6 Excellent Google Mapping Tools to Develop Students Geo-literacy

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Here is a collection of some very good mapping tools we curated from Google Earth Outreach. You can use these tools with your students to develop their geo-literacy. According to National Geographic, geo-literacy 'is the ability to use geographic understanding and geographic reasoning to make far-reaching decisions’. The educational strength of Geo-literacy is that it raises students geographic awareness, increases their decision making,   and helps them cultivate grounded understanding of the geographic world they are living in, an understanding that will help in the protection of natural and cultural resources and lead to  improvement of the overall quality of life on this planet. Some of the activities students will be able to perform using these tools include: create stylish and customized maps, explore the world’s geography in 3D, narrate and share contextualized stories based on specific locations on map using photos and videos, explore places from all around the world through 360-degree street level imagery, publish ‘a Google Earth layer (KML or KMZ file) directly from a Google Spreadsheet’… and many more. Each of these tools is linked to a tutorial page where you will get to learn more about how to use them.

1- Google My Maps

‘Google My Maps allows you to create stylish custom maps to share and publish online. You can add lines, shapes, or places on the map, or import data from Google Drive spreadsheets, as well as Excel, CSV and KML files.’

2- Tour Builder 

‘Tour Builder lets you tell stories in their geographic context on the web using the Google Earth Plug-in. You can easily create an immersive story with places, photos and videos and share it with your friends.’

3 - Google Earth Engine

‘Google Earth Engine brings together the world's satellite imagery and makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers and nations, allowing them to mine this massive warehouse of data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences on the earth's surface.’

4- Google Street View

‘Google Maps with Street View lets you explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery. You can take a look at restaurants, plan your next trip or even visit the Amazon!’

5- Google Earth

‘Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others in this free desktop and mobile application. Google Earth Pro provides additional capabilities such as Movie Maker and GIS data import capability.’

6- Spreadsheet Mapper

‘Spreadsheet Mapper is a tool built by Google Earth Outreach to let you dynamically publish a Google Earth layer (KML or KMZ file) directly from a Google Spreadsheet. Create different balloon templates for different parts of your dataset in Spreadsheet Mapper.’