Cool Tools for Schools Thing 11: Geolocation & Mapping Tools

Wow, where did the last two weeks go?!? I’ve looked at Thing 11 several times over the last two weeks but only dabbled with the different tools and options. I just couldn’t think of a project I wanted to do with mapping and my students.

And then, over Thanksgiving break it finally hit me, I could use this for the Holiday Card Exchange we’re doing with our 3rd graders this year! My art teacher and I are collaborating on this project together and have talked about setting up a map on our bulletin board to mark where we’ve gotten our cards from. But, it would also be fun to have an electronic version for the library website and to look at together on the SmartBoard during class so, I pulled up my list of participating schools and got to work.

Right away, I made a mistake. I opened Google Earth instead of Google Maps and began finding locations and dropping pins in Google Earth.It was a little time consuming but overall, not that difficult a task to accomplish. That is until the next day when I tried to open Google Earth and finish the map. Maybe I didn’t set the pins up correctly, maybe I don’t know how to save places I’ve created or, maybe I did those things correctly but just didn’t know where to find the places I thought I’d created and saved. Whatever combination of failures it was, the outcome was the same: no saved locations on my Google Earth map. That is when I finally noticed the button in Google Earth that asks if you want to open up Google Maps.

Tour_Guide_and_Google_Earth-8

Now this was the way I should have been doing this all along! I didn’t even have to find each location and drop the pins individually-the latest version of Google Maps lets you import a CSV file and creates pins from the information it finds in the file. It took me a few tries to get the file setup properly but still, no where near as long as it would have to find and label each of the 30 schools individually. I was even able to embed the map on Third grade’s special page on my library website!

I can’t wait until the cards start coming in the mail and we can update our maps together. I noticed you can add a link to the pins in Google Maps. I’m thinking it might be cool to take pictures of the cards and put them in a Flikr album so I can link to each card’s picture from their schools pins. Then, everyone can see the cards we receive, not just the classroom that gets the card (we have three 3rd grade classes so the cards we receive will be evenly divided amongst the three classes).

My only disappointment with Google Maps is that I can’t seem to embed the map I made into my blog post like I could embed it into my library webpage. Although, to be fair, that is probably a WordPress issue more so than a Google Maps problem…

Looking forward to Thing 12 (and hopefully being more on top of assignment completion from now on).

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One thought on “Cool Tools for Schools Thing 11: Geolocation & Mapping Tools

  1. What a great project. And hooray on embedding it on your library website. You’re right, the problem here is WordPress.com not supporting the googlemaps embeds. They haven’t caught up with the new version of google maps yet. Probably will soon though.

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