Google Maps is the best (true that, double true)

lazysunday SNL actors Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell said it best in their hit digital short, “Lazy Sunday.” While they used Google Maps to find the best route to the movie theater, journalists can use the program to better report and package information.

Google Maps has opened doors to a wealth of opportunities for many businesses as well as journalists. Today, Professor Hatch showed us how we could use Google Maps to enhance our multimedia presentation. We all know how to look up directions on Google, but I learned that I could create my own maps to add another element to the story telling process.

We explored maps.google.com, where we can save our maps on “my maps” through our personal Google account. You can find the location of just about anything, like where Gossip Girl is filmed or the pattern of shooting sprees in Alabama.  Users can also create their own maps through the “create your own map” icon.

One feature I paricularly found useful was the video feature on each point on the map. Essentially, I can create a map, establish points, and upload videos relating to the area. For our purposes, Hatch suggested we all put our heat videos on a map of DC so our viewers can see exactly where our stories were filmed. It’s fascinating how a feature as simple as embedded video can make a significant difference in attracting people to content.

Other features include adding pictures, searching for new locations within your map, creating a “walking map,” or points that connect to one another, and collaborating with other users to create group maps.

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