Make a Coordinates Activity in Google Earth

I have been really excited to see the interest in my idea for Maths Maps. On Sunday afternoon I had the idea to overlay a simple coordinates grid on the satellite imagery in Google Maps or Google Earth, so children could answer position and direction based questions.

As in so many other cases those who follow me on Twitter helped me out when I was looking for an image to use for the grid. Admittedly I need to brush up on my image creation/editing skills but I was so grateful to get so many people offering help and ideas. Matt Lovegrove a Year 2 teacher in Berkshire, kindly made me some 10×10 grids which were perfect.

After much exploring I discovered that adding an overlay onto Google Maps is not so easy as it is in Google Earth. Here is a how to create your own Google Earth coordinates overlay (and in fact any image overlay!)

Firstly use Google Earth to find a place that is relatively interesting (there is quite a lot of choice you’ll agree!), you will be asking things like, ” What is the position of…?” etc so there needs to be enough in view. You might like to look around the Shapes in Paris Maths Map as it would fit well with this topic, or perhaps the location of your school might be a good starting point. Then follow these screenshots.

You can see an example of the linked coordinates task in the Shapes in Paris map, the placemark is titled “12 Coordinates Questions”.

I also created an example using the school’s location as a starting point in our lesson today. I was able to ask them about the coordinates of our school and even our classroom. I picked up on buildings and shops in the locality and kicked off the lesson using this resource. We zoomed in from space by the way (always exciting) and I told them I had spent all weekend painting the lines and had cleared out the local hardware store of red paint.

Some of the children worked independently today on the Google Earth task and they were really engaged and enjoying the task, we recorded in our maths books, as this was simple and best for us. I hope you are able to follow the idea through for your own group of students and using the screenshots create your own Google Earth coordinates activity.


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