Apps in Action: Exploring Places with iOS Maps

Apple’s own Maps app comes preinstalled on iOS devices and is a fantastic tool to use in the classroom. There are many mapping tools available on the AppStore, yet few offer an experience quite like Apple’s own. Plus, since it is preinstalled on iOS, you do not have to ask learners to download the app either in advance or at the time.

Exploring Places
As a Geographer, I use the satellite imagery function frequently to allow learners to explore places we are studying. To bring maps to life even more, it is possible to view maps of certain locations in 3D:
(Clockwise from top left: Yosemite National Park (California, USA), Big Ben (London, UK), Manhattan Skyline (New York, USA) and Eiffel Tower (Paris, France))

What I love about using this is the fact that it puts learners in control, it’s a new version of a virtual field trip. Resources like photos and videos of places or features are great, however they are limited in the sense that you only get to see things from that perspective. Using the 3D maps, learners can explore places for themselves and look at the things that they way which I often find leads them to ask really great questions about places.

To explore place in 3D simply search for the location and then select Show 3D Map:

To navigate around the space, use the usual iPad multi touch gestures like pinch to zoom.

Sharing Locations with Learners
Once you have found the place you would like learners to visit, click the pin then click the Share icon which brings up a number of options including the option to share on Twitter. This is a great way of getting a link out to learners quickly. However, if they do not use Twitter in your school follow these steps to share the location as a QR Code:

– Locate the place
– Click the pin then the share icon
– Share on Twitter and click post when the dialogue box comes up
– Go to Twitter and copy the URL
– Paste the URL into a QR code generator like QRStuff
– Either display or print the QR code and get learners to scan it using a QR reader, like i-nigma (Free)

This method can be used for known locations like cities or landmarks or by dropping your own pin on the map.

3D Flyovers
As well as allowing you to explore places independently, Maps also includes a series of stunning, interactive 3D Flyover Tours:

To begin a Flyover Tour, select a location and choose Launch Flyover Tour. The app will automatically trigger the tour, however the user can intervene at any point, if they see a place of interest for example, just by using the usual multi touch gestures. An up to date list of locations where Flyover Tour is available can be found here.

Apple Maps has come a long way since it was introduced in 2012 and has been updated frequently, introducing new features and fixing bugs. The 3D maps and Flyover function are simply stunning and provide a highly engaging way for learners to discover and explore locations around the world.

MapsMaps by Apple is available for free and comes preinstalled on iOS devices.


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