June 6-10: Google Maps and Language Workshop

AILDI Website

The University of Arizona

Instructors: Ben Colombi, Ph.D. Cynthia Annett, Ph.D 

Cost: $500; student rate (with valid ID) $375

This five-day workshop will use free Google geospatial technologies as a digital platform for indigenous mapping. These tools include geospatial technologies (Google Earth Pro, Google My Maps, Tour Builder, Fusion Tables) as well as data collection tools (Kobo Collect). These can help you illustrate the close relationship between your communities and their land, enabling you to tell your own stories, in your own languages, from your own perspective. Increasingly, Indigenous peoples around the world have utilized geospatial technologies to defend and claim ancestral lands, manage natural resources, plan economic development, enhance lesson plans for language and culture and promote language revitalization.

If you attended the Google Mapping and Language workshop in March, consider this workshop as an opportunity to expand your skills and apply all of the Google mapping tools into a map of your own. If this will be your first Google Mapping and Language workshop, all of the topics will be reviewed and hands-on application will be self-paced for maximum engagement. Because the workshop will span five full days, there will also be more time for one-on-one instruction.

Required Equipment and Tools

You will need a Google Account; if you do not already have one please sign up before the conference begins Google Account Sign-up
You will need a laptop and it will need to be able to support the tools below. Your laptop will need to connect to WIFI.
We will be working with mobile devices as well, so a smartphone or a tablet will be useful. If you don't have one we can share.

We will use the following tools, please make sure that they are available and work on your laptop; some require downloads, please install them before the workshop. Please make sure that if you are using a school or work computer that the filters do not block the tools we will use (you can talk to your IT office about changing the filters if you cannot access the tools below on your computer).

Google Mapping Tools

Offline Interview Tools

Required Browsers


 Content Management

Note: Google Earth Pro requires a license key; if you do not have a key, use your email address and the key GEPFREE to sign in

Tour Builder

Google Earth Plug-in

Google Maps

Google My Maps

Google Drive



Google Photos

Case Studies

Google Earth Outreach website

We will use a series of case studies to demonstrate the mapping and content management tools, but you will be creating your own projects during the workshop. Please come with ideas, photos, location data and other materials for map building.

  • Surui Cultural Map 
    • More information here
    • Watch the video here
    • Download and view the map from this webpage
    • Surui Forest Carbon Project Watch the video here

Mapping Workshop Sessions

AILDI Google Earth
Google Earth Pro
  • Stores user data offline on computer hard drive - privacy, security
  • Immersive 3D experience
  • Create points, lines and polygons in 3D
  • Create flythroughs, export to video, tours 
  • Works offline using cached imagery and saves user content offline
  • Search for locations using Google Maps data
  • Visualize your GPS tracks and share
  • Go back in time with historical imagery
  • Google Earth Pro is compatible with ArcGIS files
Tour Builder
 Tour Builder
  • Tour Builder is a new way to use Google Earth for storytelling (especially good for presentations)
  • You can import KML or drop pins on the map, add photos, text, and video
  • Private, public or share with specific people
  • 3D tours with the Google Earth plugin running in Firefox or Internet Explorer (works in 2D only in Chrome)
Google My Maps
  • Create custom maps collaboratively to share online
  • Can embed on a website
  • Works on Desktop and Mobile seamlessly
  • User/role - private, editor, view with link only, and public
  • Export to KML for Google Earth
  • Import from Excel/Google Spreadsheet and KML
  • Create maps on Android devices
  • Navigate using custom maps
Google Sheets
 Google Drive Sheets and Forms
  • Spreadsheet that is compatible with Excel, My Maps, Fusion Tables, Google Earth Pro
  • Works online, offline, desktop, tablet and mobile 
  • Chat and comment in real time with collaborators on any device
  • Retains every version of every change in revision history
  • Can embed in a website
  • Compatible with other office suites (Microsoft Office) on Apple, Android
  • Link to Google Form for surveys
KoBo ToolBox and Open Data Kit 
  • Create forms for data collection and deploy to mobile devices
  • Use offline in the field
  • Data can be stored online or on your private server
  • Responses are entered into a spreadsheet or Fusion Table
  • GPS coordinates are entered automatically 
  • Photos, video and audio can be entered into database
AILDI Fusion Tables
 Google Fusion Tables 
  • An online Database with advanced visualization tools
  • Location data can be addresses, GPS coordinates, or KML
  • Filter and summarize across hundreds of thousands of rows 
  • Create charts, maps, network graphs or custom layout
  • Embed in website or share it in Google Drive
  • Combine multiple tables
  • Make a map in minutes
  • Host data online - control sharing permissions for collaboration

Google Ecosystem
 Google Tools Ecosystem

All of the Google Tools are compatible and easily integrated to create a rich media platform for your maps
  • Google Drive for file storage and sharing
  • Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Fusion Tables for collaboration
  • Google Sites for user friendly websites
  • Picasaweb and Google Photos for image storage
  • Google My Maps and Tour Builder for online mapping
  • Google Earth for added privacy
  • YouTube and Google Drive Videos for online video storage and sharing