Paper No. 35-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
COMPARING GOOGLE EARTH AND MY MAPS IN DISSEMINATING GEOLOGIC FIELD SITE INFORMATION
In Mercer County, NJ, as in many other counties, there is no centralized database of geologic field sites available to K-16 teachers or to the general public. Such a dataset would serve as a source of information on where to go to see specific geologic outcrops and provide detailed information of each site. Google Earth and My Maps are interactive mapping programs that were compared to determine which one would be more efficient in providing geologic field trip information to the public. A database of ten geologic locations in Mercer County was constructed as the base map for each program. Each site location, in both programs, has a ‘pop-up’ pin that allows the viewer to learn about specific sites including the rocks and minerals found there, structural information, outcrop age, safety issues, or any other information an administrator wants to add, including photographs. The essential functions tested included the ease of adding new site locations, editing site information, adding photographs, and end-user experience. For either program, the ease of use for teachers and for the general public, is paramount, because the moment a program becomes frustrating to use, it will be abandoned. For an administrator of the database, the ease of updating site information and managing the user-experience is most important. After building the base maps and comparing the functions of each program, My Maps was easier to use, both for the end-user and for the administrator, mainly because it is a web-based program, which allows the end-user to obtain revised versions of a map seemlessly. Google Earth does provide more features, but is more complicated to use for the end-user mainly because it is a stand-alone program that needs to be downloaded and any database updates have to be manually initiated by the end-user.