Going Farther with Google Maps

Hi! I’m Pete Ramsey, one of the Reference and Instruction Librarians at Langsdale Library. I joined UB in August this year, and have been enjoying my work here very much. You may have seen me at the reference desk, in your class offering library instruction, riding my bicycle to campus, or playing indoor soccer in the Recreation and Wellness Center. If you see me, say hi! I’d love to get to know you.

A few weeks ago, I taught a class how to use Google Maps (http://maps.google.com) to build a collaborative class map. Google Maps is a map service you can view on an internet browser, and is also one of my favorite websites. As it turns out, a lot of the information we use every day is place-specific. In other words, new information either comes from one geographic place, or information we already have is only useful in one place. Google Maps is one of the best resources I can think of for getting to (and using) place-related information.

Some of the things you can do with Google Maps include:

  • Get driving, walking, cycling, or public transit directions from one place to another. You can even choose between different recommended routes or click on “traffic” to see current travel conditions.
  • Use “search nearby” to find businesses near an address. I use this when looking for food by cuisine (pizza, Chinese food, etc) or for businesses I need (Kinkos, Post Office, etc).
  • Zoom to the street-level photograph of an address, to see what an unfamiliar place looks like from the ground.
  • Search for user-submitted photos and videos near an address by clicking on the “more” button and selecting those options.
  • Look up Wikipedia articles that relate to specific places the map using the “more” button.
  • Search for a new home or apartment using the “real estate” option under the “more” button.
  • Log in to create your own maps and share them with friends
  • And a whole lot more!

For video tutorials on how to use Google Maps to do these things (and more!) visit http://maps.google.com/intl/en/help/maps/tour/. You can also “Ask a Librarian” if you want one of the Langsdale librarians to assist you in your place-related information needs.

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