Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
Layering information is simply connecting different kinds of information or media in visual ways that make their relationships explicit. For instance, photographs and videos of local places, people, or wildlife can be attached to a map that allows a viewer to zoom in and follow a hiking trail, a path through a city, or a highway. Further information can be layered onto the media map by adding links or annotations in text or voice. A variety of easy- to-use media tools are available that make it possible for students to construct layered pieces, such as Google Earth, Google Maps, Flickr Maps, Wayfarer, and more.
Not all layered information uses maps as its base, although that is a common approach. Videos and photos can be layered with other media, links, and text, and technical or anatomical diagrams can contain layers of related information. Many layering tools are suitable for multiple users, so groups can work collaboratively to create richly detailed pieces that explore many facets of a concept, place, or object. Many of the technologies in this Short List support layered information, including geolocation, mobile Internet devices, cloud computing, collaborative environments, and location-based media.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
- Using free online tools such as Dipity, student groups can create interdisciplinary, multimedia reports using timelines, syndicated feeds, maps, geotagged photos and videos, commentary, and more.
- Engineering students use Google Sketch-up to create layered electrical, mechanical, structural, and civil plans. Once complete, the designs can be placed in Google Earth and viewed in 3D.
- Environmental studies students can layer datasets onto a map to compare the spread of invasive plant species, populations of endangered animals, and the effects of climate change in a given area.
- Students at Duke University used mobile devices to create annotated maps, then took their professor on a virtual tour of the Mojave Desert: http://cit.duke.edu/ideas/projects/2009/05/15/gemojave/
- JOYity is a game platform for mobiles that uses layered information to create a city-wide game of cat- and-mouse in which opponents, clues, and contextual information appear (and disappear) on the map: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/27/the-joy-of-joyity-bringing-massive-multiplayer-trans-reality- games-to-android-phones/
- Students can author Google Earth layers that show areas affected by conflict or disease, animal habitats, or any other kind of geographical data: http://earth.google.com/outreach/tutorial_mapper.html
For Further Reading
Gulags, Nukes, and a Water Slide: Citizen Spies Lift North Korea's Veil
(Evan Ramstad, Wall Street Journal, 22 May 2009.) A doctoral candidate from George Mason University used photographs, news clippings, and Google Earth to map the interior of North Korea.
(Schenk, et al., University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, 2008.) SemaPlorer is an application designed to aid in the exploration of places using multimedia semantic maps.
Sony's New GPS Gadget Looks Like Eve, Geotags Like Crazy
(Jose Fermosa, Wired, 29 February 2009.) This handheld GPS detects its location and automatically sends those coordinates to Google Maps, tracks the user’s path, and uploads geotags for photos taken.