BYO (Build Your Own) Google Maps

A lot of buzz has been generated over the new Google feature that allows you to build your own maps and share them with others. C-Net news has a great video overview of this new tool which appears to allow you to include a number of different media such as images, YouTube videos and probably even audio. What a terrific way to augment boring history classes, eh? Have the students develop a map where they can include the who, what, where and when – key speeches, personal stories, timeline events – while exploring how things came to be. How much more likely are you to have engaged students who will actually remember some of the material they not only studied but built? So Will, this may not be new, but it is news! Let’s spread it!

Here is my map that I knocked out pretty quickly that tracks my active duty Naval career from home to boot camp to my last duty station and back home. I’m going to try and go back later to include some richer media.

Between this and the ability to create maps from Google Spreadsheet data, this is a great classroom tool for generating excitement and visual interaction for your students. If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly recommend it.

My suggestions for feature enhancement:

  • Allow for ordering of sites to create a linear map tour – think mapping the major battles of the civil war in a chronological order.
  • Ability to “lock” sites once placed – This is particularly helpful when trying to place accurate pins. I accidently moved my pin by tens of miles when I was attempting to draw a line and had to refind the street address of the prior location.
  • A way to customize the My Map legend to include richer media.
  • Tie this into one’s Google account for better and shorter URLs!!!

[tags]google, google-maps, map[/tags]

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