May 03, 2007

Where have I been? Now on MyMaps and GoogleEarth

Ewan_mymap I'm sick today.

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.

In the meantime, welcome to my current world through the goggles of my Speaking MyMap and the accompanying mcintosh_on_social_media.kml if you have GoogleEarth installed.


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Thanks Ewan! This post is so timely for me. I am knee deep in Google Maps with the kids and your explanation of the kml files has sure helped my learning curve. You've noted some terrific ideas for student use.

And now my brain is wrapping around some fun ways for the kids to again use some of your mum's great photos!

Hope you get to feeling better!


Dear Ewan,

This is also a nice site with kml files: You can visit cities in France, listen to the mp3 file and get a map of the city. Really great.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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