Monday, February 3, 2014

Creating Interactive Maps with Google Forms and Google’s MapsEngine

Ever seen one of those maps with pins on them to represent places people have traveled to or come from? Well, now you can create an online version with Google’s MapsEngine. Using Google Maps as a base, you can add layers of information on top. The best part: you can easily import information from a Google Spreadsheet!

In the video below I show how you can create a map I call "Where I went on Vacation” (great for teachers who want to find out what their students did during their summer holidays). Using Google Form I collect the following information which will be displayed for each location on my map:
  • student name
  • city and country visited (Google will use this data to map the location points)
  • favorite thing they saw
  • favorite thing then did
Once I’ve collected the information, I create a map by visiting and login with my Google credentials. After I’ve imported the information, I end up with something like this:

See for yourself how easy it is in the video below:

For more information on how to create your own maps, check out this tutorial.

Tips/Things to Remember:

  • when importing, each layer can only contain 100 items
  • if information is updated in the spreadsheet, it is not updated on your map. You will need to import the information again
  • once imported, you can add images to the different locations
  • you can also share the map among users to help maintain/update the information

MapsEngine is an exciting tool for visualizing spreadsheet information. Whether you’re mapping location of lighting strikes, tracking UFO sightings or collecting Starbuck locations, this tool is a handy addition to your teaching applications.

What are some other types of maps or uses you can see for this handy tool?