Monday, February 8, 2010

Fun With Google Maps & Google Earth

Last week I had some fun with Google Maps and Google Earth. It started when I was writing some entries on a Google group that Kathy has set up on places to eat, see, and stay in Ouaga. I was having trouble describing where to find a certain resto we’d been to lately and decided that I needed to look it up on a map. Of course, Google Maps was my first choice.

When I was looking at a Google map of Ouagadougou, I noticed that you can make personalized maps for whatever purpose you want and link them to a blog page. So I thought, “Why not make a map that indicates where different restaurants are located and put a link to it on Kathy’s Google group?” That would take away the burden of having to describe how to get there. People could just look it up themselves.

So that’s what I did.

A few days later, I was talking with a Burkinab√® colleague. I forget what the subject was, but it prompted me to launch Google Earth on my computer to show him something. He was astounded at this program and the level of detail it provided!  "Wow!" he exclaimed.  "Nobody can hide anymore!"

I showed him our Centre and where we lived (both of which I had bookmarked on the map). Then, just for fun, I decided to locate the home of our Centre day guard (the one who broke his arm recently in a moto accident). We had just been to visit him together that morning, so had no trouble finding it on the map. I bookmarked it.

Then I thought, “Hey, this is a great tool!” Whenever I visit friends, colleagues, or employees that live in the Ouaga area, I can never find their place again, especially if it’s not in one of the more well-known areas of the city. From now on, I’m going to mark their location on my Google Earth map. Until we get GPS units for cars here (at prices we can afford), this will work just fine.

In the meantime, my colleague entreated me to help get Google Earth loaded on his laptop.  When I last saw him, he was busy searching for his own house on the map.


Laura Dun said...


Mike Steinborn said...

It's really a great tool! Today, I used Google Earth to show the Joslins where to pick someone up. Seeing a visual picture of the place really helps!