Create Interesting KMZ Files on the Thematic Mapping Engine

Thematic Mapping Engine provides users with a very simple way to create Google Earth kmz files. Thematic Mapping draws on data provided by the United Nations to create maps depicting all types of development data and environmental science data. Users select a statistical indicator category, select a year or range of years, and the manner in which they would like the data displayed in Google Earth. If you're using a Windows computer you can preview your files before downloading them. Below is an image of the KMZ file I created using the Thematic Mapping Engine.

Applications for Education
Thematic Mapping could be used in Social Studies, Math, or Environmental Science courses. A map depicting GDP Per Capita would be useful in math if students are studying the differences between mean and median. The same map would also be useful in a Social Studies course where students are studying the distribution of wealth. There are a number of environmental science indicators available from Thematic Mapping one that may be particular useful for Environmental Science students is the CO2 Emissions Per Capita theme.

Thematic Mapping Engine recommends using Firefox as your web browser.

Mapping the Bible In Google Earth

A few years ago I shared a small collection of interactive maps based on Biblical stories. Recently, through the Google Earth Blog, I learned about a collection of Google Earth files that map Biblical stories. The blog Biblical Studies and Technological Tools put together a collection of seven Google Earth files. A couple of the files that I downloaded from the collection were a Complete list of Bible Place KMZ and Biblical Rivers and Bodies of Water (both links trigger KMZ/ KML file downloads).

Applications for Education
These files follow the same format that can be applied to mapping any book. The correlation between place and text can help students have a better understanding of the complete context of what they are studying.

These maps might be useful for anyone teaching a course on religion. The maps also provide a model that students can use to create their own maps of religious stories.

How to Find Google Earth Files Without Opening Google Earth

One of the things that teachers almost always ask me when I introduce them to Google Earth is, "how do you find all of these files?" Google Earth has a lot of great layers of information built in. Simply open the "layers" drop-down menu in Google Earth and select a layer to view it (remember, the more layers you select the slower Google Earth will run). You can also open the "Earth Gallery" in Google Earth to find and add more layers to your view of Google Earth. You can also search online for KMZ and KML files to view in Google Earth. The directions for doing that are included in the screenshots below (click the images to view them in full size).

Enter a search term. In this case I am looking for files related to World War II. You could also do a search for something like "Maine Seafood." You have to enter a search term and do the search before you will see the screen pictured below.

In the advanced search menu select "file type" then select KMZ or KML.

Alternatively, you can search by file type by entering filetype: KMZ after your search term.

To clarify, you will have to open the file in Google Earth to see its contents. This method is just for finding files to use in Google Earth.