Interactive online maps: powerful tools make maps and geography come alive.After Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. smashed the Gulf Coast, Larry S. Anderson, director of the National Center for Technology Planning, sent K-12 colleagues a link to online aerial photographs of the area taken by the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. The photos "send chills up and down your spine," he says.
A year earlier, Anderson had been a speaker at Mississippi's Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District The Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District is a public school district based in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (USA).
In addition to Bay St. Louis, the district serves the city of Waveland and part of Shoreline Park. Schools
Web-based technologies have revolutionized how teachers teach and use maps in K-12 education, and it is difficult to imagine finding locations and planning trips without services such as MapQuest and Mapsonus. Online mapping skills are now integrated into the curriculum in most schools, and many districts offer map-related resources on their Web sites. For example, Illinois' Indian Prairie School Prairie school
Group of architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, who created low-lying “prairie houses” in the U.S. Midwest c. 1900–17. Prairie houses were generally built of brick, wood, and plaster, with stucco walls and bands of casement District provides Mapquest-generated driving directions to each of its more than 30 schools.
Integrated Satellite Views
But far beyond customized maps and driving directions are the new online technologies that marry photographs with geography so users see views from anywhere on the planet they choose to explore. Using technologies pioneered at sites including TerraServer--since acquired by Microsoft--and Google Maps Google Maps (for a time named Google Local) is a free web mapping service application and technology provided by Google that powers many map-based services including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder and embedded maps on third-party websites via the Google Maps , districts such as the Somerton School District in Arizona are adding satellite views to their Web sites, and inviting staff and students to travel the country virtually.
Through TerraServer, users can see any area in the U.S. as a topographic map (Data West Research Agency definition: see GIS glossary.) A map depicting terrain relief showing ground elevation, usually through either contour lines or spot elevations. The map represents the horizontal and vertical positions of the features represented. or aerial photo, and visit landmarks including the Space Needle Noun 1. Space Needle - a tower 605 feet tall in Seattle; a tourist attraction
Seattle - a major port of entry and the largest city in Washington; located in west central Washington on the protected waters of Puget Sound with the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade in Seattle, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota South Dakota (dəkō`tə), state in the N central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota (N), Minnesota and Iowa (E), Nebraska (S), and Wyoming and Montana (W). and the U.S. Capital in Washington, D.C. Similarly, the newer and more powerful Google Maps lets users move their mouse across a detailed road map of the United States--and selected other countries--zoom in on locations, jump to specific addresses, get driving directions between points, and view localities as road maps, satellite images or hybrid combinations of the two.
Flying Google Earth A 3D mapping program from Google that covers the entire globe from satellite images. Requiring a download for Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, a street address can be searched, and the views can be zoomed down to the individual building all the way up to a satellite's view of the globe.
However, the most amazing example of integrated online mapping technologies is Google Earth, acquired from Keyhole and released last June. It enables users to fly across a 3-D representation of the entire globe. This standalone application--which requires broadband connections and powerful up-to-date computer technology--combines satellite imagery Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made from artificial satellites. History
The first satellite photographs of Earth were made August 14, 1959 by the US satellite Explorer 6. with Google Maps, and overlays additional information such as international boundaries, schools, airports, parks, malls and cities. It also displays stunning 3-D views of buildings. (Note: The service runs only on PCs, not Macs.)
Will Richardson, supervisor of instructional technology at N.J.'s Hunterdon Central Regional High School Hunterdon Central Regional High School is a comprehensive, regional, four-year public high school, and school district that serves, as of 2006, approximately 3,020 students from five municipalities in east central Hunterdon County, New Jersey. describes the phenomenon. "My son Tucker can't get enough of Google Earth. He picks random places and looks for bridges, rivers, dams or canyons, and asks thousands of questions along the way. He's learning all sorts of things in the context of what interests him, and can zoom in and see that people really live in mud huts in the desert in Africa, tend cattle and own colorful blankets. He can find it, see it, explore it and own it in ways that he never could with text or a movie."
Nicholas School of the Environment
Indian Prairie School District
Somerton School District
Odvard Egil Dyrli, email@example.com, is senior editor and emeritus professor of education at the University of Conn.