Thing 11: Mapping & Geolocation Tools


“C.O. with pilot and observer referring to photos and maps prior to setting out for the German lines” by Thomas (Tom) Keith Aitken, 1918.

Although this topic was introduced earlier this year, I had a difficult time getting a handle on it. I have not had teachers wish to integrate mapping and technologies in their lessons. (Although if I asked I still might find blank outline maps of the United States.) I know that the students know about street view in Google maps, several having demonstrated in my library a stronger interest in ‘virtually driving through a city streets’ instead of working on their lessons and class assignments.

I do know that, in addition to city streets, Google has street views of museums, government buildings, universities, etc. and indeed some of these look quite interesting. I have read about street views being created in the national parks (Burnett) and that Google works with trusted photographers and cultural institutions to make more content available. Upon searching for things in Central New York State, I did find a street view of Cornell University (although the images of this campus felt empty because they did not have many people in them and I could not find the Carl Becker House). I also noticed when I zoomed in on the map of Ithaca that additional smaller red dots emerged that indicated additional street views of local venues. I’m not sure if these were official street views or user-submitted views. Again, these are really neat but I have yet to find that curriculum tie-in.

One of the professional development tools I use is +Google. On day earlier in April, someone posted an article about privacy issues related to Google street images (Helft). Since I also use +Google as an asynchronous learning tool in my mobile technologies course, I shared it with my students. This provided an interesting opportunity for us to discuss this technology that they were very familiar with (Google’s street view) and digital privacy issues (implications of background artifacts and other informational details of casual digital photographs; tagging friends and others in personal digital photographs that one shares with others).

While I am still looking for that curriculum tie-in at my school, I did like how this article allowed me to introduce the topic of digital privacy with my students. We are planning to offer this special elective again in the Fall and I will use this article again. Perhaps at that time I will have addition ideas of ways to use mapping and geolocation tools in this (and other) classes.


Aitken, Thomas Keith. “C.O. with Pilot and Observer Referring to Photos and Maps Prior to Setting out for the German Lines.” N.d. First World War ‘Official Photographs’. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. N.395. Flickr Commons. Web. 18 May 2014. No known copyright restrictions.

Burnett, Jim. “Google Maps “Street View” Coming To The National Parks.” National Parks Traveler. National Park Advocates, 04 October 2013. Web. 18 May 2014 < >.

Helft, Miguel. “Google Zooms In Too Close for Some.” New York Times. June 1, 2007. Web.  Web. 18 May 2014 < >.