Daily Archives: March 23, 2016

My Maps & Google Earth

One of the most recent tutorials that was completed in Digital History (hist5702w) was on how to use the Google My Maps and Google Earth applications. These applications both utilize Google’s powerful mapping technology to allow you to do a number of different tasks. My Maps allows you to see a map of the world and add personalized features such as your favourite running routes while Google Earth is designed to allow you to see the globe in a three dimensional fashion and also with special features like satellite imagery and three dimensional buildings.

I found this particular tutorial to be really useful and fun! I will use both of these programs in the coming future for different reasons. For example, I have always wanted a way of keeping track of the accessible restaurants and bars in Ottawa that I like most. My Maps is the perfect program to do just that. It will let me see things like the distance between them, and even possible ways to get to and from them. Google Earth is also going to be helpful down the road but for different reasons. For example it will allow me to see what a place looked like at different points in history and compare it to the present. This is a great feature but one that I will need to look into learning how to use properly.

Below you can find my notes taken during the process of completing this tutorial. Take a look and let me know what you think!

My Maps

Tutorial Notes

- logged into My Maps on Google Maps

How My Maps works:

- You can create a new map to map out anything, from your favourite parks to historic places

- When searching for historic places just be sure that you have the correct name as Google may have different information (for instance Berlin or Constantinople Ontario)

- From the toolbar you can do things like pan the map, drop a pin in it, or draw lines and shapes

- You can also style your map by clicking on the style button on the left side of the menu when you are adding new features to the map.

- You can then share your map online or crowdsource it to get input from others to make your map more powerful

- To import a data set from file just click ‘add layer’ -> ‘import data set’

My First Test Map

- My first map is called ‘Accessible Ottawa’ and it is intended to map out different locations in Ottawa that are wheelchair accessible such as, pubs, restaurants, museums, schools, etc

- Added Sir John A’s pub on Elgin St by searching for it in the search bar

- Then as a sample of importing a data set from file I downloaded the sample CSV file that was provided in the tutorial of different locations around the globe

- It then asks you which column that Google should use from the file to find the locations, in this sample i chose column A) Place

- Then it asks you which column you would like google to use as a title for those locations, in this sample i chose column B) Commodity

- The map contains all the locations where the UK fat imports were located around the world during the 1890s

- My Maps allows you to organize the locations uniformly by clicking ‘style’ -> ‘style by data column’ -> ‘commodities’

- The map then shows all the different locations of each commodity by colour and then living them on the left side menu with the amount of locations that the UK imported that particular commodity at that time

- The program does have many other features including in this instance being able to organize the items by place rather than commodity, but it has limitations such as:

- Only being able to import the first 100 rows of a spreadsheet

- Only allows for three data sets in a map so therefore only three hundred features can be handled

Creating Vector Layers:

- Simply put vector layers are just points, lines or polygons used to mark geographic features

- for example points are often used to mark important locations, lines for railways or roads, and polygons for different areas such as a city ward, or a field

- To add a vector layer click on ‘add layer’ and then rename the layer ‘layer 2′ or whatever you prefer

- NOTE: Beside the title of the layer there is a checkbox, when the checkbox is not checked it will not appear in your map

- Base Map: At the bottom of the menu window, there is a line that says ‘base map’. A base map is a map** depicting background reference information such as roads, borders, landforms, etc. on top of which layers containing different types of spatial information can be placed. Google’s Maps allows you to choose from a variety of base maps, depending on the kind of map you want to create.

- A commonly used base map is satellite imagery but that can often be distracting

- You can choose which base map you would like to use by clicking on the arrow to the left of ‘base map’

- When you click on it a submenu appears that lists options such as:

- satellite

- light political

- light and dark landmass

- simple atlas

- mono city

- whitewater

- To add a point on the map or ‘Marker’ you click on the add marker button under the search menu

- When you do so it will appear under ‘Layer 1′

- To add a Line or Shape to the map you need to click the ‘add line or shape’ icon box directly to the right of the Markers symbol – You can add details about these lines and shapes in the same way that you add details about the Markers

- You then connect the dots of the line to create a formation

- This is useful for outlining farmers fields or city boundaries

- I had a bit of trouble with this but managed to make jagged lines and link them but not any perfectly straight

- you can then share your map online with the ‘Share’ feature which lets you share it through any social media such as Facebook or email

- you can also share it by embedding it in your blog or website

- another option that it gives you is to export the map or individual layers so that you can use it in other programs like Google Maps which I managed to do successfully

Google Earth

- Similar to Google Maps Engine Lite but with additional features

- For example, it provides 3-D maps and access to data from numerous third party sources, including collections of historical maps

- Google Maps also doesn’t require you to install anything on your computer while Google Earth does

- You can choose for the application to display any number of different layers of information including:

- Borders

- Roads

- 3D Buildings

- Ocean

- Weather

- Gallery

- Global Awareness

- and more

- It also has the option of displaying historical maps

- For example the world globe from different years in history

KML (Keynote Markup Language) Files

- this is a file format that was developed by google to save and export data

- it can store many different types of GIS data, including vector data

- it also allows you to import maps from other platforms including Google My Maps

- I successfully downloaded the ‘Map of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project’

- You can also add special features to your map to your map in the same way you could in My Maps such as different lines and styles

- You can even go so far as to record a tour of the map which may be useful for presentations

- Successfully added a few different paths and shapes to the map

- you can even go so far as to search for a specific location in the menu bar on the left and ‘fly’ there

- tutorial asked that i ‘fly’ to lake st clair and draw a border around it

- this was accomplished successfully

- next i successfully added this polygon into the map of the st lawrence seaway project

- then i saved this new version of the map as a kml file by right clicking on the seaway and then choosing ‘save place as or email’

Adding Scanned Historical Maps

- Google Earth gives you the power to add historical maps to the globe

- main purpose for uploading a digital map, from a historical perspective, is to place it over top of a Google Earth image in the browser. This is known as an overlay. Performing an overlay allows for useful comparisons of change over time.

- to accomplish this you begin by clicking on the ‘show historical imagery’ button on the top of the toolbar

- then when you choose the images you plan to use, click on the ‘Add Image Overlay’ icon on the top toolbar

- unfortunately i can’t seem to find this button but maybe somebody out there will be able to help figure that out…