Since the earliest days of world exploration, maps have told compelling stories to people who may never see the places depicted. Topographical lines on paper only go a small way to recreate the traveller's experience, however, and the rest depends on the viewers' imagination. Now, personalized and interactive maps are stretching those boundaries, and helping nonprofits to bring their messages home.
Hundreds of millions of people now use Google Earth and Google Maps to
explore the world around them. Google Earth Outreach gives non-profits and
public benefit organizations like yours the knowledge and resources you need
to... get users engaged and passionate about your work.
"We used to take reporters and decision-makers on day-long tours, first flying over the
coal fields and then driving through coal field communities to hear first-hand accounts
from local residents," explains Appalachian Voices.
"Thanks to Google Earth, a good approximation of that tour is now
accessible to anyone with a computer and a high-speed internet
Google Earth and Google Maps
let anyone can create a custom map — and share it by sending a link,
or embed on a web page. Personalized and annotated, even enhanced with
photographs and videos, online maps can help to engage your supporters
in a way that bare text never can. New features now let you collaborate
with others and import geographical data to customize a map.
You've probably already thought of a couple of ways in which your
organization could use a personalized map — to illustrate your field
work, give directions to an event, to explain a travel itinerary, to
map the geographical distribution of your members and supporters, to
locate resources for field workers and volunteers, and the list of
possibilities goes on.
Visit Google Earth Outreach's showcase of nonprofit case studies for more inspiration.
It's worth noting that no special technical skills are
build a personalized Google "My Map" — anyone can make a map, free of charge —
and Google Maps alone does offer plenty of features for most of us. But if
you've got the know-how and resources, you could create some
really innovative map-based presentations using the enhanced features
that are available with Google Earth.
As a non-profit organization, you may use Google Earth Free to view
and create KML files. Google Earth Free is not to be used for providing
a paid service to other companies or organizations, of course, but you
are free to post your KML files on your website, or email them to your
partners, donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries.Compare products to determine whether the
free version of Google Earth will work for your project, or whether you need Google Earth Pro.
If your organization needs the full power of the Pro version, you
may be eligible for a license grant — organizations with a 501(c)(3)
tax status in the United States may apply for a Google Earth
Pro license grant, and Google Earth Outreach is also accepting applications from eligible charities based in
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.