Where have I been? Now on MyMaps and GoogleEarth
A chest infection that, in English, makes me sound like a Glasgow hardman, 60-a-day, ready to break your neck with just a flick of my pinkie, and which, in French, makes me sound like a film star from the nouvelle vague. I'm just relieved that tomorrow's speaking engagement is only 30 minutes long and that I can then spend the rest of the day eating and drinking silently to celebrate the retirement of Professor Dick Johnstone, the man who really opened the first vital door to me having the best job I could imagine.
From my sickbed (wifi is useful for this) I've finally been getting round to having a good play with Google's MyMaps. What I hadn't realised was that it automatically creates KML files which you can then click to launch exciting overlays in GoogleEarth.
KML files, for those who don't know, are small files which create different ways to view the earth through Google Earth, the amazing application on your desktop which, for free, brings the planet alive.
With this in mind, my first effort seems a little tame: a world map of where I've been recently and where I'll be heading later this year. If I start putting in some photos and videos from past dates this could be quite entertaining, for me at least.
At the beginning of the week, when I was showing some of our East Lothian teachers the power of just searching in Google with the additional word "kml" and/or "kmz", they were amazed at what they could find:
I just didn't realise at the time how easy it would be for them to create their own overlays of local geography, stories, travel reports from kids' holidays etc... all in wondrous Google Earth 3D, just by plotting images, text or whatever on MyMaps first!
How can this be useful?
This could be used for creating tours that match a project the students are doing, to show your worldwide visits or country research. It could map out every Scottish school (something that's on the list for someone to do if someone out there doesn't do it first ;-)). If you're an organisation with links or clients all over the place you could help them see your global reach that much clearer and in a more realistic way by using video and images from their locations to bring Google Earth alive with your organisation's activities.