Archive for the ‘swopes’ Category

Navigating Google Maps

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Let me begin by saying I have not looked up instructions or tips on how to create a Google Map, so like many tutorials on my blog, there may be map-making techniques that make more sense than what I detail below. I just jumped in, and with a little trial and error, this is my process and my in-progress results.

After logging into your Google account, go to Google Maps and click on My Maps in the left corner. You’ll be able to create a title and description for your project. For now, I titled mine Digital Storytelling and left the description blank. This will change when I think of a fitting title and description. I checked unlisted for now because it’s not complete. I’ll embed it on my project site over the weekend once it is finished.

Initially, I was zooming in on the map with my cursor and dropping placemarks on locations. Then I realized adding a blue placemark is as easy as typing the location in the map search bar above the map, clicking on the red placemark, and selecting “Save to my Maps.”

Once I added my locations, I wanted to experiment with the information displayed with each locality. I clicked on my maps, returned to my Digital Storytelling project map and saw something very familiar…

A rich text editor similar to WordPress’ Visual editor! It’s very easy to add and format text and embed images, which seem to be the two major Google Map characteristics.

When adding a picture, it asks for the URL to an image. Unless I missed a tool, Google Maps doesn’t let you upload an image from your desktop. I added images related to my project to my wp-admin Media Library and used the resulting file URL.

The result:

Locations on a Google Map may also be accompanied with text:

I’m using Google Maps because although it’s built off of information that’s relayed in my articles, I think it offers audiences another interesting, interactive way to explore the story digitally. I reference the locations the Swopes have lived and/or served in my articles, and I think to also see these places reflected on a map and be able to read brief anecdotes or see images from the larger story as part of that map offers a compelling perspective that compliments the longer pieces of my project.