Archive for November, 2011

This post demonstrates  a quick and simple way that you can map addresses and associated information in Google Maps. The technique uses Google Docs and, therefore, you need to have a Google account. To demonstrate the method, I used a Microsoft (MS) Excel spreadsheet that contains the names and addresses of the 31 state Sea Grant programs. Two additional fields in the  spreadsheet contain the names of each program’s director and a link to the program’s web site. I obtained this information from the National Sea Grant website. The steps I used to map the 31 program locations were as follows (using FireFox):

  • In Google Docs, I clicked on the “CREATE” button and selected “Table” from the pop-up menu.

  • I highlighted “From this computer” and then clicked the “Browse” button to select and upload the MS Excel spreadsheet from my computer.

  • After stepping through a couple of dialogs, Google creates the table (called a Fusion Table) and highlights fields it ‘thinks’ contain location information. (Note that it highlighted the state program names and the addresses.)

  • Since I wanted to use the address field (column) to map the locations of the Sea Grant programs, I clicked the “Edit” button above the table and chose to “Modify columns.” I changed the Name column from a location “Type” to a text “Type.” I also changed the “Format” of the Web site column to “Link” to make it active in my browser. (Remember to close the dialog once you are done.)

  • To finish, I selected “Map” from the “Visualize” menu that is above the table. The following output map was produced.

The accuracy of the mapped locations will only be as good as the address information. Go ahead and check your Sea Grant program’s location on the map and see if it is correct. Let us know. Note that you can symbolize the location markers in various ways and you also can share links to the map, or embed it into a website. I will follow up with more information on how to use Google Fusion tables with Google Maps.


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Historypin is a web application developed this year by “We Are What We Do,” a non-profit organization based in London, England. It allows one to “pin” historical photos (or video and audio clips) on a map, associate stories with the images, and assemble collections by theme or map-based tours. The unique feature of Historypin is the ability to use Google StreetView to accurately locate and frame the historical image. This allows one to fade back and forth between the historic and current landscape. When photos, video, and audio for a neighborhood or landscape are annotated with stories and assembled into a collection or tour, the result is a narrative that bridges historic and current events.

The latest addition is a mobile application that runs on iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.). The app allows you to explore locations and collections, as well as take and post photos. The coolest feature is Cam View, which allows you to stand in the same location that a historic photo was taken, look through the camera, and drag your finger up and down on the screen to fade back and forth from the historic photo to the current view. You can also take a current photo and send it in as a “modern replica.”

Historypin is a wonderful example of the latest that Web 2.0 technology can provide for developing narratives of place.

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