Mapping Lessons

First things first-- make sure Google Earth is installed on your computer!

Its free-- just go to  and follow the instructions to download the program.

Once you have Google Earth installed on your computer, open it. You should see the whole world. Once you have Google Earth operating on your computer return to this page for help.

Download the file in the attachment section at the bottom of the page and save it to your computer's desktop-- the attachment is circled in red in the screenshot below of the bottom of this page.

Now open the file in Google Earth by clicking on File>Open and finding the file on your desktop and clicking on it.

After you open the file you will see a blue "i" in the middle of the map, click on it to open the popup window. You will also see a link in the lefthand sidebar and if you click on that it will also open the popup window. You can advance the slides using the controls on the bottom, and you can close the window by clicking on the "x" in the corner.

Now you can either use the directions in the slideshow in your Google Earth, or you can use the instructions below. If you want to print them out, go to the very bottom of this page and click on "print page."

Can you find Kansas?

Zoom in by double clicking on a spot on the globe or by using the zoom and pan tools.

Make sure that the Layer called "Borders and Labels" is checked, you can see it below on the left, it has a red circle around it. (If you don't see the lefthand side panel, you can turn it on by clicking on the icon that is circled in yellow on the top horizontal toolbar.) That will allow you to see the names of things on the map. When you zoom in more and more names will pop up.

Now zoom in and find your school. Add a map marker to show the location of your school (the map marker button is circled in red in the picture below).

Type the name of your school in the dialog box (where we typed "University of Kansas" in the picture below) and click on the yellow pushpin next to the name (its circled in red). You can pick from a lot of different markers and change the color. Make sure you click on OK at the bottom of the boxes when you are finished.

How far is it from your school to the Kansas River? We're using the Union at KU as our school, and the Kansas River at Bowersock Dam. Use the path tool in Google Earth to draw a line from your school to the Kansas River.

Click on "Measurement" in the dialog box to find out how far it is. Write this in the marker icon box for your school (remember to say what the units are, after all it sounds a lot further if its inches rather than miles!).

Now let's take a trip down the Kansas River. Can you find where it joins the Missouri River? Put a map marker there and label it (here's a hint: there's something weird about the map marker dialog box, so after you type in the name click on the description box before you save it or else it will magically erase your marker name).

Can you find where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River? Add another map marker there.

Now see if you can find where the Mississippi River enters the Gulf of Mexico. And again, put a map marker there.
OK, its time to save all your hard work.

Go to Add on the top toolbar and create a folder (the picture below has it circled in red).

Drag and drop the markers, paths, polygons and anything else you have created into the folder.

Now save your map;
Click on the folder.
Go to File>Save>Save Place As and save the file to your computer. The picture below had everything you need circled in red.

You can email the file to your friends.
You can open it in Google Maps by going to My Places>Create Map> Import

You can also open the file in Google Earth on another computer by clicking on File>Open on the top toolbar and clicking on the file in the browse window.

Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Dec 30, 2011, 9:30 AM