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Google Maps April 9, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

maps   Yesterday, in a macabre story, police found several bodies on a farm near London, Ontario. Coincidentally, I had driven close by that farm just last October on a trip to Canada. The news in Canada had a link to Google Maps showing the precise location of the crime scene. Two clicks later and I could look at a detailed satellite view of the farm.

This is relevant to educational technology as an illustration of the speed that news and information moves. When plane crashes, bombings, murders, riots, and other horrors of the modern age occur, we can now use Google mash up maps to find the locations and map them to see where they intersect with our own lives.

Take it a step back, and some sites offer collections of pinpoints on Google maps that show the locations of victims of a crime spree. Police use the tool to look for patterns. Media companies use the same technology to show movie fans the exact filming locations in precise detail for their favorite films.  

A teacher, using the same tools for making these Google maps, could highlight areas of historic interest in a city, outline the main battles from the civil war and invite students to study the topography, and even bring a novel alive by making an interactive tour of the characters’ world. I think it would add to my enjoyment of the novel to see where Mark Twain had Huckleberry Finn floating on the Mississippi River.

In my own College, I could easily create an interactive map of school sites in Tucson and environs so students could figure out how to get to them more easily. But I won’t volunteer that project until a few other things get cleared off my desk.



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