Sree Sreenivasan posts a column on Google Map tools
February 3rd, 2006 by JTJ

Posted, Jan. 31, 2006
Updated, Jan. 31, 2006

Your Own Google Maps
Map-making made easy.

By Sree Sreenivasan
(more by author)

Columbia Dean of Students & Poynter Visiting Prof


  • Web Tips Frappr Project
  •'s Essential Resources for Google Maps
  • See also:

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    We are seeing customized versions of Google Maps
    being used in all kinds of creative ways across the Web. When you get a
    chance, check out the dozens of interesting implementations at Lifehack's Essential Resources for Google Maps.

    These customized maps are easy to use, but not really easy to create. Even with such guides as “How to add a Google Map to any webpage in less than 10 minutes” and tools like, creating your own customized map is something best left to ultra-techies (I am not one; I haven't tried it myself).

    But there is another, easier option for creating your own maps using
    what I have been calling a collective media project. For several
    columns now, I have been asking you to to help us with the Web Tips Frappr Project — a way to show you how the free site uses Google Maps to create maps just for you.

    More than 180 responses came in, identifying Web Tips readers around
    the world — the cyber equivalent of sticking color-coded pins on a
    wall map.

    Web Tips Frappr Project
    Readers of this column can join the Web Tips Frappr Project.

    I have been using
    Frappr to create several different Google Maps. Among them: one to
    track every city that my two-year-old twins have visited; another to
    track the towns in India that I am taking 16 of my Columbia students on
    a reporting trip; a map to link members of my extended family around
    the world; and another for the cities that my father served in as an
    Indian diplomat. While these are, in theory, publicly visible, because
    they aren't really linked to anything, they benefit from “security by
    obscurity.” If a Google Map is created in the virtual forest, does
    anyone know?

    You can see some of your fellow readers by going to the Web Tips Frappr Project right now. If you'd like to join them, when you get there, click on “add yourself” on the right of your screen.

    If you live in the U.S., put in your name and zip code. Attach a
    photo (if you wish — optional!). Remove the “Create a Frappr Account
    for me” (if you don't want one) by clicking on checkbox. Hit “Add Me.”

    If you live outside the U.S., put in your name, then click on “Not
    in the U.S.? Click Here.” Start typing your city, and a menu with your
    city should show up. Attach a photo (optional). Remove the “Create a
    Frappr Account for me” (if you don't want one) by clicking on checkbox.
    Hit “Add Me.”

    I look forward to your Google Maps and Frappr feedback at this link or via e-mail to

    Speaking of maps, see Jon Dube's column about using a site called Placeopedia.

    In a future column, Jon or I will discuss how to use the downloadable Google Earth software (now available for Macs, too) for more than just looking at your childhood home or the Grand Canyon.

    Meanwhile, I am still working on my follow-up column about Social Networking for Journalists, and looking to connect with readers at

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