The concept of "Storymapping
" - applying stories, often including photographs to something like Google Maps - is getting a lot of interest in the nonprofit community. Apparently, nonprofits aren't the only folks to be interested, as Google just released an incredibly smooth integration of Picassa
, their photo managing and editing software, and Google Maps. This integration makes adding your pictures and captions to Google Maps a matter of minutes.
Basically, the idea is that Google Maps has been integrated with Picasa’s Web Album functionality, allowing you to tag every picture in your Picassa
online albums with a geographic location. This means that people viewing your photos have a new way to look at them: a Google Maps-based geographic view.
Using the functionality is simple – you need to be using Picasa to manage your photos, and for creating online albums. Once you’ve
created an album by uploading your pictures, you view it on the web, and click ‘Map Photos’. You’ll be taken to a Google map, which can be manipulated in the usual ways. A sidebar shows all your photos, and you can just grab a photo and drop it on the map to tag it geographically. It remains there as a smaller, clickable
thumbnail, and when you’re done, you click ‘Done’. There are other tools that do this, but none even approach this simplicity.
For example, my husband just posted - in about three minutes flat - a map of our 4-ballpark tour
this past weekend. The pictures can now be viewed in the context of a map of the northeast, with the pictures we took appearing as thumbnails on a Google Map – with all of its native grabbing, moving, zooming, and satellite/map views. It even has a "Play" feature, which shows each of your photos one by one while zooming around the map for context.
It’s a nice new feature, and of course, it’s all built around Google’s vaguely creepy efforts to convince everyone to give them all of their data about everything. But the value that Picasa provides in combination with Google’s other offerings – first Blogger and now Google Maps – makes it a pretty attractive proposition.