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Mapping Data on Google Maps

I’ve been playing around with two tools for mapping data onto Google Maps.  They both have potential in and out of the classroom.


First is MapAList, I came across this after it was discussed on the last TechChickTips podcast.  When you sign up for an account, MapAList will link itself to your Google Docs account.  You can then feed address information straight from a  Google Docs Spreadsheet onto the map.

Below I have mapped the address data from the survey I conducted during my E-Learning Interview.  As the data I collected was from an open ‘Where do you live?’ question, I had responses ranging from country through to street level accuracy.  MapAList did a fairly impressive job of converting these into points on the map.  It converted over half of them successfully, having more success with American data.  If you collect more detailed data with different address lines, city, post-code etc., all of this can be input, greatly increasing accuracy.

Mapalist Map
Mapalist Map

You can set up quite complex rules so that each piece of data is plotted with a certain marker, they were done at random on the map above but you could easily set certain colours to represent certain values.

I think this is a great tool to use in conjunction with Google Docs Forms & Spreadsheets.  As I previously discussed, there were excited woops around the classroom during my interview lesson while the data was arriving from around the world.  Plotting this info on a map will only bring it more to life.

Second is SpatialKey, this is a more professional piece of kit, and I suspect it will have a cost involved once the beta is over.  SpatialKey is capable of some powerful visualisations.  Unfortunately it only accepts US location data at present so I’ve only had a chance to play around with the sample data.  To get a better idea of what it is capable of, have a look at this video from their site:

The mind boggles at the possible uses for this, but my initial thoughts were outside of the classroom itself.  Schools have to process masses of data on absences, punctuality, behaviour, progress.  Would it be useful for a school to be able to plot this pupil data on a map?  Working in inner-city Manchester, I suspect if we did this we would find hotspots for things like attendance.  Obviously this would be useful on a city wide level for LA’s, but would it be useful in schools?  Or would we be at risk of expecting pupils from certain areas to come with certain issues?
I’d love to here of anyideas you have for these or other mapping tools?

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