A great map creation tool

I have to give a big shout-out to Miguel Guhlin for this lead. It came out in this morning’s TCEA Education Newsletter.

Those that know me know that I’m a sucker for any good mapping tool and this one put me over the top.

There is a little American bias in the menus but I can see past that. It’s just the reality of living north of the 49th parallel. You could see my issue just by looking at the navigation bar. When in the Program Department, it always sparked a discussion as to whether we promote a utility like this or not.

It would spark great and healthy debates.

It’s hard to argue that the level of detail is so rich.

I had to smile. Does anyone but me remember when Geography was taught with a pull-down map at the top of a chalkboard and an up-to-date teacher would have magic marker written to correct things that weren’t quite right?

This utility has so much, I think I would glance over the menu bias. After all, when you look at “More Maps”, the list is pretty impressive.

I spent the most time looking at the map of Africa and mousing over the “All first-level subdivisions (provinces, states, counties, etc.) for every country in Africa.” Wow.

Coming back, mousing over the Canadian Electoral Districts was fascinating. Do yourself a favour and look at the showcase option; someone may have already done a lot of legwork for you.

This isn’t a project that’s been done and the author moved on. There is a section devoted to Covid-19 that tells so much. If you’re into Gaming, check out that section.

If you’re teaching anything that involves Geography, this needs to be in your toolkit.

Thanks, Miguel.


What city are we in?

I’m playing this game while doing a few other things. I eventually found it so engaging that I dropped doing the other things!

It’s a simple concept and yet nowhere near as simple to solve once I started playing with it.

Choose the country where you want to play and adjust the level of difficulty to get going. I’d recommend going with a simple one and then getting progressively harder as your ego comes to play.

For the most part, I played Canada but did end up going to other places. (with considerably less success)

When you play the game, you’re dropped at ground level and you start walking.

It’s here where you need to keep your eyes open, looking left and right, up and down, for clues about where you are virtually. When you’re confident, make your guess by clicking a location on a map.

That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Give City Guesser a shot and see how you do.

Truth in Blogging

It’s Sunday night and I’m just proofreading this post before I let it go off to be scheduled for 5am tomorrow morning. I played the game again and I could have sworn that I had seen the neighbourhood displayed before.

And I had.

I had written a blog post about City Guesser before! It’s here: https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2021/05/08/lets-go-on-a-trip/

It was a great game then and it remains a great game today. If I wasn’t settling in for some Sunday Night Football, I might be inspired to write another post. But, I’ll let it stand.

It’s still a great game and maybe some of today’s readers will find it new.

A look back (or ahead)

I guess it’s all in your perspective.

I’ve written about a similar utility in the past but this popped up in my reading this morning. It monopolized a bunch of my time which means it’s worthy of a blog post.

Until I attended the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, the city of Toronto was kind of a necessary evil for me. Iwent there for professional learning events, concerts and hockey games. We did a bit of shopping but essentially, it was around the fringes.

I did spend a year at the Faculty to get qualified. I ended up renting a room from my Waterloo roommate’s father in East York. Now, if you know Toronto and the fact that I lived in Kitchener at the time, you’ll know that this wasn’t a quick and easy drive.

We couldn’t walk to the Faculty so I learned about commuting Toronto style – TTC buses and then the Subway. As a twenty-something, it was a nerve-wracking experience. Of course, once you do it once or twice it is so convenient and as long as you hung on to your transfer ticket, you could go anywhere.

Toronto seemed so big and intimidating. My friend said yes, but don’t think of it as one big place but as a collection of communities. You live in one community and do your thing in another. That really helped.

All this is a lead in to this – Historical Aerial Imagery Toronto.

You’re presented with a split screen. On the left side, choose a year

Ditto in the right side. What you’re presented with is aerial images from each of the years. Grag the image from one side and move it around. The other side follows. Zoom in and out of each to see the comparative differences. There is a divider in the centre but I didn’t use it much.

I was able to zoom in on familiar landmarks like where I lived, the Faculty, the Don Valley, CNE Stadium (what?) and compared both. It was fun.

Thanks to the developers for giving us such a unique way to look at the Big Smoke.

If anyone is looking for a project, it would be interesting to give us a look and comparison of the Green Belt. It would be nice to see what it was, what it becomes, and if the current government gets its way, what it will become.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Michael Frankfort joined Stephen Hurley and me as a guest host for the voicEd Radio show on Wednesday morning. It lent to a great conversation about the five blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers that we featured. Read on to see them and a couple more bonus posts.

Family Reunion

Don’t we all have family reunion stories tucked away in our memories? I remember the first time I took my wife to ours and her comment on the way home. “It’s hard to imagine that you’re all related.”

On my mother’s side, it was a big summer event, more often than not landing on my birthday but nobody brought presents. We did bring millions of butter tarts though and had to be there pre-6:00 so that Dad could go to the golfing tournament and the rest of us slept in the car until people started to arrive at 9 or so. Dad’s family reunion was a big gathering just before Christmas which changes the entire mindset. Instead of being outside and enjoying the weather, we’d rent a hall and go inside to avoid the weather.

Despite all that, we were within a couple of hours driving to get to the events. I can’t imagine doing what Amanda did (read the post) just to get there. Then, there’s the whole mixture of her family and I’ll bet that everyone has stories about their own personal mixtures. Her family has mine beat.

I loved the post and it made me think of faces and names from reunions so long ago and how so many of them are no longer around. Despite it being such a lovely story, it was a great reminder to remember the current moments because they are so special.

But, 18 people in one house for a week? You’re a strong woman, Amanda.

Fighting Disinformation

In the beginning, disinformation was easy to spot and actually kind of fun to explore. One of the more famous ones that I remember was the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

Over the years though, the concept of the fake website has skyrocketed and taken off in a very sad direction.

