Adventure Photography: Use screenshots with Google Maps & Streetview

This lesson plan is designed for grades 1-12. It teaches you how to explore the world and make a photo log of what you see and where you saw it using screenshots. There's a teachers prep page for teachers. 

You'll need a computer that can watch YouTube videos with sound. 

1. Orientation

  1. Maps Overview 2-Minutes

    Watch this 2-minute overview of Maps to the right ->
  2. Go to Google Maps.
  3. Enter your School's address
  4. Find the school on the map. Zoom in on the left with the bar until you see your school and several roads. 
  5. On the map, in the upper right, click the "Map" button. Which way is North?
  6. Click the "Satellite" button. 
  7. Click "Labels" on and off. What time of year is it in the photo? Where is the sun shining from? About what time of day you think the photo was taken? Where was it taken from? How was it taken?
  8. Click the "Traffic" button. What's up with that? How would Google get traffic info? Who would might they ask?
  9. Click the map and drag it somewhere. 
  10. Click "More" and check some boxes. 
  11. Click the "Labs" icon in the top of the screen. "Enable" Distance Measurement Tool", and "Short URL"


  1. Find your home by entering your address or by exploring. Can you tell about what year the photo was taken?
  2. Zoom all the way out, as far as you can. Do you see the world? 
OK. You're ready to learn about Street View. 

Overview: Streetview, 2-Minutes

2. Street View Training

  1. Watch the 2-Minute Overview of Streetview to the right ->
  2. Close any other open tabs or Web browser windows. 
  3. Click to See a high school in Japan
  4. Zoom in until it changes to Street View! 
  5. Walk forward.
  6. Look up.
  7. Turn around.
  8. Zoom in.
  9. Zoom out until you can see a street from above.
  10. Drag the orange man to a street you want to view and see if turns blue. If it does, drop him there. If it doesn't, zoom out and explore until you can find a street that turns blue when the man is dropped over it. (The ones that turn blue have been photographed.)


  1. How do you think they make Street View? What kind of camera would take a photo that would make it so you could see all around? 
  2. This is a street view camera: They live on the roof of cars.
  3. Here's a Street View Car in action. 

3. Screen Shot Training

Your teacher will now show some ways to take a photo of your screen. Your goal is to learn to take a screen shot of only the part of the screen that is the map, like the one at the right. 
  1. Practice taking a screen shot of part of the screen with the map. 
  2. Save it to your desktop or a folder you can find on the computer or in your account. 
Now you've got to learn a good way to log the location of every screen shot. It's almost impossible to find locations later! There are several ways of doing this and maybe you can figure out a new way!
  • Snap your screen shot when the ID info is on the map, like the images to the right. Example 1 | Example 2.
  • Put the country, city, street, address in the file name of the screen shot.
  • Log the location of every screen shot's link. The link for the location of where you are is in Google Maps in the upper right of the screen.

4. Adventure Photography

Now you can use Google Maps and Street View like a pro. You can take screen shots and find them on your desktop. 

Here are some challenges:
  1. Here's a sign for a drug store in JapanFind a sign on a store in a language you teacher assigns you in a major city of their choice. Take a photo. 
  2. Go to the Bangalore Central Mall in India. Explore, are the plants different in Bangalore India? 
  3. Go to the Dummerston School in Vermont. Are the plants different there?
  4. Go to New York City. Find a bicycle.
  5. What are the three strange shapes in the ocean here? Where is this?
  6. Which way would you have to walk to see the sun set on this Australian Desert Highway?
  7. Street View snowmobile mapping a famous ski area. Can you find the shadow of the snowmobile that took the photo?
  8. Find the Great Pyramids of Egypt. From how high can you see them?
  9. What and where is the coolest thing you can find in Google Maps?

Good luck out there - Caleb.