Maps, streetview and photosphere

“News Lab is an effort that Google has set up in recent years for specific collaboration with technology and journalism. (..) The overall idea is to train journalists and to make it easier for them to access different range of Google tools,” says Elisabetta Tola, Google News Lab representative. Many implements can be used by media on daily basis. Tola gave a presentation on Google Geo Tools.

Often journalists have to react quickly to events that aren’t happening near them. Editors ask for photos and videos. Footage needs to be published as soon as possible, in faster and better way than other mediums can. Google News Lab helps journalists to get verified content and use it for their purpose. For example, if there’s an earthquake happening somewhere, journalists can receive latest images within seconds. It helps to be more efficient and operative.

Tola believes that in many cases journalists are not aware of Google tools that can help them. Many tutorials can be found on official News Lab website that show user step by step how to use certain tools. “Basically we are helping technology and journalism come together,” she says.

Geographical information can be provided by different kind of tools, depending on aim. First Tola introduced Mapping. It’s an easy way for making maps with data that is interesting for the user. They can be styled and transformed in the way the user wants. Also embedded videos and photos can be added to certain points in map. It’s free of charge to publish afterwards.

Fusion Table is another mapping tool from Google. It makes more advanced and complicated maps. Various data can be merged together to make one map. Google also provides data that has been already collected and verified by other users. “If you are a developer or you are working with one, there are number of functions you can use for further possibilities,” explains Tola.

Tola stresses that Google Earth is one of the most useful tools for journalists. It contains database of photos from all around the world that can also be made 3D. To add, it contains many layers of historical information. It allows to compare one place throughout time. Such mediums as Washington Post, Al Jazeera and others are using it. It needs to be downloaded, but is free of charge. It can also walk you through Moon and Mars.

Such tools as Google Street View and Photo Sphere were also presented during International Journalism Festival. All tutorials and information about using these tools for journalistic purpose can be found here

By Anna Udre