We’re now in a time and era where everyone with an internet connection and the desire can put up a website for whatever the cause. We have so many of them, some consistent with our beliefs and others not so much. Some, after doing a bit of digging, can be debunked.

The ones that I personally have trouble with are those who have a dissenting opinion and do their best to create a plausible story from their perspective. Finding the truth used to be so simple; just go to the library and grab the encyclopedia. Not so anymore.

Then, throw into the mix the concept of a second or third language learner doing their best to research. If we as English First Language people have problems at time, imagine their situation.

Jennifer shares some great thoughts on the topic and the bottom is a wonderful collection of resources that can be used to help determine if something is truthful or not.

Reflections on “Sometimes it is enough to look back to see the Future clearly” presentation by Dr. Georg Marschnig

I’m really enjoying Paul’s doctoral work and how he’s openly sharing his work and his research. This is a very personal post about his own thinking. He organizes things and discusses each.

  • How do schools frame notions of citizenship;
  • What kind of relationships in schools and in educational decision-making processes foster real learning;
  • How do power structures affect learning? – Paul’s question
  • How were race, class, gender differences framed in the event?
  • What connections can you draw with readings, lectures, and discussions we have held in the class?
  • What creative ideas or astute analysis about education did you encounter in the event?

I enjoyed reading all the sections but the section about power structures affecting learning was a real thought generator for me. Like you, I grew up in a school environment where the teacher was always right. My parents came to their defense all the time when I’d challenge facts or other things. Later on, I came to realize that it was the game of school and you had to play by the rules. It sure made the day easier to handle.

Of course, like all things, we’ve got better at it all and we’ll continue to get better. On a personal level, I’ve made a note to learn more about “Youth Participatory Action Research.”

Slice of (Experential) Life

I’ve mentioned it many times; they don’t pay teachers of our youngest students enough. This blog post will have you laughing, smiling, and being thankful that you don’t teach the youngest. Or, if you do, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement throughout this post.

It was a 20-minute bus ride to the field trip location. For some of the students, it might have been a three-day road trip as they got out and looked around and remarked that they were in a different world!

Now, before I get too righteous, I enjoy community dog walks and there are always new things to see and explore even though I’ve lived here for 45 years.

I will be adamant though; we still have the same water tower.

Experience Sustainability

Our guest on Wednesday had written and shared this blog post to the STAO blog.

It was about a Webinar that Michael had co-delivered with Teresa Huang about organizing an eco-fair at your school. The post comes with appropriate resources to replicate the same activity at your school.

The concept is unlike the traditional science fair with its judging and ribbons that I remember. This was about doing good by doing good. (one of my dad’s favourite expressions that I’ve always tried to keep in mind) Today’s students can be more socially aware and responsible and this post honours that.

Look for links to replay the webinar and a slide deck packed full of ideas, resources, and connections to the Ontario Science & Technology and other subject areas Curriculum.

Our month in Bordeaux, France (June 2022 –FINAL month!)

There’s probably a fine line between being a stalker and an internet friend.

I’ve been following Sylvia’s adventure as she’s headed to Europe and shares so many pictures and stories on social media. Does living vicariously equal stalking? <grin>

I can’t imagine how long it took Sylvia to assemble this piece. There are so many pictures and she uses her technical skills to provide a mapping of routes for us.

Food, wine, and the biggest croissants I’ve ever seen are highlights. It really does look like it was a spectacular event for her.

Don’t read and look at the images on an empty stomach!

Math Links for Week Ending Jul. 8th, 2022

Finally, David always has lots of cool mathematics things in his weekly post. This week, he shared a couple of wonderful visuals.

Thanks to all of the above for sharing their learning and thinking. Regular readers know the routine – read these posts and follow these folks on Twitter.

  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jennifer Hutchison – @TESLOntario
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Michael Frankfort – @mfrank_76
  • Sylvia Duckworth – @sylviaduckworth
  • David Petro – @davidpetro314

voiced Radio Show

Google Maps

There were a number of Google Maps stories that I took a look at this morning. I think that this feature will be interesting when it gets rolled out.

Google Street View now shows historical images of locations

I use the historical feature all the time. The latest was to resolve a debate – who did we buy our first digital television from? We know exactly the location but the owner has passed and the location sells flooring now.

The best the two of us could come up with was his first name – Don.

When I got home, I used the history feature to look way back and found the Google Street View image.


As soon as we saw the Turner sign, we both slapped our heads, “of course”. We’d been in there a number of times and learned so much. While that television is gone, there was a part of the sale that remains. He always mounts a digital antenna when he sells digital televisions. It’s amazing how many additional channels are available for free over the air around here.

I’m a fan of the ability to look back in time. One of the things that I do regularly is roll back the image of my old house and see what it was like when Mom and Dad lived there. The people that bought the house did a remodel of it.

One of the articles in this morning’s read that had me really interested was this one.

Google Street View Turns 15: Here are the Most Popular Locations in Canada

From the list of the top five places in Canada that had been viewed in Street View, I remember visiting five of them – in person and through Street View.

  1. CN Tower, Ontario
  2. Horseshoe Falls, Ontario
  3. Casa Loma, Ontario

You’ll have to click through to see the other two! I was surprised that the Parliament Buildings didn’t make the list.

Of the most viewed businesses, I could recall only looking for one.

  1. Kim’s Convenience

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done more. When I’m planning to visit somewhere, I’ll use Street View to help me plan things.

Are there places that you think should have made the list?

One of my favourite activities was inspired by ZeFrank and I did it and blogged about it. Can you believe it was 12 years ago?

Congratulations to Google Maps on its 15th anniversary and millions more innovations. It’s still hard to believe that I’m old enough to remember paper maps from the service station and looking for road signs to take me where I want to go!