Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Maps are fascinating to me.  I’m so excited to see my 3-year-old granddaughter enjoy maps also. Anytime I travel I try to show her where I’m going in a paper atlas or large fold-out map and she lays on the floor and looks at it very carefully. Inevitably she wants to see the houses on Google Maps it on the iPad. It’s unreal how she needs very little instructions.  As soon as I type in the destination, she takes over, pinching the map to make it smaller and spreading it until she gets down to the house level.  Her favorite place so far has been Miami because they have so many streets and houses.  She can even find Hawaii all by herself! I wish my dad had a chance to see this technology because he LOVED maps. Being able to travel so quickly to any place in the world is so amazing.  Let’s not forget how incredible the hybrid, satellite and road maps really are.  In this “tuesdays” I am excited to show you a whole new dimension of maps.

A creative website

First, Google Earth amazed us. Most teachers really wanted to use it with their students, but bandwidth issues and inability to download software were barriers for too many. Next, Google created Google Maps for everyday use and add so many of the Google Earth features without having to download software or struggling with bandwidth difficulties.  NOW, I am so excited to show you Animaps.  Animaps takes Google Maps to the next level by giving you the ability to create maps with markers that move, images and text the pop up when you design them and shapes that show time progression.  When you send your map to a colleague, it will play as a video that they can play, pause and even slow down or speed up.  For all the teachers that really wanted to use Google Earth but had too many barriers, Animaps is much simpler and rewarding. Here is a sample on their site that showed the routes of the hijacked planes on 9/111.  sample map of September 11th.  What a time we live in.  The world is so much more accessible to us now. Thanks Google.

An image to share

Typus Orbis Terrarum - This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

A proverb
"Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.” Muhammad Ali

An encouragement

Probably the greatest common denominator of teachers is creativity.  I can’t wait to see how teachers take this simple tool to the next level.  Just imagine how English teachers can trace the adventures in literature and novels they are reading.  Social Studies teachers will be able to show how battles were fought or migrations of people looked. Science teachers can plot natural resources that are hidden below our vast nation. Although I am only touching the surface, I want to encourage you to try this with your students.  We may not have the time to investigate this, but they do!  If a 3-year-old has a natural fascination with maps, I am sure your students will really get into geography when they can have this hands-on experience.  We always learn more when we can create something. Animaps combines all the best Web 2.0 tools in one place.

How do you do that?

My intention was to create a map for you tonight, but I just ran out of time. However, the best way to begin is to use their Basics Tutorial.  There is a 12-minute video right on the front page that shows all the basic features and for those of you that want more, there are advanced features. The coolest part is that you can import images from your desktop, videos from internet hosts and even Facebook pictures (be careful!). There is a beta section that allows you to upload KML/KMZ files from Google Earth. Once you’ve created your map, you can share it by hyperlinking it to a presentation, embedding it in a website or even publish it in Twitter and Facebook.  Google has out done themselves again!

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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