An Interactive Map of Sedona's Vortexes - A Review of the Google Maps Engine Lite User Experience

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering "What is a Vortex?" Well, I find that question a bit tricky. I think the answer may vary, depending on what people choose to - or not to - believe. But the question "Where is a Vortex?" Now, this I can answer.

In fact, I decided to create an interactive map of Sedona's vortexes using Google Maps Engine Lite.
Partly because I wanted to test out this mapping tutorial created for the Roots and Shoots Community Mapping program. Its a program offered by the oh-so inspiring Jane Goodall Institute, designed to help equip young people with the skills to map their local communities. And partly because I'm intrigued by the Vortex phenomenon and might want to explore it more with future maps or perhaps some spatial analyses....But mostly I wanted to find out what I can and can't do with Google Map Engines Lite.

I based my map on locations I found in a few different static maps, namely the Sedona Vortex Map. I added the locations of 4 of the agreed upon locations of energy vortexes in Sedona. I've heard that there are up to 7 vortexes in Sedona, depending on the source you defer to and presumably what their definition of a vortex is, but I decided to go with the basic 4 as a start.

I also added a couple of other areas of interest so that I could play around with symbolizing different types of locations. I added labels to each location, descriptions that I gleaned from the web, and I attached photos, or in some cases YouTube videos to each one. Then I embedded the map in this post so that we can see how it looks.

I found that creating the map and adding locations, as well as extras, was all very intuitive. But the final product left me wanting a few more options. I'd like to have more control (or any at all) over the size and placement of the labels- I had to shorten them so that they don't run all over eachother. I'd also like to be able to move the Legend around or shrink it so that its not covering so much landscape, but that's not an option. I opted not to display the legend instead. And I was pretty underwhelmed with the basemap choices available. But like I said, the creation of the map was a snap, and adding information as well as multi-media to the locations was easy peasy. I think its a good tool for an introduction to making web maps, but a more experienced, or perhaps just plain pickier person, such as myself would prefer more cartographic freedom.

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