom map that highlights places you specify. To use Mapfaire just sign in with your Google Account then name your map and start adding placemarks. To add a placemark all you need to do is enter a location then label your placemark. You can publish and edit your maps at any time.

QuizGeo is a site that hosts geography quizzes built on the Google Maps platform. On QuizGeo you can browse and play pre-made geography quizzes or create your own quizzes. All of the quizzes operate in the same fashion of presenting you with a place name and requiring you to click on that place on a map before time expires. To create your own games you need to register on QuizGeo. After registering, creating your quiz is easy to do. To create a quiz just name it, click submit, then click "add questions." To add questions just enter a place or address in the search box then outline that place using the pointer provided and click "save question." You can add as many places to your quiz as you like.

Target Map is a service that allows anyone to create mapped displays of data sets. Users of Target Map can importa and map their own data sets, use data sets from other users, use data sets found online, or manually input data onto a map. When I created my sample map, I choose to manually input data. Target Map allows you to map data for a country, a region, or for the whole world. You can customize the display to make borders appear faint or bold and alter the look of data points. Although at first glance Target Map's user interface might not appear to be terribly intuitive, it is actually quite easy to use if you follow the directions. Target Map is free to use if you agree to publish your maps to the public gallery. If you want to keep your maps private you can do so for a small fee. The first time you create a map on Target Map it is reviewed for quality before it is added to the public gallery.

World Map is a free program developed by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University. World Map is designed to enable creation, visualization, and exploration of geographically referenced information. In other words, you can build some great mapped data visualizations on the service. To create a map on World Map you can use the more than 1800 data sets that are stored in the service or you can upload your own data sets. The majority of the data sets in the World Map library have abstracts explaining a bit about the purpose and scope of the data. There are five default base maps that you can choose to build upon. Alternatively, you can choose to create your map completely from scratch and upload your own base layer to build upon. Maps that you create on World Map can be embedded into a website, printed, or viewed in Google Earth.

The UN Stat Planet Map allows you to create useful mapped displays of UN development indicators data. There are ten data categories from which you can choose. Within each category there are further refinements possible. You can customize the map to present sharper contrasts between the data indicators, change the indicator symbols, and alter the map legend. To visual the change in data over time, use the time slider at the bottom of the map. Your maps and the data that they represent can be downloaded as PNG and JPEG files for printing.

GeoCommons provides excellent tools for creating and sharing map-based data visualizations. Users can select a from twelve base maps to build upon. After choosing a base map users can select from more than 49,000 public data sets or upload their own data sets. Map creators can add more than one data set to their maps. To complete the visualizations users can specify colors, shades, shapes, and apply numerous filters to determine what is or is not displayed from their chosen data sets. Completed maps can be shared as KML files or embedded into blogs and websites.

Map a List turns Google Spreadsheet information into Google Maps placemarks. The finished product is a Google Map of the information you've selected from your Google Spreadsheets. To create a map from your spreadsheets you need to register for a Map a List account and give it access to your Google Docs account. Map a List then walks you through each step of selecting a spreadsheet, defining the parameters for your map, and choosing placemarks. Just like in Google Maps you can customize the placemark icons that are used in your Map a List displays. Your maps can be shared publicly or privately. Your maps can be downloaded as KML files to use in Google Earth.

Spreadsheet Mapper 3 is a Google spreadsheet script that allows you to create a map of up to 1,000 placemarks based on your spreadsheet data. And because Spreadsheet Mapper 3 is a part of Google Docs you can share your spreadsheets and maps for collaborative editing. Click here for complete directions on how to use Spreadsheet Mapper 3.

Heat Map Tool is a tool for easily creating heat maps or incident maps from a CSV file. To create a heat map all you need to do is upload a CSV file then specify your desired display attributes like scale, colors, and opacity. You can edit the display attributes of your map whenever you like. If you're wondering how to create a CSV file you can do so by exporting from a spreadsheet in Google Documents or exporting from an Excel file. Click here for directions on exporting from Excel. The free version of Heat Map Tool allows you to have up to 100 data points on your map and up to 500 hits per day on your map.

GmapGIS is a free tool for marking and drawing on maps without having to create or use a Google account. GmapGIS provides tools for drawing lines and shapes, adding markers, adding labels, and measuring distances. To get started just visit GmapGIS and select the drawing or labeling tools that you want to use. When you are finished drawing on and labeling you can share your map by sending the link that is automatically generated for your map. You can also save a KML file for your map and view it in Google Earth.

MapFab is an excellent free map creation tool built on top of Google Maps. MapFab offers a few advantages over Google Maps, but the most notable advantage is that you do not have to create an account in order to create your custom maps. To start creating custom maps on MapFab just head to the site and enter your starting location. Then select from the menu of custom placemarks and enter a description. There is a variety of font colors to choose from when you label your placemarks. That same variety of text colors can be applied to your map title too. Just like on Google Maps you can draw polygons and circles on your maps. Also like on Google Maps you can draw lines, but on MapFab you can change the colors of your lines.

