Atlas of Historic NM Maps
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About the Atlas
Lesson Plans
UNM Press
NM Centennial

An Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, 15501941

Adding Your Own Maps

Maps uploaded to the Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps should not be the work of one student, but rather the finished work of the entire class.

Creating maps in Google Earth that you can upload to the New Mexico Atlas of Historic Maps is basically easy, but can get as technically complex as your students want.

Downloading and Installing Google Earth


Google Earth runs on free software, which must be downloaded and installed.

System Requirements


Using Google Earth

Google Earth User Guide (see link below)

Google Earth offers excellent technical support in this user guide for basic tasks. If you are new to Google Earth, take some time to familiarize yourself with the following tasks.

Finding Places: Finding a Point of Interest

Marking Places, Saving a Point of Interest

Walk your students through using some of these exercises to establish familiarity with the software. Depending on their comfort level and technical ability, assign students into groups so that each group has a tech expert, a researcher, and an editor.

The tech expert is responsible for creating the markers and coding whatever HTML is necessary.

The researcher finds information, answers to questions, media, and credits.

The editor puts the pieces together into a coherent form and keeps track of the project.

Google Earth User Guide


Marking Places, Saving a Point of Interest

Creating and Editing Markers

Creating a Marker

Read the documentation on creating markers, points of interest, and images (see link below). This documentation includes tutorials on adding markers.

Note that the marker properties altitude and view do not translate when viewed in Google Maps.

Editing a Marker

Read the documentation on repositioning placemarks, writing descriptions, changing labels, and more (link below).

Text formatting, media embedding, and hyperlinks require the use of basic HTML tags. A PDF reference for that is linked below.

Embedding media: on YouTube, Picasa, or Flickr pages, there is a field labeled "Embed Code", with some text in a box. Copy ALL the text, and paste it ALL into the text description for the marker. This will embed that media into the marker's info window. TeacherTube has the embed code, but it does not work as well. If linking to media at TeacherTube, use a regular HTML link, which can also be copied from the same area to the right of the video.

Google Earth: creating markers, points of interest, and images

Google Earth: Editing a Marker

Basic HTML tags (PDF)

Another HTML Cheat Sheet

Document Management and Web Publishing

Your class may wish to include more information than will fit in a marker, in which case they can publish a web page, and link to that page from their marker.

You can set up a work area at a free document handling service, and allow students shared access to this work area. A service like Google docs allows uploads of pdfs, word docs, text files, and HTML files, and offers simple word processing tools for creating documents and publishing them to the Internet. A document is private until the owner clicks the "share" button and then clicks the "publish" button. The student can then get a link to use from the marker in Google Earth.

A Wiki also offers an area where students can add and edit text and media to create and publish web pages. In both cases, the workspace can be set up so that students can establish their own accounts, and simply share documents in the common space, but this is not optimal for privacy reasons. However, if a student abuses their uploading privileges, you can have them turn in their material to you as digital files (Word, text, etc.) and you can upload it.


WikiSpaces offers free private or protected spaces for educators to set up student wikis. The tools are simple. Private spaces are not viewable, so if you are linking to this content from an uploaded KML file, change the settings of your wiki to "protected" rather than "private."

Google Docs

WikiSpaces: Register as a Teacher

Saving the KML File

Please note that Google Maps currently supports KML files with points, lines, polygons, styles, icons, and network links (without view-based refresh), ground overlays, screen overlays, folders, and visibility.

Have each student save their KML files to a disc or a directory. Open up your own version of Google Earth. In the Places pane, create a folder to put all the class work (right click Places to get the option to add a folder). Open each student's KML file, which should be a folder of markers, and save it to the class folder (see above link, saving a point of interest). With a single click, select your entire class folder, and save it as KML. This can be done by right-clicking the folder, and selected "save place as," then using the pull-down menu to select ".KML" (as opposed to .kmz, which is the default). Alternately, you can click on the folder once, click on the File menu, and select the same options. The resulting file is the one you should upload to the Atlas.

Save individual placemarks, shapes, or entire folders by right-clicking (CTRL click on the Mac) the item and selecting Save As...from the pop-up menu.

Google Earth: creating KML files

Common Libraries and Resources

As the teacher, you will want to establish some common information resources that will both provide a stable location for media hosting, and allow students to upload media they have originated, digitized or found.

Free image hosting resources that support geotagging include Picasa or Flickr. Picasa editor (must be downloaded and installed) allows students to caption, geotag, and edit their photos, then export the tagged photos as a KML file.

TeacherTube is a free resource for hosting audio, video, documents, and images. The service is similar to YouTube, in that you can control commenting, categories, and albums, but will not be blocked from school servers like YouTube often is.

Students should only upload original media or media they are sure is copyright-free, or that they are using with permission. The media hosting services and the Humanities Council reserve the right to remove materials that violate copyright or are used without permission.




Resources for Public Domain Material

Historical Images

Images of New Mexico

Large Public Domain Archives

Library of Congress American Memory

New Mexico's Digital Collections

Time/Life Image Collection

National Park Service Digital Image Index

BLM Image Library

New Mexico Tourism Photo Library

New Mexico Tourism Video Library

U.S. Government Photos and Multimedia

Wikipedia: Public Domain Image Resources

Internet Archive Project

Creative Commons

Uploading KML Files

Register as a teacher at this website by clicking on the Register link above. Select the option for Teacher, and fill in the requested information. You will receive an email with a link to confirm. Click this link, and your account will be activated. When your teacher application is approved, you will receive an email telling you that you have been automatically upgraded to Teacher, and you will be able to upload KML files.

Go to pages of the Atlas with maps on them, and you will see an icon to the right of the map to upload KML. Click this icon, and fill in the name you wish to appear in the legend ("Mr. Jones' History Class" "Springer HS History Map"), then click the "Browse" button to find the file on your computer. Click upload. You will get a message when the file has uploaded.

Finally, click the link for Student Maps (at the bottom of the page) and you will see your new files. The icons may seem crammed together, if you have many markers in a small region, but zoom in and they will resolve.

If you wish to delete files, go to the link in the upper right hand corner marked "Your Account." On this page, you can delete uploaded KML files and saved map views.

Below is the file uploaded to make the sample markers on the student map. Open this into Google Earth to view the code used for each effect. Alternately, open it into Notepad or Text Edit to see the file as editable plain text.

KML file: Sample markers for Atlas

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