Editor’s note: Every now and then we like to showcase innovative uses of Google Maps and Earth. Today we’re excited to welcome Don Rescigno, who is the Director of Marketing for NYSTROM Herff Jones Education, which has implemented the Google Earth and Maps API into educational software to make learning more interactive.

School Maps & Globes 2.0
NYSTROM Herff Jones Education Division & Roundarch use the Google Earth API to reinvent the classroom map and globe

Technology is changing the face of what today’s classrooms look like. In the United States alone, roughly one out of every five classrooms has an interactive whiteboard, like this:

These are steadily replacing the chalkboard and leave little to no room for traditional wall maps and charts.

As the leading producer of maps and globes for schools, NYSTROM Herff Jones Education Division saw an opportunity to deliver geographic information to educators – a market we’ve served more more than 100 years – through innovative technology. We partnered with Roundarch, a leader in digital design and technology, to help. Ultimately, we chose to use the Google Earth API to power our educational content and reinvent our products in ways never before possible. The result of our work is StrataLogica(TM).

Released late September 2009, StrataLogica is a revolutionary web-based product that delivers layers of age-appropriate, curriculum-based content for use in the classroom, school library, or at home. To meet grade-level curriculum standards, Nystrom mapped the world in many ways to illustrate various themes including physical features, political divisions, land cover, elevation, and U.S. and World history.

StrataLogica geo-references the content and presents it wrapped on the 3-D Earth allowing users to navigate and interact with our multi-layered world beyond the scope of traditional maps and globes.

Using the StrataLogica dual-map viewer, teachers and students can compare and contrast a variety of topics side by side. They can examine “then and now” by comparing, say, a World War II history map with a current political view (see image) of the same place.

Students can consider why people live where they do by creating side-by-side mash-ups of population, rainfall, and land use. They can also take advantage of Google Earth’s 3-D imagery by zooming down to satellite view to explore terrain or cities and communities around the world while keeping one globe view locked to provide context.

With the intuitive tool bar built on top of the API teachers and students can interact in numerous ways with content. They can add their own placemark pop-ups and include explanatory text, videos, or photos. They can use a ruler tool to measure distance. They can add their own text labels or drop in symbols to highlight land use, transportation, weather, and more. Each user can save this information to his or her account.

Nystrom and Roundarch have recently announced the addition of new StrataLogica features and functions that include collaboration, sharing, projects, and presentations. With these new capabilities students and teachers can work together to map curriculum content—exploration routes, famous battles, immigration patterns—in this online environment so learning to continue outside the confines of the classroom.

It’s our belief that with the release of StrataLogica, Nystrom is redefining the way schools will think about and provide this fundamental, relevant content. Today’s students are so technically savvy – they deserve resources that will feed their appetite for information while improving their educational lives. Though it was introduced only months ago, StrataLogica is already being adopted by schools and districts around the country. The overwhelming response has been that it inspires teachers and students in an entirely new way.

We invite you to see videos of StrataLogica in action and encourage educators to get a free trial at www.stratalogica.com. You can also follow Nystrom’s StrataLogica on Twitter at twitter.com/stratalogica.

Don Rescigno, Director of Marketing
NYSTROM Herff Jones Education Division

Representatives from both Nystrom and Roundarch will be participating at the annual Google I/O Conference this May in San Francisco, California.

Posted by Natasha Wyatt, Google Earth and Maps team