Embedding Google Maps made easy!

Many thanks to Ollie Bray for bringing my attention to this new post on the Google Lat/Long Blog with news of the launch of a new facility to embed google maps in your blog or website as easy as embedding a youtube video! The whole thing can be done in 3 easy steps – no need for a maps API key that used to be required. Code is generated which can be used to easily embed maps in blogs. The best thing is the embedded maps are still clickable and ‘zoomable’ and can have links to photos etc. Great potential for fieldtrip follow ups as well as interactive teaching resources for student use in homework blogs. Ollie has already embedded an example in his blog including both photos and video!

As with many of these great tools, unfortunately I am having problems getting it to work in wordpress – but it works a treat in blogger – see igeogblogger for another example!


Blog Action Day – The Environment

This year’s blog action day is on October 15th – the idea this year is to get bloggers to unite on the theme of “The Environment” With each blogger blogging about their own environment theme and related to their own topic this should provide some fascinating reading and really raise the profile of environment issues. Mass participation is what is being aimed for and there are lots of ways to get involved – the day has already been heavily promoted through blog posts in the geography community and hopefully all other bloggers out there are doing the same! The following video sets out the aims of the day!

Animoto – Professional looking video shorts!

Animato is a great tool for creating professional looking video shorts using photos set to music. The site has already been blogged about by the education community and has great potential for use both by students and staff! You simply upload photographs directly to the site, or if they already exist on the web, for example on Flickr or Facebook, you simply direct the site to them, you then chose music from a wide selection (or I believe it is possible to upload your own) and away it goes transforming your photos into what looks more like a film trailer! You can create a short film (lasting 30 secs) for free and full length videos can be created by purchasing credits. At the moment this stands at $3 per video or by paying $30 you can get create unlimited videos for a year. Certainly worth exploring and having a play with – signing up is free – as are creating the video shorts! Thanks to Justin Medved for the tip off on this one!

I have just created a 30 second example of a video short using this years Iceland photographs – have a look at the results here. Unfortunately there doesn’t yet seem to be the ability to embed this in wordpress, but it works fine in blogger and quite a few of the social networking sites!

Embedding photo slideshows in blogs

Thanks to a post on Joe Dale’s blog, I have just discovered a great slideshow tool called FlickrSLiDr which allows you to embed a flickr photo set as a slideshow in your blog. The tool is very easy to use, simply add the URL of your photoset and add any required details and you are provided with html coding for embedding yor slideshow in your blog. As with some other widgets, this doesn’t appear to be currently supported by wordpress, however it works very well in blogger. See an example slideshow of our recent fieldtrip to Iceland, here on the igeogblogger site.

This got me thinking about what other options are available to bloggers for embedding photos as slideshows – FlickrSLiDR is great for blogger, but what other options are there for wordpress users? Currently, Rock You, Slide.com, SlashCast and SlideShare are all compatible with both blogger and wordpress. Slideshare, is great for sharing powerpoints and can also be used for showing photos, but the other three sites provide greater functionality for creating slideshows in that you can get photos to loop automatically, add special effects, music and use a range of styles.

The following examples give some idea of what is achievable using RockYou and Slide.com

1. Slide.com – you can easily add photos from a variety of online photo storage sites, including amongst others, Bebo, MySpace, Photobucket, Facebook and Flickr, as well as uploading directly from your PC – there are a variety of styles and effects which can be used to tailor this to exactly what you want! This is an example created by linking to my Iceland Flickr photoset, making use of the sliding theme.

2. RockYou – again – photos can easily be added from a variety of sources, although I don’t think you can embed direct from Flickr at the moment (although I could be wrong!) – you can customise your slideshow using different styles and themes and easily add music from a good selection of modern tunes! This example uses the cube theme.

[rockyou id=65251596&w=426&h=319]
Examples of other Slideshow sites include: