Monday, March 24, 2008

12. Google Maps

Google Maps deserves it's own lesson - it's a Google application, true, but it has spawned more mashups (2 sources of data "mashed up" into one useful application) than any other application out there. Google recently released a personalized version of the Maps application that lets you very easily create a new map with your own data in it as well. I created this one:


View Larger Map

in about 10 minutes on the last night of my recent vacation. Other people have created maps that take a source of data (gas prices, for example) and combined that with Google's Maps to create Gas Buddy, as one example of a mashup application. There is a directory at Google with all the popular maps available for the US (or whatever geographical area you have in the screen).
There are at least two blogs that track what new mashups are being created with Google Maps as well.
Creating your own mashup, as I did above, is very easy. Go to maps.google.com and click on the My Maps tab. If you are already logged in, you will see a "create new maps" link. Click on it, title the map and add a description in the sidebar on the left side of the screen. Once that is done, find a place of interest on the map on the right, either by clicking and dragging to the location or doing a location search, and click on the 2nd icon at the top of the right frame (the blue "placemark" icon) and click on your location. You can then add a name and description to your place. Do that for all of your locations, and your map is done! I added the images into my map descriptions by copying the image address from the Flickr photo page, using the "rich text" editing in the description of the placemark and clicking on the image icon to paste the image address in and make it show up on the description of the map.

18 comments:

eyeoh said...

I love map applications, so it's no wonder I enjoyed this lesson. Online patrons might enjoy a map tour of locations from a particular book or series. Perhaps titles from the series could be added as placemarks, or short event descriptors added to the various locations.

Nikki said...

They have I believe two different kinds of maps you can do on myspace and facebook, to show where you've been. It's pretty neat. They also have maps you can put on your personal page and people can show where they are by clicking their area and name and you can see where the people are viewing your page...that is if they leave their mark

Robin said...

One of the things I meant to point out, and didn't because I couldn't get back into the post to edit it, was that we are already using Google Maps to map out our Bookmobile routes - http://www.mrrl.org/services/bookmo/index.asp has a Google Map that has all the stops and times listed on it. Pretty cool stuff for those who prefer the visual schedule to a text-based table schedule!

Marion said...

The bookmobile map is cool. Using map tools to make maps of places mentioned in a book could also add some visual context to a book discussion group.

sexybeast said...

I didn't even know you were gone Robin. We have a patron who wants us to create an icon for google maps, even though it takes little effort to type in the address, maybe she forgets. Hopefully, it wasn't a google map that ran the bookmobile off the road.
I see many uses for people who like, eyeoh enjoy doing this and it is really easy use. Frankly, I don't want people knowing where I have been. :)

Anonymous said...

Google Maps is cool. It was nice seeing pics of your vacation having been to Colorado a couple years ago. I like eyeoh and marion's suggestion for using these to map out destinations in a book. If we ever do a GeoCache here at the library, we might incorporate this mapping tool into the treasure hunt.

Francesca said...

Okay that last post by anonymous was supposed to have been from moi Francesca - I fat-fingered something and off it went.

absinthekid said...

Google maps is the greatest! I moved way back into the woods a couple of years ago...yet with google maps, I can not only show people how to get to my house, they can flip to "satellite view" and actually see it! In all its sylvan glory!

Robin: thanks for the Colorado pics--especially Boulder. Used to be a hippie paradise!

Thoughts from the CROA said...

I could see using Google's map application to share information about a recent vacation route or destination with friends and family. It provides a chance to put a visual to where you travelled to and lets you describe things you saw and did on the trip. Then those interested about your trip could visit the map to check it out.

skoone said...

I use Google Maps on the Reference Desk all the time, but I was completely unaware of the advanced features Robin has mentioned in this lesson. Google Maps are incredibly helpful and have made the task of giving and receiving directions much easier. I'm glad to know about these extras and perhaps will find occasion to use then personally or professionally.

moonbeam said...

I'm like someone else. Now that I am living in the country, this will help let me show people exactly how to get to my new place.

justme said...

This could also be a good way to travel with kids and mapping out where you are going, with landmarks you plan to stop at so they see progress.

betterlate said...

This is great! I had such a good time mapping my way to places!

leslie said...

I was the webmaster for the Jay Band website for several years and one of the things I did was to link a map to the band competitions so parents could find them. This would have been much better because you can get exactly what you need and personalize it a bit. Much nicer now.

Heather said...

I have a few friends that have been traveling the world for the past couple of years and they use this sort of mapping on their facebook pages, it's very cool.

courtney said...

Online maps are so much fun! I love the idea of being able to make one's own map, complete with location annotations and photos. What a great way to share experiences with folks. I looked through the "mashups" and was amazed to see the types of maps people have come up with. Some are clearly more useful than others (although it depends on the audience, I guess).

newbie said...

I really enjoy playing with Google maps, the zoom in is a hoot. But on a more grownup note, it is very practical for getting directions and laying out past routes. I like how it will save your past directions so I don't have to always reenter them.

madmusing said...

What a wonderful and useful site--for serious as well as fun info.