A Google Map of Britain... or so to speak

Kory Meudt

A Google Map of Britain...or so to speak
Some may argue that school and technology are not something you would always want to have together but the fact is today we are surrounded by technology. "Even before we stumble out of our beds for the day, technology is intertwined in our lives. As we sleep, our computers hum with activity as they clean a hard drive or download software updates; the digital video recorder saves the cable movie being shown in the middle of the night; and the programmable thermostat clicks on the heat as dawn approaches" (Kennedy, 2008). In schools, "teachers are responsible for juggling knowledge of where students are and where they need to go; having insights into students' special needs and progress; choices of curricular activities and materials; rules that govern children's participation; expectations from parents and communities; and the norms and rules that govern them as teachers. The addition of technology further complicates the equation and presents many new questions.
However, we should not think that technology cannot be used to learn. Jonassen, Peck and Wilson (1999) feel that "technology, similar to teachers, does not teach students; rather, students only learn when they construct knowledge, think and learn through experience. Technology is merely a tool to enable students to construct knowledge. Understanding cannot be conveyed to students through teachers or technology; rather, students construct understanding themselves through tools such as teachers and technology" (Jonassen, Peck, Wilson, 1999). With the understanding the students can further their knowledge and teachers with technology are both tools that enable students to learn and obtain knowledge they can use to disseminate.
The Gough Map Project:
They are many examples of different technological tools that students or simply people in general who wish to obtain greater knowledge can use. One unique technological tool that was recently created is the website for the Linguistic Geographies project featuring a focus on the 'Gough Map of Great Britian' found at http://www.goughmap.org/. This map is "has been dated to around 1360" and its "paleographical and linguistic evidence helps to reveal its significance as a visual depiction of an English island-realm, and its reflection of changing relations between England and Scotland a century on from when it appears first to have been composed. The key to such observations is the immensely rich analysis undertaken of the map’s writing, particularly the 600-plus place-names that cover the whole of Britain on the map." However, " The project’s focus on a map, as opposed to a conventional written text, thus opens up theoretical and conceptual issues about the relationships between ‘image’ and ‘text’ – for maps comprise both – and about maps as objects and artifacts with a complex and complicated ‘language’ of production and consumption."
What is great about this website is that it present the map in an easy to use form where people from around the globe can see the true map and see the finer details from the comfort of their home or research lab. This brings the map into a front view and it allows the map to be presented in its true form without requiring to make a replica copy that can take a very long time. While the actual map does provide some clues and is good to have the real thing, this digital form is still the next best thing.
The main technology being used here is a variation of Google maps. Having Google maps of the Gough Map of Britain allows a researcher to zoom in on the map and search for locations on the map. This also allows linking and the possibility of providing a full record of information on that particular place of the map. In figure 1 you can see the full record of Aberdeen. After searching or browsing for Aberdeen you can view this full record. It contains the finer details of this place. Also you can point back and click view on map to see the location in comparison to the entire Gough Map.
Figure 1

The benefit of having a Google map like this allows researchers in the perspective fields to quickly access the information of a source like this. Where as in the past you would first need to find a copy of the map, sometimes the copy wasn't very good. Next you would need to find the place you are looking for on the map and in some cases it was not there or blurred out. Finally you would then need to look up in another source of this place to find further information, usually this would be multiple sources. What this project does is complies the information and presents the entirety of the map to allow the knowledge that this provides to be easily shared and disseminated.


Jonassen, D.H., Peck, K.L., Wilson, B.G. (1999). Learning with technology: A constructivist perspective. Special Education, 16 (1). Prentice Hall. Retrieved from http://www.mendeley.com/research/learning-with-technology-a-constructivist-perspective/
Kennedy, M. (2008). Technology Push. American School & University. Retrieved from http://asumag.com/Construction/technology/technology_push_university_president/index.html

Budin, H. (1999). Teaching with technology: Creating student-centered classrooms. Teachers College Record, 100(3), P.656-669. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=ED402923