Google for Nonprofits Newsletter - August 2011

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Leslie Hernandez

Aug 31, 2011, 12:44:41 PM8/31/11

Google for Nonprofits Newsletter - August 2011
Your monthly round-up of the latest news and notes from Google for Nonprofits.
August 31, 2011
In this issue
By the way
What's new
Tools in action
Expert corner

By the way TOP
Greetings from the team at Google for Nonprofits! With everyone heading back to school, we’ve started to think about additional educational tools & resources that we can develop for you. Read on to take a quick 5-10 minute survey to give us feedback on your educational needs for Google for Nonprofits. Additionally, check out the latest product updates, insights from Phil Verney from Google Earth Outreach, and a success story from Americorps in response to the Joplin tornadoes. Wishing you a great September.

What's newTOP
Map Makerpedia Launches with Crowdsourced Lessons, Articles & Tutorials for Google Map Maker
Google Map Maker allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth. Map Makerpedia is a new crowdsourced guide for Google Map Maker that features lessons, articles, and tutorials. Alongside the Lat Long Blog and the Map Your World community, Map Makerpedia is part of Google’s effort to highlight the contributions of individuals and organizations. Similar to a Wiki, the site allows users to both submit content and make edits. As one example of how NPOs can use Map Makerpedia, learn how mappers mapped slums to ensure maps are up-to-date and that slum areas are represented accurately here.

Google for Nonprofits Wants to Hear from You!
We’re constantly looking for new ways to provide the best tools & resources for our Google for Nonprofits users. To that end, we’ve created a short survey to learn more about your educational preferences to help us pilot some new learning programs for Google for Nonprofits. Please take 10-15 minutes to share your feedback with us related to Google tools & resources in the following survey.

Learn with Google Launched
We’re pleased to introduce Learn with Google, a new educational site designed to be a one-stop shop for businesses to learn about Google products and services like AdWords, Google Apps, Places, Analytics, and more. We hope that this collection of short videos, handouts, and resources will arm you with best practices and tips that you can use right away. Here are some videos that we think are especially useful for nonprofits: Devising Your Online Marketing Plan, What is AdWords? and 5 Pillars of AdWords Success.

Streetview Goes to the Amazon
A few members of our Brazil and U.S. Street View and Google Earth Outreach teams are currently in the Amazon rainforest using our Street View technology to capture images of the river, surrounding forests and adjacent river communities. In partnership with the Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon (FAS), the local nonprofit conservation organization that invited us to the area, we’re training some of FAS’s representatives on the imagery collection process and leaving some of our equipment behind for them to continue the work. By teaching locals how to operate these tools, they can continue sharing their points of view, culture and ways of life with audiences across the globe.

Mapping Towards Crisis Relief in the Horn of Africa
In the wake of intense drought, the Horn of Africa is gripped by its worst famine in more than 60 years. Over 12.4 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia are threatened with hunger and disease as they are unable to access basic survival means. Fresh and accurate maps are among the many critical factors in assessing such a state of crisis. Thanks to the efforts of our satellite imagery partner, GeoEye, we now have high resolution imagery of locations with the most pressing humanitarian needs. Read more here.

Tools in actionTOP
The AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT) responds to critical needs in the aftermath of a disaster, focusing on life safety while collaborating with community leaders to manage volunteers, coordinate donations and develop the infrastructure to address immediate and long-term recovery needs. In the aftermath of the devastating tornado in Joplin, the team mobilized using many Google products to collaborate most-effectively on the ground.

‘It was pretty unreal - we had over 30 volunteers collaborating with Google Spreasheets. Volunteers would input data for a few hours, a few days, or even a few months with minimal training.  In just over 2 months, we had 46,778 volunteers registered in our Google Spreadsheet, tracked and sorted countless donated goods, recorded 178,190 volunteer hours and organized over 900 recovered animals for the Humane Society.’  

Abby Simmons, Americorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team

You can learn more about how Abby & her team are leading recovery efforts in Joplin here.

Expert corner TOP
This month we caught up with Phil Verney, Program Manager for Google Earth Outreach, to hear the latest and greatest in Google Earth Outreach.

Q: Why is Google Earth Outreach important for nonprofits?
Google Earth, along with Google Maps, Sketchup and Fusion Tables are invaluable tools when it comes to communicating information through powerful visualization. Today, so much information has a geospatial component so we offer assistance to organizations that want to geographically organize their data. There are so many dedicated organizations out there doing truly amazing things. The information they gather in their work they do can enlighten many people. We offer resources, and where appropriate software grants to help them better achieve their aims.

Q: What are some features in Google Earth Outreach that nonprofits should know about?
Although many groups will find that the free versions of our mapping products will likely meet all their needs, the Pro and Premier versions do provide more advanced features, such as the high resolution printing feature The HALO Trust uses to create wall-size maps for their de-mining operations. Google Earth Outreach offers eligible nonprofits the opportunity to apply for Pro and Premier software grants.

What can nonprofits do with our mapping tools? Through our Showcase, we highlight organizations that have successfully used Google Earth & Google Maps in their efforts to send us their creations for others to see and get inspiration from. I’d definitely want to point out our tutorials too which offer all kinds of tips on how to go about how to organizing information geographically and actually creating maps like those you see in the Showcase. For example, the Appalachian Mountaintop Removal Tour describes their efforts against mountaintop removal coal mining and what tutorials they found the most useful to communicate their message.

Q: Can you share any cool stories of organizations using Google Earth?
One of my favorite examples is an indigenous tribe in Brazil, the Surui people, using Google Earth to raise awareness of (sometimes illegal) deforestation, particularly where it encroached upon their land. Their land is not just a part of their cultural heritage, but also serves as a key component in protecting the environment. Back in 2007, the tribe’s leader, Chief Almir made a powerful statement: “that the time had come to put down the bow and arrow, and pick up the laptop.”

They’re true technological pioneers as they’ve adopted Google Earth, ODK (Open Data Kit) & Google Earth Engine. I highly encourage you to watch the video, Trading Bows and Arrows for Laptops.

Q: Do you have any tips for an organization that's just getting started with Google Earth Outreach?
Absolutely! Show people what you’re doing with mapping technology & then share that information widely, whether that be through social media or more traditional routes such as newsletters. For specific information on how to get started, we have an extensive range of tutorials that you can use to learn more. We also wrote a blog post on how to quickly create your very first map.

If you only have less than few minutes to spend, I would suggest customizing your nonprofit’s listing on Google Maps with Google Places. By following a few short and simple steps, you can correct basic information about your organization and enhance your Google Place Page by adding images and photos of your work.

Q: Where can nonprofits go to find resources and support for Google Earth Outreach?
  1. First and foremost, check out our tutorials. We have many different tutorials covering a wide range of topics that you can use.
  2. The Google Earth Outreach Showcase is a repository of examples created by individuals and organizations around the world to help you to see what’s possible at all levels. Some are pretty simple, and some use complex techniques to communicate information.
  3. We’re big fans of social media. Follow @earthoutreach on Twitter or check us out on Facebook. We also have our monthly newsletter for plenty of in-depth info. We post regularly about what we’re up to, what’s interesting, and what we’d like your help with!
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