Teaching with Google Maps Guide

Webinar Archives and Resources

Digital Learning Day 2019 Event Archive and resources:

    • Session: Mapping Content and Contexts with My Maps and Tour Builder by Google

Would you like a copy of Liz's Google Map assignment? You'll find it in the Canvas Commons. Just log into Canvas, click on Commons (on the left), and search for CCCDLDay.



When using Google Maps in your course, Include a link to the Accessibility in Google Maps page so students have access to keyboard shortcuts and more.

Navigating Embedded Maps

Students who use a screen reader to navigate digital content will experience problems accessing a Google Map that has been embedded on a website. If you incorporate a Google Map as instructional material in your course, include:
    • a text-based description of the map above an embedded version.
    • a link to the full version of the map below an embedded version. The full version can be navigated with a screen-reader and one’s keyboard. For more information, please consult Accessibility in Google Maps.

Tips for Designing Collaborative “Drop a Pin on a Google Map” Assignments

If you have students collaboratively contribute content to a Google Map, here are some things to keep in mind.

Student Privacy

Creating a Google Account. Dropping a Pin on a Google Map requires a person to create a free Google account. Most students likely already have a Google account, but you may have students who prefer not to create one and that’s their prerogative.
    • If you have your students add to a Google Map, it is advisable that you create 1-2 generic Google accounts (using generic Gmail addresses you set up for this purpose) and keep these in your pocket to support students who may wish to use them. Provide the students with the username and password of an account and then change the password after the assignment or term. This allows students to contribute without passing any data associated with their name on to Google.
    • If students do not yet have a Google account and choose to create one, include a link to the Google Privacy Terms.
Contributing public content.
    • Inform students. Having your students create content for an assignment using Google Maps means they are making contributions that may be viewed by the public. Be sure to inform your students of the public nature of their contributions in advance -- do not assume they know this.
    • Encourage mindful contributions. Encourage your students to think critically about the content they choose to share. Keep this in mind as you design your prompts and include guidance as appropriate. For example, if you have your students drop a pin indicating where they are from, advise them to share a favorite public landmark, as opposed to a location that may reveal something private about them. Students are in control of what they share and our role as educators is to encourage them to make mindful choices.
    • Use first names. Students will need to identify themselves in the content they contribute in order for you to give credit for their contributions. Instruct them to include their first name and last initial only.

Accessibility Tips: 

    • Embed the collaborative Google map in an Assignment or Discussion in Canvas and include a link to the full map. Set the full map link to open in a new window/tab. The full map is accessible to students who use screen readers, while the embedded map is not.
    • Google Maps does not provide an alt-text field for the images that are uploaded with each new “dropped pin.” If you prompt students to add an image along with their pin, also instruct them to include a description of the image in the text box where they add their written narrative. For example, “The image here shows the Tower Bridge in Sacramento at night.”
    • Some students may have difficulty “Dropping a pin” on a map for a variety of reasons. To provide an additional option and create a more accessible workflow, include a link to a simple form that includes the fields: name, address/location you’d like to add to the map, links to images they’d like to add, and a written description of your location (or the specific prompt you are asking them to respond to) that includes a description of each image provided. You would be responsible for managing the content submitted through this form and adding it to the map.