Fiddling


Who doesn’t enjoy fiddling about with Google Maps?  It’s just so much fun to explore.  Should you ever get bored with that, click on the Google Earth image in the bottom left corner of the screen.

We all know what happens – your flat maps turns into imagery of the earth and that opens up a new level of exploration.  Who hasn’t explored their favourite wish list destinations.  I enjoy taking a bird’s eye look at Formula 1 race tracks for example.  Or, perhaps even more recognizable, the Eiffel Tower.

I can spend hours playing around with this.  And, then of course, you can zoom in and zoom out just like you’re there.

But what happens when you zoom out?

Way out!

You’ll get imagery like you’ve never seen before.  When you go way, way out.

As I write this post, it’s 7:30ish in the evening in the Eastern Time Zone.  Look what I’m exploring.

How cool is that?

But now, let’s take the earth for a spin.  The astronomy is a blast.

Let’s head over to Europe.  Sufficiently zoomed out, here’s my view.

I love it when I can discover new uses for tools that I’ve used for a long time.  There is the thrill of new learning.

Of course, the classroom becomes much richer immediately.  How can you use this in your own class?

Tag, You’re It


I had a good conversation with a friend of mind a few years ago.  I was going to visit her and she was starting to give me driving directions.  I told her that I probably didn’t need them because she had been broadcasting her location via her Twitter account.  Surprised, we took a look at her timeline and she had no idea that she was broadcasting her location.  A couple of clicks later and we were looking at her house on Google Streetview.  All because the new Twitter client she was using had geo-location turned on by default … it was probably in the terms of use use but neglected.

A new utility “Ready or Not” is designed to help in the cause of tracking location of Twitter and Instagram users.

It describes itself as:

This app shows how people could use your social-media posts to find you in the physical world. It uses GPS data attached to Twitter and Instagram posts to create a map of where someone’s been posting from recently.

Try to find yourself, your friends, or your favorite celebrity! Where are you most likely to be at 2:00 on a Tuesday?

This app shows how people could use your social-media posts to find you in the physical world. It uses GPS data attached to Twitter and Instagram posts to create a map of where someone’s been posting from recently.

Try to find yourself, your friends, or your favorite celebrity! Where are you most likely to be at 2:00 on a Tuesday?

I poked around with myself and some of my friends with some mixed results.

  • I couldn’t find myself which was good.  I do make sure that auto posting my location is turned off.  But, I was surprised that it didn’t identify that I checked in at Petite Côte during my dog walk tonight;
  • I could find some locations from some Twitter friends that did make sense.  I hope that they read this post and check to make sure that they know what they’re doing;
  • I found some that were out and out incorrect.

How to use it?  Just visit the site and enter a Twitter name.  After a search, you’ll get the location results displayed on a Google Map or a message that no location could be found.

Rather than identify a particular person, I chose a commercial entity.  In this case, it was one of the Big Three Car Manufacturers.  A quick search later revealed posting from the following locations.

Those familiar to the location should recognize Windsor, Detroit, Woodward Avenue

Map

Not included in the screen capture, but you’ll see when you visit the site, along the right side of you screen is the actual messages that help identify the locations.

The site isn’t perfect but the results are certainly interesting.  Some who don’t know that they’re broadcasting their location might even call it alarming.  Regardless of where you stand on the concept, it’s worth checking your own account and those of your close friends – you may decide to pass the information along to others.

If you are concerned, click the padlock to get instructions about to tighten down your location information.

It’s worth the time to check yourself out.  Do it now.

MyHistro


If something like this had been available when I had studied History, I might have really got engaged and interested in it.

MyHistro is a wonderful mashup combining Google Map with an interactive timeline where you add the elements and tie them to a location plotted in Google Maps.

It’s a little difficult to put into words so I’ll direct you to a link that I enjoyed that put things into perspective for me.  I looked through the online library and found an interesting example.  It’s titled “Journey Through Canadian History by Picture Storybook”.  In this case, the authors have mashed maps, picture storybooks, and a historical timeline to make a really interesting story.

image

The combination of all of the story elements is very interesting.

image

I know that teachers are always struggling with coming up with innovative ideas for projects.  There is an iPad application that works with MyHistro.  Add your own text and imagery and others can comment on your work.   Once you’re done, there are a variety of ways to export your work or to embed it in your wiki or website.

Take a look at MyHistro and see if it doesn’t fit the bill for you.