I don’t like what plain Google Map or Google Earth windows look like when you enter text. They always end up too wide for me and I just want a little bit more style and formatting. It just looks better and that is part of why we use computers- to produce a professional looking product.
So the question is how do you get students/profs/teachers creating better looking information w/o having a bunch of time sucked away by teaching them HTML? (Yes, I realize Google does a form of this here but it’s not set up for Google Maps and involves more hassle for many by introducing the idea of networked kmz links etc.)
My solution is Excel. Excel can do all sorts of neat tricks with text. So I just built what is essentially a form with a few inputs (the ones selected for this project) and then used a bunch of formulas to wrap the HTML around the information that’s entered. This is a fairly simple example but it’s smart enough to cite the picture source and know if certain information has been entered so it doesn’t botch the html if the field is left blank. You can see what it does if you unhide the columns and view the formulas then tweak it to your heart’s content.
Before – ugly
After – much prettier
The user enters their info on the left and cuts and pastes the cell outlined in green into the HTML view on Google Maps and presto instant html.
I realize I’m enabling students/professors/teachers by helping them avoid having to learn html.
It’s not an issue with me. I can’t write php (which I’m proving over and over again lately) but I can and do use WordPress. I see this as an extension of that concept. Get to the point (in this case learning geography and adding content) forget the technology you don’t need.
Good technology is invisible anyway. Right?