Google Earth

Resources for Using Google Maps

This is a small collection of resources that use Google Maps in combination with information drawn from other sources. This is a rapidly changing technology so don’t be surprised if the sites at the other end of the links differ from this description. Use with caution.

General Resources

Google Maps Tips and Tricks – Google Maps are pretty easy to use but there are still lots of shortcuts and hidden features. This page will let you in on a few of the secrets behind this tool.

Google Maps Mania – A regularly updated blog that keeps track of the many mashups that mix Google Maps with other data. Most of these are not for use in the classroom, although some teachers might be interested in the Starbucks locator.

Google Sightseeing – A blog that links to unusual sights found on satellite images found on Google Maps and Google Earth. Most information is submitted by readers and they writers encourage tips.

Google Mashups

Earthquakes in the Last Week – A mashup of Google Maps with data from the US Geological Survey showing the location and magitude of earthquakes in all parts of the world from the past seven days.

Hurricane Tracking – Overlays tracking data on all named storms from the National Hurricane Center on Google’s maps. An archive is kept of all major storms for more than a hundred years. Includes hurricanes in the Atlantic as well as typhoons in the Pacific.

US Presidents – Shows the birth places of all American presidents. Clicking on the marker brings up some basic information on the person and a marker with information on his wife (wives in the case of Ronald Reagan).

Wikimapia – An ambitious project to “describe the whole planet Earth”. Registered users can add a location description or edit an existing one. Anyone can zoom in and read the notes.

Placeopedia РA site that links locations on Google Maps with the article about that place in Wikipedia.  Registered users can add markers to the map and you can download the KML file to see the 50 most recent additions overlaid on Google Earth.

Do It Yourself

QuickMaps – This free site offers teachers (or anyone else) an easy way to mark locations on a Google map with both text and pictures. The maps can be save, linked to and embedded in a web site. The information can also be exported for use with Google Earth.

How To Make Your Own Annotated Google Map – If you would like more control than QuickMaps offers, and are not afraid of learning some scripting, this basic tutorial will get you started.

Google Maps: Tips and Tricks

Millions of people use Google Maps every day, a testament to how easy the tool is to use. However, there are still lots of shortcuts and hidden features. This page will let you in on a few of the secrets behind this tool.

If you have a Google account and are logged in, Google Maps saves every search you make. To see a list of those previous searches, click the link Saved Locations in the top right corner of the screen. You can then retrieve a search as well as delete or edit a search. You can also turn off the saving of map searches by unchecking the box next to Enable auto-saving of locations in the top right corner of the Saved Locations section.

You don’t have to know an address to find the map for well-know landmarks. Just type the name of the location (Eiffel Tower, for example) and you’ll get a map showing the landmark. You can also search for zip codes, airport codes, and latitude and longitude. You can also go directly to maps for England, Japan, Spain and other countries. The text accompanying the non-English speaking country maps is in their native language.

All maps have a set of controls in the upper left corner and most people know that the four directional arrows will move the map view in that direction. The button in the middle is also very handy since clicking it will bring you back to the view that you got from your previous search. If you prefer the mouse, you also can click and drag a map to move the view instead of using those controls.

The plus and minus keys will zoom in and out of the map moving one step for each click. You can also click and drag ths slider bar to zoom by larger steps.

In additions to using the mouse to move around a map, Google also provides several keyboard shortcuts to make the same changes.

  • The arrow keys will shift the map in small steps left, right, up and down. Hold the key down to move more rapidly.
  • The PgUp and PgDn allow bigger jumps north and sound, while the Home and End keys do the same for east and west.
  • Double-clicking anywhere on a map will zoom in one step on the slider centered on the point where the cursor is located. Holding down the control key and double-clicking will zoom out. The plus and minus keys will do the same thing.
  • The scroll wheel on most mice will also move the view of the map in and out.

None of these key shortcuts will work if the cursor is in the search box. Click anywhere on the map to select it and use the shortcuts.

If you want to send someone a link to a particular map, right click on Link to this page in the upper right corner of the map and choose Copy Link Location from the menu. You can now paste the address into an email or other text editor.

Just for fun, Google also has a map of the moon and a colorized relief map of the planet Mars, both using NASA photographs.