Resources to assist in creating community-based or citizen mapping. While it goes under several names, it is the capacity for a group of persons who are not associated with a school or government agency to create their own set of spatial information.
Sure we all know how to find the nearest Starbucks on Google maps but they also allow you to create (in the loose sense) your own maps using the My Maps tab on the left side. Map places and routes you know. Add text, photos, or video, and share the results. Help information available on the My Maps tab.
Unlike Google Maps, Google Earth is a program that you download onto your computer. But like Google Maps it is more than just a pretty picture. You can use KML (Keyhole Markup Language) with it to put you on set of push pins, photos and polygons on the earth.
Created and maintained by Newberry Library, this is a free website where you can find and share historical information about Chicago. And it is done with MAPS!
GIS and KML data sources
In using Google Earth and Maps you can use KML files to personalize the map. You do this with KML files and there are a number of them available on line. In addition you can use GIS shapefiles (which are created and used by ArcGIS programs) and convert them to KML using converter programs so you can have a more readily usable source.
Shp2kml is a stand alone tool that transforms GIS layers to Google Earth. It uses as input the most common format file for GIS (ESRI shapefile) and generates a KML File.
Google Earth requires coordinates to be in Lat/Lon and referenced to the WGS84 datum. Shp2kml is able to transform the coordinate system. The input file can be Lat/Lon (Geographic) or UTM (Projected) coordinate system. Also shp2kml will change datums if required. It contains a list of around 200 datums.