Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Using Images in lessons - new resources

Geographers have always been associated with images, from the earliest maps through to high tech satellite imagery. The use of photographs and remote sensing is almost universal in good teaching these days, with exciting lessons making use of Internet mapping, Google Earth and the new Google MapsUK(Beta) .and Google Map (USA)

Google's latest offering gives you the expected features such as searching for locations by post code or address, printing out directions and the ability to find businesses. You can view any location as a traditional map or as a colour satellite image, enabling teachers to deliver lessons covering remote sensing based on any location they choose.

Previously there have been other sources of both map and satellite data on the 'Net, but Google Maps goes just one step further, allowing you to combine data from both the traditional map and the satellite imagery. The hybrid images show photographic data with roads and road names superimposed on the map.The process is quick and easy, and changing location or scale is dead easy.

This new tool should find extensive use in lessons, homework assignments and research projects. I can see it being used when teaching map work (compare the map to the real land), landuse lessons (actually see which areas are covered by fields, housing, trees etc) and for just browsing and getting the feel of other places among a dozen other uses.

We've often used photographs to help study different areas, and I doubt that Google Maps UK will ever replace good collections of still images and videos, but as an additional resource it has huge potential. Actually, an example of using traditional images as the foundation of a lesson can be seen here - a lesson that would be almost impossible without pictures and video clips!

Take a look at some example locations and see if Google Maps UK will be of use in your lessons. Enter the location into GoogleMaps UK and compare it to the images available for free from our image gallery.

GoogleMap: Seaton (Cornwall) to see a beach, river crossing a beach and an area that floods regularly.

Photographs: Flooding in Cornwall

GoogleMap: Chamonix Mont Blanc (France) to see how modern glaciation shapes settlement distribution, or to view it's glaciers

Photographs: Glaciation in the Chamonix Valley

GoogleMap: Kampala to examine a fast growing capital city in an LEDC

Photographs: Transport around Kampala


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