3 Powerful Google Maps AI Features

Google Maps AI

Google has seamlessly integrated generative AI into its flagship navigation product, Google Maps, significantly enhancing its capabilities and transforming it into a powerhouse tool for both exploration and discovery. Leveraging the immense potential of artificial intelligence, users can now tap into a suite of innovative features that redefine the way we interact with maps and navigate the world around us.

In this post, I share with you three important AI-powered features in Google Maps that are especially helpful for us in education. From transforming Google Maps into an AI-powered search engine to providing Immersive Views of locations worldwide, and the novel integration of Search with Lens in Maps, Google is setting a new standard for digital mapping services.

Related: 20 Best TED Talks on AI

Google Maps AI Features

Here are three important Google Maps AI features that are especially relevant to us teachers and educators together with ways to use them for educational purposes:

1. Making Maps An AI-Powered Search Engine

Making Maps  An AI-Powered Search Engine

With the introduction of generative AI, Google Maps is now empowered with huge search-like capabilities opening up a myriad of possibilities for both everyday users and educators alike. You simply input a query and Maps offers a wide variety of AI-powered suggestions relevant to your query. Here are some examples of how to use this feature:

  • Field Trips: Teachers planning field trips could use “historical landmarks near me” to find educational sites that offer a practical learning experience outside the classroom.
  • Geography Lessons: Searching for “geographical features in [area]” could help in teaching students about the physical characteristics of different regions, from the Grand Canyon to the Sahara Desert.
  • Cultural Studies: Inputting “cultural centers” or “museums” followed by a specific city or country can aid in discovering places that offer insights into the cultural heritage and history of a place.
  • Weekend Activities: Families looking for something to do can search for “family-friendly activities this weekend” to find zoos, parks, or fun fairs happening around them.
  • Educational Outings: Parents interested in educational outings can search for “science museums” or “interactive exhibits for kids” to find engaging learning experiences.
  • Culinary Adventures: Searching for “best street food” followed by a specific location can guide food lovers to local delicacies and food markets.
  • Specialty Cuisine: Queries like “authentic Italian restaurants” or “vegan options nearby” help food enthusiasts find dining spots that cater to specific tastes or dietary requirements.
  • Cultural Events: Searching for “local festivals” while visiting a new city can bring up events like the Lantern Festival in Taipei or the Oktoberfest in Munich, providing a deeper cultural immersion.
  • Hidden Gems: Queries like “hidden beaches” or “secluded hikes” can reveal less-known spots for those looking to escape the crowds.

2. Immersive View

Google Maps AI- Immersive View

Immersive View in Google Maps is an excellent AI-powered feature that will definitely enhance the way you interact with and explore locations around the world. Google Maps now users AI technology to put together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a highly detailed, 3D representation of places. This technology allows users to virtually navigate and experience a location as if they were there, offering insights into the layout, ambiance, and even the current weather conditions of the area.

For us in education, immersive view feature provides limitless opportunities for learning. You can use it to take students on virtual field trips to historical sites, natural wonders, or cities being studied in class. This can enhance learning by providing a realistic sense of place and scale that photos or videos alone cannot convey.

Here are some ways to use Immersive View in your teaching:

  • Virtual Field Trips: Take students on immersive virtual tours of historical landmarks, museums, and natural wonders around the world, providing a rich, contextual backdrop for lessons in history, geography, and science.
  • Geography Lessons: Help students explore and understand geographical concepts by virtually visiting different landscapes, from mountain ranges and river systems to urban areas and agricultural regions.
  • Cultural Studies: Enhance lessons on cultural diversity by exploring neighborhoods, marketplaces, and public spaces in cities around the globe, discussing architectural styles, urban planning, and social dynamics.
  • Environmental Science: Use Immersive View to examine ecosystems, biodiversity hotspots, and areas affected by climate change or human activity, fostering discussions on conservation and sustainability.
  • Art and History: Explore the exteriors and surroundings of famous museums, historical sites, and monuments, setting the stage for deeper discussions on art history and historical events.
  • Language and Literature: Connect literary works and languages with their geographical and cultural contexts by exploring the settings of novels, poems, and historical texts.
  • STEM Education: For subjects like engineering and technology, demonstrate real-world applications by exploring infrastructure, engineering marvels, and technological innovations in different cities.
  • Physical Education and Health: Discuss the importance of public spaces, parks, and recreational areas in maintaining community health and encouraging physical activity.

3. Search with Lens in Maps

Search with Lens in Maps

“Search with Lens in Maps” is a transformative feature within Google Maps that integrates augmented reality (AR) technology to provide users with real-time information about their surroundings. By activating Lens within the Maps app and pointing their phone’s camera at buildings, landmarks, shops, or streets, users can instantly see overlaid information on their screen.

This feature taps into Google’s vast database to bring up relevant details such as business names, reviews, opening hours, and other useful data directly onto the physical world as seen through the phone’s camera.

Here are some ways to use search with Lens in Maps for educational purposes:

  • Historical Site Exploration: Students can point their phones at historical landmarks to receive instant information about their history, significance, and related facts, enhancing field trips or local history lessons.
  • Language Learning: By translating signs, menus, and other texts in real-time, students learning new languages can practice reading and comprehension in real-world scenarios.
  • Science Field Trips: During visits to parks, nature reserves, or botanical gardens, students can use Lens to identify plant species, geological formations, and wildlife, linking theoretical knowledge with practical observations.
  • Art and Architecture Studies: When exploring art galleries, museums, or city streets, students can get information about artists, architectural styles, and historical contexts of buildings and artworks.
  • Cultural Immersion: In multicultural studies, students can explore neighborhoods, cultural landmarks, and community centers, accessing information about different cultural practices, cuisines, and traditions.
  • Math and Geometry in Real Life: Students can observe and calculate real-world dimensions and distances of buildings, streets, and spaces, making abstract mathematical concepts tangible.

Final thoughts

In wrapping up, Google’s integration of generative AI into Google Maps is a transformation that enriches our interaction with the world in profound ways. For educators, parents, and students alike, the enhancements brought about by AI-powered search capabilities, Immersive View, and Search with Lens in Maps open up new avenues for exploration, learning, and discovery. Whether it’s embarking on virtual field trips, diving deep into the intricacies of geographical features, or bringing historical landmarks to life right before our eyes, these features equip us with the tools to make learning more engaging, interactive, and meaningful.

The post 3 Powerful Google Maps AI Features appeared first on Educators Technology.


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