Updates to Google Maps and Live Local

 GIS, Google Earth, Google Maps, Teaching resources  Comments Off on Updates to Google Maps and Live Local
Apr 052007

New developments to the leading online mapping applications are widely reported today. Geography teachers should be aware that some of these features are going to be really useful for writing up fieldwork notes and coursework projects, especially as some form of GIS experience is required by the new Key Stage Three proposals.

Mapperz highlights the new version of Live Local, which is an essential resource for teachers who work in an area deprived of acceptable Google Earth imagery. One of the best new features is the opportunity to subscribe to collections via RSS. At some stage I’m going to repost my own Live Local Collections with the feed link in case anyone would be interested.

Ogle Earth has compared the relative merits of the drawing tools in Live Local and Google Maps in a useful article. I’ve pleased that a number of my students seem to have enhanced their GCSE projects this year with quite good annotation of map and photo data.

Finally, Google Earth Blog is one of several blogs to comment on the new My Maps feature of Google Maps. What’s really exciting is that you can create a My Map and then see the results in Google Earth.

Explore our Pla.net: a map interface for GeoRSS feeds

 Google Earth, Google Maps  Comments Off on Explore our Pla.net: a map interface for GeoRSS feeds
Aug 102006

During some rather aimless research on GeoRSS I came across a brilliant map based feed reader. Explore Our Pla.net is a tool for displaying geolocated RSS feeds, indeed it managed to locate the most recent articles on Digital Geography by having a stab at identifying the locations of the recent posts.

georss feed Digital Geography in Explore Our Pla.net

I was interested in the way that the Explore Our Pla.net worked, and the way in which some of my blog posts were being located in thought-proking places, for example the recent Atlas Gloves post was located in Morocco. It transpires that the Digital Geography RSS feed is being processed through Geonames. This service identifies place names in the posts and adds the relevant latitude and longitude, outputting the original RSS feed as GeoRSS.

podcastplanet Podcasts can be geotagged and displayed in the map window

On closer inspection I discovered that Explore Our Planet is a rather more ambitious project. Apart from a large collection of dedicated GeoRSS feeds, it links to a large number of very useful Web Mapping Services (WMS) layers which are displayed on a user-friendly geo-desktop. To fully apppreciate the potential of Explore Our Pla.net it’s necessary to register. You can then browse through the data layers and GeoRSS feeds as well as adding your own GeoLinks.

What’s in it for the classroom teacher?
With the geo-desktop projected onto a whiteboard, a teacher can identify geotagged audio/video podcasts and news feeds, switch between different map and satellite views including near real-time MODIS data from the Terra and Aqua satellites, plot weather, storms and earthquake data and map sounds from the freesound project. There are a number of other other valuable layers, for example daylight, population density and settlement night lights. Of course, much of this information is widely available, and in some respects other applications like the excellent Earth Browser are still to be preferred. Explore Our Pla.net is however web-based, and therefore available from any PC.