Field trip map app??
April 19, 2017 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I am one of a few chaperones on an upcoming trip to DC. Instead of handing students a paper map of the area in which they can roam about, is there a more iPhone friendly option?

I was looking for a way to customize an online map and mark certain personalized landmarks such as where the bus will pick up, meeting points, etc. And also highlight a few things they might want to check out in their travels. It should hopefully help them navigate the area (moving dot?). A link or Url would be ok. I guess I'm not really sure if what I'm looking for exists. It would be super cool if all group members or at least the chaperones could be tracked so we can be found somewhat easily. Or like an option to text the chaperones? I know we can just give them the numbers but it would be great if I could somehow present this all to them digitally to keep on their phones. I'm open to any and all ideas. If any app developers steal this idea, please remember me and share those profits. (Poor public school teacher)
posted by mzwz to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take a look at the My Maps functionality in Google Maps. Info
posted by Simon_ at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2017

Yeah I was going to say Google Maps too. If you can project a computer screen it'd be an interesting project to do with the class. Then just send out the URL.

In order to track the students (or whomever) they would need a Google account and to enable location sharing. This might have some legal or safety implications for minors, I don't know. Google, like most sites, requires you to be 13 or older to set up an account.
posted by AFABulous at 2:11 PM on April 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

For those with iPhones they can do a "find friends" option which allows people to track them. It might be worth having them turn it on to at least communicate with the chaperones and then turning it off at the end of the day
posted by raccoon409 at 2:47 PM on April 19, 2017

Does everyone that needs a map have a smartphone? What if a phone runs out of battery? I'd suggest not ditching the paper maps entirely, no matter what solution you end up choosing.
posted by Aleyn at 3:03 PM on April 19, 2017 [4 favorites], every single one of the kids has an iPhone with unlimited data? Because, if not, I really feel sorry for that one kid (or more) who doesn't have one.

Sorry, don't mean to guilt you. One other thought, though:

Isn't this just the kind of activity that might help them learn how to use paper maps? That seems like a valuable skill that would be extremely handy in a future emergency. It could also help them communicate / consider non-iPhone-map users that they might work with.

One more thought: I think that the selective detail of paper maps is nice for getting people to look around their areas more, rather than being guided step-by-step by a GPS wayfinding app, or having to focus on looking at small screens, zooming/unzooming, navigating, and switching between other apps, taking photos, talking on the phone, etc. Maybe a paper map could at least open the possibility of putting the phones away entirely?

Sorry, it's a sweet idea, and you're a thoughtful person to bring it up; I just wonder if this is what you really want to do.
posted by amtho at 8:33 PM on April 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

with unlimited data

For those with smartphones, you can ask/require that they download downtown DC maps for offline use ahead of time, when wifi is accessible. This will also help with battery life.
posted by R a c h e l at 7:04 AM on April 20, 2017

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