This week I’m introducing www.FlashEarth.com to my teachers. FlashEarth is a tool that combines Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, and Microsoft VE along with a wide view of NASA satellite images. Before when teaching Maps you were limited to working with one map view or having the hassle of going between the different mapping services. Now you have access to one page that has all 4 services on it (limited).
You will find that each service offers a different view and even a different seasonal view of the same location. I’ve searched all over Texas in the last few days using the FlashEarth web page and I have grown to like Microsoft’s VE view. For my area it provides the clearest and closest pictures. As a mater of fact, it was kind of concerning as to how clear some things were.
In the bottom right hand of the page you’ll find your search box. Just simply type in the address or general location and you are on your way. Switch back and forth between the mapping services to find the preferred map of your searched area. It’s that easy!
There are some features missing that you would normally find on the service providers real page, so I would use this to get quick details and image quality to determine which service I wanted to use in my classroom.
Here’s what I found:
Google Maps: The pictures in my area were old and out of date. You could get fairly close and get reasonable details and resolution. Google needs to update their images for the areas of the country that are under rapid change such as Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. In FlashEarth (Google) you will be missing the map view because it only provides the satellite view. From what I can tell about my area is that the images are about 5years old.
Yahoo Maps: The pictures in my area were newer than Google’s but still a bit out of date because of our rapid growth. They are about 3 years old. The details are not as good as the Google details and the distance is a little farther away. Again only the satellite view was available. I like the Yahoo Map service on the Yahoo page because they often have location details that the other two don’t, but the satellite view has much to be desired for me.
Microsoft VE: The pictures were the most detailed of all for my area. The quality of imagery was even good for non-populated areas. Microsoft services (on FlashEarth) was the only one that provided street details. It labeled streets and cities making it easy for you to find where you were. You could get closer with great visibility to most locations.
NASA View: This was a nice cool feature to have with all the other maps. It is updated daily showing you the flow of clouds over earth. It is spliced together making the view flat. There is no close details using this service. This can only be used at a great distance away, but it is one of my favorite features of FlashEarth.
You may find each service image quality different in your area, and remember many of the features that each individual service (outside of FlashEarth) offers are great tools for education. So, be sure and check those features out on their web pages. I think you will find some great tools for your classroom! Check them out and leave a post telling the rest of us what you think.
This weeks Tech Tip is for the Social Studies Teacher. You will find that Google has partnered with the NARA to digitize 104 films of history. You will find them on the Google page http://video.google.com/nara.html .
I took a look at one of the news reels from D-Day and it was amazing looking at this time in history as it happened.Teachers can use this public domain data by allowing students to view the content as it was in history. How powerful could this be?!
You will find clips from NASA, War News Reels, and the Department of Interior. The Department of Interior video about the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1936 was awesome! I loved seeing the old machinery working as I gained a new appreciation for the advancement of Technology today.
I think you will find this a great tool for teaching history and giving students an opportunity to view history through the eyes of the people that lived it.
Note: I do advise; preview each clip before you show it to your students. Some things just shouldn’t be seen by certain age groups.