What is Google Maps?
Have you ever tried to tell a 3rd grader where a landmark is? Or where a city is in another state? Younger elementary school students often have a finite realm of reality which includes their neighborhood and the other areas they frequent (Grandma's house, the shopping center, etc.). Using Google Maps for geography lessons or for extension activities may help them build a better understanding of location, distance, and geography.
Google Maps is a website provided by Google that combines maps and satellite images. A user can search for a map of a location, get directions to and from a place, and even check heavy traffic areas. A user can also view satellite images and a combination of maps and satellite images (called "hybrid"). Google Maps allow the user to put a place mark on a map, much like you might do in a classroom with a straight pen to show where students are from or where you have been.
Check out the map of the Pullen Park side of NC State Campus below. You can click on Satellite and Hybrid to see other images of the same location. This map has not been annotated.
How do I get Google Maps?
Getting Google Maps is easy. Go to http://maps.google.com. Click on "Sign In" and sign up for an account (if you have a Google Docs account then there is no need to sign up, you already have one). Now you are ready to start your own annotated Google Map.
**If you are going to allow students to annotate the the map (the recommended use) then you will need to create a new account with an easy to share password. If students are going to have their own map they may not have to have their own account (which requires and email address), they might be able to use the class account because many maps can be saved on one account.