Personal Google Maps
Google now lets you create online annotated maps with amazingly simple tools. You can add info windows (with html), plot lines and add polygons. It really is the easiest thing imagineable. Go there and try it.
This example map has absolutely no point. I just made it on the fly to prove to myself how easy this is. Do you know how long this would have taken to do in the “old” days (earlier this year or yesterday really)? Things really are moving fast.
I am so happy, it’s almost sad.
via O’Reilly Radar
I figured after being so gushy about the My Maps option from Google I ought to make a good example. So here is a good start on a territorial acquisition map of the United States of America. I did it free hand based on a number of different maps I found on wikipedia and a few other places- so it’s not perfect and it still needs some work but I think it shows what you can do with little effort. Yes, I promise the writing will improve :). The map took about 45 minutes or so to make. Most of that time was spent looking at various maps. I also increased my speed after I figured out I could move points in polygons after I finished rather than having to start all over. I also made a quick screencast covering the basics of the My Maps tools.
This branched out into Google Maps, Sketchup and even Swivel. I heard about some great projects being done by 4th and 5th graders using sketchup to create Incan (or Mayan?) ruins and then putting them in Google Earth. I’m really interested in seeing the examples but don’t have a link yet. The most interesting part of the discussion to me was a reminder of the googlelookup function in Google spreadsheets. You can use it to look up latitude/longitude coordinates for cities it appears and the use it to create an xml file. The cool thing to do would be to generate that data, the city’s population, avg. temp etc. (whatever interesting data you can pull through lookup or manually) and then push it to Swivel. And then, and then, and then you embed the Swivel data in the info window for each city. It’s sad how exciting that seems to me. Besides that I got some good links to look at later which are posted in del.icio.us if you’re interested.
What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages? Lost in Translation is a fun little web page that does all that translation for you using Babelfish. Why in the world would you want to do this? Well, it’s funny and while it can become nonsense very easily, with a little effort this is a fun and interesting way to get students looking at vocabulary and language. It’s fun and easy so why not give it a shot. I type in “I love the ocean” and get- Translated to French: J’aime l’océan Translated back to English: I like the ocean – now we’ve got a synonym! Is it close enough to keep the meaning? Translated to German: Ich mag den Ozean Translated back to English: I like the ocean – ditto above Translated to Italian: Gradisco l’oceano Translated back to English: I appreciate the ocean – another synonym! I know you’re excited. Translated to Portuguese: Eu aprecio o oceano Translated back to English: I appreciate the ocean – Sadly, this worked pretty well. Translated to Spanish: Aprecio el océano Translated back to English: Esteem the ocean – Now this is a very different phrase than we started out with. Does esteem mean the same thing as love? Is “esteem the ocean” a […]