How I Use It
The ability to zoom in and out of the maps allows you to customize them to extend your lessons. I used Google Maps in a unit on the mission period of California history, where students were able to mark-up a map of a mission. After completing research on a mission, the students found it on Google Maps and zoomed in. Using the drawing tools, students outlined the perimeter of the mission and marked areas of the mission property, such as the church, the kitchen, the dormitories, soap and tallow factories, various shops, aqueduct, and the cemetery. The markers are not very attractive, but some icons may be useful, such as the skull and crossbones to designate the cemetery. I like that users can toggle between the map view, which is plain, and the Google Earth view which is a bird's eye look at the mission grounds.
Google Maps is much more than just a tool for directions.The zooming function allows you to see a map view of a location and toggle between the map view and the Google Earth view. Mark up tools are available to indicate places of interest with pin points and icons. There are also line tools so that areas can be outlined and shaded if desired. The mark up can be color coded to correlate similar items. If you are looking for more functionality, try the Chrome app Tools for Google Maps. It will allow you to calculate distances, view the map in full screen mode, and place descriptions from Wikipedia at points of interest. Maps can be shared and embedded via a link.