Google Maps

Google Maps

With Google Maps, you and your students can become arm-chair explorers and cartographers with ease. Google Maps are a fun and visual way to help students understand geography concepts, map reading, location, and distance measurement. Besides using Google Maps to teach the fundamentals of mapping, like latitude and longitude, you can inspire students to investigate the world and to think spatially. You can use Google Maps with your students to:
  • Create collaborative maps
  • Create a school or campus map
  • Create a family heritage map
  • Get walking directions
  • Plan a trip using public transportation
  • See progress in time-lapse photos (video below)
  • Get biking directions
  • Add or edit places on maps across the world
  • Compare neighborhoods and communities across the world
  • Understand traffic patterns
  • Use maps as writing inspiration
  • Locate services around you
  • Timeline - new feature just being rolled out - keeps track of where you've been that day or another day.
Some programs or websites that use the Google Maps engine that you may want to use with students are:

  • World Wonders - website Explore regions of the world using images, street view of maps, and GE. Create your own and save them to your gallery.
  • Instant Street View - website Just type in an address and instantly see it in Google Street View. You can also select specific places of interest (Tower of Pisa) and it will take you there. You can even explore caves., or the excavated ruins at Pompei.
  • Nightwalk in Marseille - website An example of what can be created using the Google map API engine.
  • Google Treks - website Using Google Maps, you can tour many out of the way places -
    • Gombe National Park (the forest home where Jane Goodall researched chimps)
    • Khumbu, Nepal ( Himalayan homeland of the Sherpas of Everest)
    • Pyramids of Giza
    • Colorado River
    • Angkor Wat (Cambodian temples)
    • Churchhill (polar bear capital)
    • Taj Mahal
    • Venice Italy
    • Gal├ípagos Islands
    • Eiffel Tower
    • Mt Fiji
    • Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building)
    • Iqaluit (Canadian Arctic)
    • Everest Base Camp
    • Grand Canyon
    • Great Barrier Reef
    • Amazon Basin
    • Kennedy Space Center
  • Story Spheres - website
  • Smarty Pins - website
    • an educational geographical trivia game

How to Create a Custom Google Map
Google has changed how and where you create custom maps. Now you must go to to open or create a new map. You can still use the site to view cities or get directions, but they have moved custom maps to the other site.
Once you click Create a New Map, it works just like before - save, draw, add images, etc.

Using Google Tables to Chart Data in Custom Maps

  • This is NEW technology and considered experimental. However, it is VERY powerful.
  • Go to to look for tables.
  • You can use either web tables or fusion tables.
  • You could search for hurricanes or earthquakes.
  • Download the file you find interesting.  
  • Open it in Excel (it should be a CSV file) OR
  • Save it to your Google drive and open it in Sheets (must still change it to CSV)
  • Clean up the data if necessary.
  • Make sure each column has a unique name - many times you can just delete the top row.
  • Make sure there are no blanks in the data
  • Save as a CSV (comma separated value) type of file to your Google Drive
  • This is found under the File-->Download menu.
  • Download to your Google Drive to the folder you are working in.
  • Open My Maps in Google Maps
  • You should have two choices, create new and open a map.
  • Click in the map search box and enter a location
  • Name your map by clicking in the untitled map area.
  • Click the blue import link and navigate to your csv file.
  • The file will upload to your map.
  • If you get an error, check the following:
    • file type must be csv
    • column headers must be unique
    • data point to plot to map must be something the map can use (address, state, country, etc)
    • no blanks in data
  • Choose the data you wish to have plotted in your map.
  • Experiment with the data to show it in different ways.
  • You are not limited to using just a single table, you can import multiple tables and compare the data to prove or disapprove a hypothesis. Put each import an a different layer.

Google Earth

  • Google Lit Trips
    • Import KML maps that correspond to a story
    • Now uses Streetview- drop pickman
  • Tour Builders
  • Google Earth Pro
    • Now free, login with your tps501 account and
    • use the code GEP3
  • TimeLapse
    • uses Google Earth Engine to show maps over time
      • Las Vegas
      • Rivers in S America
  • Earth Engine Timelapse editing tool
    • Time Machine (look for Earth Engine Tour Editor)

Create a Collaborate Map

Using the Time Lapse Feature in Maps

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