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Posts tagged ‘Google Maps’

Smarty Pins – Google Maps, geography trivia, and video games

Google Maps. Geography trivia. And video games. Three of my favorite things. And now, they’re all together in one place.

Google’s new Smarty Pins. (Get it? Smarty Pants – Smarty Pins? You nutty Google engineers!)

Smarty Pins is basically a simple trivia game that asks questions with geo-tagged answers using the Google Maps interface. Read more

Google Maps updates mobile app. It’s a sign your world is changing

A few days ago, Google updated its mobile Map app. Probably not a huge thing for you and your kids. But it is a reminder that our world is changing. In some instances, rather quickly. More and more of what we see, use, consume, share, and teach is moving to mobile devices.

When was the last time you pulled over to the side of the road and pulled out that massive print road atlas? Some of you, probably never. I still have one in my trunk cause . . . trust me, there are lots of places in western Kansas where your cell signal goes to die.

Three days ago, my senior in high school freaked out because I asked her to call a neighbor on their landline. She wasn’t even sure if they had a landline. They did. But no one answered. The neighbor texted minutes later to ask what she needed.

I still read the Sunday edition of the Wichita newspaper. I would read it every day if they actually delivered it every day. But they don’t. Because they’re printing fewer actual papers and publishing more online. So like most of North America, I get my news digitally. My favs? Flipboard, Zite, and the digital NY Times.

Documents live in the cloud. Not on paper. Google Drive, Dropbox, Storehouse, and my latest fav, Adobe Voice, store and share work virtually.

Historical documents are archived and digitized. Artifacts are mapped in 3D, shared via the web, and printed out on the other end using 3D printers.

Books and articles are created, saved, shared, and read on mobile devices. (Check out the latest iBook on Ancient Egypt. Perfect for you 6th grade teachers.)

So while the Google Maps update does have some cool features (scroll down for a overview) take the update as a sign. Read more

WhatWasThere: Old pics and new maps

Lisa from Maryland stopped by the other day to browse the Google Maps Gallery post and left a quick comment about the similarities of the Maps Gallery and a site called WhatWasThere.

(Lisa works as a Secondary Social Studies Mentor in the Howard County Public Schools and also made sure to pass on another great D-Day photo source and oral history archive.)

I had never heard of WhatWasThere. I’ve heard of HistoryPin. And Histografica. And I’ve even heard of Smithsonian’s interactive maps. But WhatWasThere?

Nope. And it’s so cool. How have I not run across this before?

The WhatWasThere folks say that their project

was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.

The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world.

And for the last few years, they’ve been collecting old photos and pasting them onto Google Maps around the world.

Using the site couldn’t be much simpler. Read more

Google Maps Gallery: Interactive digital atlas

Google just keeps coming up with more cool stuff. And for all you map nerds, and history teachers, their new Maps Gallery is just the ticket.

Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas that lets you search for and find powerful, compelling maps. It’s much like the Gallery of tours you can find via the Google Earth tool. One of the biggest differences is that the Google Maps Gallery contains maps created by a variety of organizations, both public and private, and so you can find all sorts of maps, many mostly inaccessible to the public before now. Read more

ESSDACK Geography Day and tasty mapping tools

We’ve got the National Geography Awareness Week. We’ve got Kansas Geography Day. But today in Hutchinson, it’s ESSDACK Geography Day.

Four times a year, an awesome group of middle school teachers show up here and we talk social studies all day. And, yes, it is lots of fun. One of the things we’ve tried to do during our sessions is to bring in outside experts from the different social studies disciplines. And today we have Lisa and John from the Kansas Geographic Alliance, sharing some sweet ideas and resources. Get the goodies from today here. Get all of their stuff here.

They shared the prediction that geospatial jobs will be one of the fastest growing jobs over the next 20 years. There is a huge need for kids who understand geography and how it connects to everything. It’s not about the what anymore, it’s about the where.

Need a bit of a taste of their stuff? Read more

Don’t ask what. Ask where.

The Google StreetView cars have mapped over six million miles of road around the world. And depending on your perspective, that’s either a ton (240 times around the equator) or barely getting started (just a tenth of the world’s possible 60 million miles of road.)

An article in a recent New York Time Magazine shared this information along with an interesting commentary on the state of digital maps. Adam Fisher, the article’s author, claims that over 20 percent of searches made using Google are “where” related and growing. It’s no longer just a matter of  searching for the “what” – it’s becoming increasingly important to know the where. The StreetView cars, and the data they collect, are the new Google Search.

And it’s not just where. It’s something called “location-awareness,”  the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function.

In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is — and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.

While it’s not exactly clear how or when we’ll get from what we have now to that sort of future, one thing is clear: Read more

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