Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plot And Play

Having had a lifelong fascination with maps, advances in technology have only heightened the circumstances for bringing a more participatory aspect to the way we chart our world.  In 2007 Google Maps launched Street View.  Street View allows users to view locations from a 360-degree perspective. Today there are images from all seven continents within this application.

In May of 2013 a game using Google Maps Street View was released.  GeoGuessr presents to a user five randomly selected views (1) from around the world with the ability to zoom in and out and rotate the scene. You need to speculate on the location using a map (2).

You can move around on the world map using your mouse to drag and the plus and minus signs to narrow the location to get an exact guess.  When you think you might be in the right spot, click on the location.  When you do this, a place marker pops up.  

Click the red Make guess bar.  An image, new window, appears on the screen showing your guess (1) and the correct spot on the map (2).  You are given points based on the difference.  The fewer the points, the better. (I missed the Texas flag on the porch.) 

When that screen is closed your next view for guessing appears.  You can quickly see your score and in which round you are.  You can share your game at any one of hundreds of social networks, email it or print it.  

You can challenge yourself  by limiting your time.  This challenge can be played by others.  When you click Create challenge! a URL link appears at the bottom so others will have the same five locations.

GeoGuessr got even better when Richard Byrne, educator, speaker and blogger at Free Technology for Teachers,  wrote a post on June 3, 2013 about the ability for users to create their own GeoGuessr game using an application called GeoSettr.  At the GeoSettr page you can enter in your five rounds using the map on the left (1) and the view on the right (2).  To begin move the tiny yellow Lego-like man around to your first point on the map.

Just as you do when playing GeoGuessr you can zoom in and out and drag the Lego-like man to any location.  If there is not a Street View for an area he goes to "stand" above the plus and minus signs on the left and the Street View on the right goes blank.  When you have him correctly positioned,  click the Set round 1 button above the map.  

As you move to the next round, rest assured while you are moving the Lego-like man to any spot, you can manipulate the view on the right to get exactly where you need to go.  When you complete the fifth round clicking on the button to add it, a small window pops up advising you of the URL link for your challenge.

I would advise copying and pasting the link into a note so you can retrieve it at another time or so others can try your GeoGuessr.  Here is the link to my GeoGuessr created using GeoSettr.  As soon as you click OK the option to make a New challenge appears.  

The progression of Google Maps, Street View, to GeoGuessr to Geosettr, is a real plus for educators. Teachers can create Geoguessr games to coordinate with specific units or students could use this application to enhance a project or presentation. I highly recommend Geosettr for it's interactive learning potential.  I am now off to explore the Welcome to the New Google Maps pages.  Make sure you follow all my embedded links to discover the possibilities for using these applications and services in your classroom.

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