Meograph is a digital storytelling tool that provides tools for creating map-based and timeline-based narrated stories. Meograph is still in a closed beta, but they appear to be very interested in the possible educational uses of the service. When you watch a Meograph story (click here to watch one about women's rights in the USA) you will notice that it is very similar to a watching a narrated Google Earth tour. That is because it is based on the Google Maps and the Google Earth browser plug-in. As the story plays you can stop it to explore additional content in the forms of videos, texts, and images.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Go Inside the Kennedy Space Center with Street View

Last month Google released some great Street View imagery of Antarctica. Today, Google released more great Street View imagery. The new imagery takes us inside the Kennedy Space Center. There are now 6,000 images of all of the notable aspects of the space center. Students can now look around in control rooms, hangars, launch pads and more.

View Larger Map
Applications for Education
New Street View imagery probably won't dramatically change the way anyone teaches, but Street View imagery is definitely a step above looking at static pictures in books and or online. In Street View students can pick what they want to explore in more detail. I also like that students get to explore the imagery on a map which should help them remember where the places they're looking at are located in the world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Explore Antarctica in Google Maps Street View

Earlier today Google released some fantastic new Google Street View imagery of Antarctica. This imagery has also been included in Google's World Wonders Project too. Obviously the imagery it isn't actually "street view" rather it is ground-level 3D imagery of notable landmarks in Antarctica. You can view places like Shackelton's hut and the ceremonial south pole.

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Applications for Education
Have your students take a look inside Shackleton's hut to see a glimpse of how he and his crew lived.

Please see these resources related to Frozen Planet for more information and materials for teaching about Antarctica

Sunday, May 20, 2012

3D Views of Famous Landmarks

Last month Google introduced 3D photo tours of famous landmarks in Google Maps. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, Tekzilla gives you a quick overview in the video below. The 3D photo tours in Google Maps is a great option for geography teachers and history teachers as well as literature teachers who want their students to explore places mentioned in the books their students read.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting Geeky With Google Maps Measurements

Over the weekend I was using Google Maps to measure the distance of some routes that I want to ride on my bicycle. While I was measuring I clicked on the little "I'm feeling lucky" link next to the measurement tools. I knew that there were some obscure units like Smoots and Rods in that list, but it seems that Google has dramatically increased the list of measurement units. I counted 56 units of measurement in the list. Now I can measure my biking routes in furlongs, in Olympic swimming pools, or Jewish 1st Temple cubits.

To access the "geeky" measurement units in Google Maps first make sure you have turned on the measuring tools in the "Maps Labs" then select "I'm feeling geeky." See the screenshots below for more directions. Click the images to view them in full-size.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps

This morning Google announced the release of a new way to view images in Google Maps. 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps is a collection of public Panoramio and Picasa images of famous landmarks arranged into 3D panoramic tours. You can take a tour of places like the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace, and Fenway Park. Here's a complete list of the places for which 3D photo tours are available. To access these new views you do have to have to be using a modern browser that supports Web GL technology. The video below highlights the new 3D Photo Tours on Google Maps.

Applications for Education
If you don't have access to Google Earth on your school's computers, the 3D Photo Tours in Google Maps is a great alternative for showing students what some of the famous landmarks they may have studied look like.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Google Geo Teachers Institutes in England and Ireland

Last year Google hosted a couple of Geo Teachers Institutes in the U.S. One was in Maine while I was in Washington. Today, Google announced that they are holding two more Geo Teachers Institutes this summer. This time they will held in England and Ireland in June. These two day institutes will focus on using Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp in classrooms. Participation in the institutes is by invitation only and you do have to apply by April 30. You can get all of the details and the application here.

If you have never used Google Maps for anything more than getting directions, you may want to see my introduction to Google Maps for Educators.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Video - What Can You Do With Geography?

Last week the Google Lat Long Blog posted a short promotional video about some of the professions that utilize geography. Of course, the video is also a bit of a promotion for Google Earth and Google Maps. Watching the video got me to dig into my archives for a few of my favorite resources related to teaching geography. Those links are listed below the video.

101 Ways to Teach Geography
Teaching With Google Earth
Create Interactive Map Quizzes
Geocaching - A Great Outdoor Learning Activity
Geosense - An Online Geography Game
Google Maps for Educators - How to Get Started

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Google Sightseeing - See the World on Your Desktop

Browsing Google Maps you can see lots of interesting landmarks and fun occurrences captured by the Streetview cameras. Finding all of those fun and interesting views can sometimes be tricky. That's when the Google Sightseeing blog becomes handy.

Google Sightseeing is a blog that archives the interesting and fun places that you can see in Google Maps and Google Maps Streetview. You can search the blog according to region, country, and type of view (Streetview, aerial view, etc).

Applications for Education
Because of some of the commentary, I would hesitate to send students to browse Google Sightseeing on their own. That said, if you're looking for some interesting landmark views to share with your class to support a history or geography lesson Google Sightseeing is a nice resource.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Google Maps for Educators - How to Get Started

This morning I ran a short workshop on Google Maps for educators. As I do for most workshops, I promised to post the how-to slides here. Here are the basic directions to get you started creating placemarks in Google Maps.

By the way, if you're interested in having me run a workshop or give a keynote at your school, please see my work with me page.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3D Buildings and Tours of the Amazon in Google Maps

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.