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Launch A Virtual Balloon

On March 1st, 2007, students around the world are participating in ice experiments to celebrate the launch of the International Polar Year.

To show that you’ve taken part in some kind of IPY activity, launch a virtual balloon by following these simple instructions. You can visit the map with everyone’s balloon markers on this site, or have it on your own website.

Instructions for adding your own marker on the map:

[Update: Be sure to use the “IPY” tag to add your balloon to the official map. (The test map used “ipylaunch2007”.)]

Step 1: Get a free account with Tagzania.

Tagzania is a free location-tagging service. Once you have an account, you can mark locations on Google Maps and describe them, linking them to photos or web pages.

Register here. For your full name, I suggest using your school name and class. You don’t need to submit an email address if you don’t want to.

Step 2: Mark a location.

Log in and click on “post”.

First, find the location you want to mark on the map. You can search for your town or go directly to the map. Navigating the map is very simple — it is based on Google Maps. Use the slider on the left to zoom, and click-and-drag the map to move it. Click on “Satellite” to get satellite images, “Hybrid” to get both satellite images and roads. Google’s mapping service has the most extensive images and maps available, so you will likely be able to find your school building.

Once you’ve found your school or the location of your experiment, click on it, so that the red balloon is centered on it.

Now add information to this marker — give it a title and a description. Also give it a tag. THIS IS IMPORTANT: for the marker to appear on the common map, you need to add a tag named “IPY”. The communal map will only show items that have that tag. You can add as many other tags as you wish.

You can also attach links to your marker using the “resources” field. For example, you could attach the URL of your project page, or the URLs of individual photos. You can only link to photos that are already on the web, so use a free photo sharing tool such as Flickr to first upload photos (or use your own school website). All you need to do then is add the link to the photo.

You can edit your own markers and change their contents at any time. If you click on a marker, you go to the detail page, which shows other nearby items that have been tagged, a map with the item, and also links to other views of the item in other maps.

3. See locations on the communal map.

You can check the communal map for all locations tagged with “IPY”, including yours.

Click on the balloons to see the pop-up text and pictures. Here is a preview:

IPY 2007-2008: IPY launch activities by students

That map is dynamically updated. As soon as a new location is tagged with “IPY”, it will show up the next time it is refreshed. try adding yours, and then refreshing this page.

4. That’s it!

You can embed the map into any web page by creating a snippet of HTML code to copy and paste using this simple tool.

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John D. Moore, Feb 23rd, 2007:

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Earthwatch “Climate Change at Arctic’s Edge Expedition 13 Feb. - 23 Feb. 2007

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