Social media and a tesco trolley

As I walk or jog around the estate where I live I often notice dumped Tesco trolley’s. Many of them are not collected for many weeks. It occurred to me that I could use Google maps to start mapping where the trolley’s are. Then over time it would give a clearer picture as to how many are dumped and littering the streets.

View Where’s the tesco trolley? in a larger map

Using Google maps in such a way is a very quick and simple method to highlight a message, cause or story. It is also a way to start a larger debate, such as, how far do Tesco’s and other supermarkets go to stop their trolley’s from going astray. Morrison’s use a coin method. Tesco’s uses a brake which locks a wheel once it goes past a certain point. What do other supermarkets do and how successful are they?

I learnt how to do this when I was providing classroom support during an online lesson by Glyn Mottershead. Below are instructions to create your own Google map, add placemarkers and embed into a blog.

Firstly you need a Google account. Once signed into Google, go to Google maps. On the left side you should see a link for My Maps (next to Get Directions). Click on My Maps and then click Create New Map. Add a name and direction and set the privacy as required.

Here’s the fun bit. You will now see 3 new icons on the map, a hand, a placemarker and a line. The hand moves the map in the usual way so you can locate and zoom into the area you are interested in.

The placemarker allows you to add a placemark at specific points on the map. Click, move and drop a placemarker on to the map. An info box opens so the placemarker can be named and a description added. Images, YouTube videos and lots more can be embedded into the HTML section.

Click OK, save the changes and then click Done.

That’s how to create your own Google map.

To embed the map into a blog post, click Link at the far right of the map. Copy the text from the second field (Paste HTML to embed in website). Then click “Edit HTML” from within the blog post editor. Next, paste the map’s code into the body of your post. That’s it!

Every time your Google map is updated with new placemarks, it will be shown in the blog post. There’s much more you can do with Google maps, such as the Line tool, which I haven’t described here. Its well worth having a try and seeing what you can do.

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About shazmagill

I work as a Senior Technical Demonstrator and Lecturer in digital storytelling at Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University. I teach and support any tools necessary for our students to function as journalists or media practitioners. This means anything from audio recording techniques, video editing, photography and print and mobile publishing. I have recently completed MA in Arts Practice (Fine Art) at the University of South Wales exploring the subjective and objective view and community storytelling through art of the Rhondda valley.
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