#24 Google Maps/Google Earth

Fun with Google Maps

Google Maps is becoming increasingly popular and useful.
If you search Google for a location, such as “Fairbanks Thai House,” you will most likey get a little map showing the location at the beginning of the hit list.
If you know you are looking for a map location, you can go directly to Google Maps at http://maps.google.com and search for locations by city or zip code. Although most locations are fairly accurate, some like the Rasmuson Library are more approximate than others. This might not be good if you are an ambulance driver, but it is useful if you just can’t remember whether Bamboo Panda or Panda Garden is located near Airport Way.
You can zoom in and out on the locations, and also choose viewing options such as “Map” (line graphics) or “Satellite” (actual photos).

Google Maps Mashups

CoolGoogleMaps and Gmaps Directory are two places that list mashups which combine features of Google Maps with other tools.
For example, Gmaps Pedometer is one site which lets you double-click to add points on a map and find the total distance of a route while ants.net.nz plots earthquakes by magnitude.

Google Earth
Google Earth is a computer application that you download to your computer. It is similar to Google Maps, but has many more features. There is a free version, as well as subscription version that have even more features.

Discovery Exercise

  • Use Google Maps to find your house or another place of interest to you. Try using the Satellite view to see if an aerial photo is available. Note: some photo sections were taken years ago, so you might only see an empty lot or a bunch of trees.
  • Look through CoolGoogleMaps or Gmaps Directory, or use a search engine to find your own Google Map Mashups, and choose a site to explore. For example, you might use the Gmaps Pedometer to plot the distance from your house to work.
  • Take a look at the Google Earth Web site. If time permits, and your computer can run it, download the application and try it out.
  • Write a blog entry about your experience.

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