Iditarod Map followup

Since publishing the IditaRead KMZ map and the corresponding Microsoft Excel workbooks, I’ve had the opportunity to introduce them to several of my computer lab classes, and two teachers who are implementing them.

The 6th grade, 5th grade, and 4th grade classes learned how to download the KMZ file and save it in their Documents folder or flash drive.  They then uploaded the file into their Anchorage School District Google Apps accounts. and imported the file into a new Google map.

Generally the process was smooth, complicated only by glitches in the lab computers, which were of two types: dysfunctional browsers and restricted file-saving permissions. As is the case with all technology idiosyncrasies, we worked around the problems and the students all have their own version of the map.

The 3rd grade class is doing a little different project.  The classroom teacher downloaded his own KMZ file, uploaded it to his Google map, added individual student names to the Team icons and assigned them a checkpoint to research.  He then shared the map with me, I uploaded a copy to my Project Documents page, the students downloaded their own copy and imported the file into their own Google map.

IditaRead: Microsoft Excel Workbook Rate Settings

IditaRead MS Excel workbook Rate sheet
IditaRead MS Excel workbook Rate sheet

The IditaRead Microsoft Excel workbook is set up to calculate trail progress at 60 minutes per 10 miles. Use the Rate sheet to adjust how fast your teams make progress on the trail.  Entering the rate you decide will affect all calculations on the Data sheet.

Also included is a macro button to erase all data when you want to start a new race. If you are not comfortable with downloading a file with a macro in it, I’ve included two non-macro-enabled versions.

If you use the non-macro-enabled workbooks, you will either have to:

  • manually delete the times that students have read in order to start a new race
  • OR download a new, fresh copy of the workbook
  • OR keep a blank copy on hand and do a SAVE AS to duplicate it with a new name.

The Iditarod Typing Race has a more detailed Rate calculation sheet. It enables you to accurately predict team progress based on students’ typing wpm.

Screen shot 2016-03-08 at 7.31.28 AM
The Iditarod Typing Race Microsoft Excel Rate Sheet

IditaRead: How to set up your own online map

Easier Method

Step 1: Download the KMZ file from my Project Documents page.  Look for the Iditarod folder and click on the Download link for Iditarod Gee Read.kmz.  The direct link link to the download file is here. Pay attention to where you are saving the file on your computer or flash drive.

Step 2: Log in to your Google account.  Anchorage School District students and teachers can use their Google Apps account.  Go here if you do not have a Google account.

Step 3: Go to Google Maps.

Step 4: Click on My Maps and click on Create.

Step 5: Import the KMZ file into your map from wherever you downloaded it.


Alternate method

Step 1: Click on the View Larger Map icon above.  On the larger map, find the three vertical dots on the right side of the red title bar. Click and select “Download KML”

Screen shot 2016-02-24 at 5.10.09 PM

Step 2: Log in to your Google account.  Anchorage School District students and teachers can use their Google Apps account.  Go here if you do not have a Google account.

Step 3: Go to Google Maps.

Step 4: Click on My Maps and click on Create.

Step 5: Import the various KML layer files from your computer or Google Drive into your new map.

IditaRead: Calculating Daily Progress

Here’s a Microsoft Excel workbook that converts the amount of time that students read into trail miles. Workbooks are available for teams of up to 16 readers, or as individual readers.

The workbook has a Standings sheet (shown above); a Data sheet for entering minutes read per day and converting time into distance; a Team Progress sheet that converts distance into relevant checkpoint position; a Trail Position sheet; tables of checkpoints and distances for the Southern, Northern, and Fairbanks routes; and a restart sheet containing macro-enabled buttons.

The Data sheet: 7 teams of 7 members for 14 days. Enter raw minutes and formulas convert time into distance.

In the example above, minutes are converted to miles at the rate of 60 minutes of reading to 10 trail miles.

The Team Progress sheet is linked to the daily data input and calculates position on the trail relative to the last checkpoint passed. The user does not have to enter data on this page.

The Team Progress page adds up the total miles per day achieved by all members of the team, calculates the last checkpoint passed, and ranks the teams by total distance.  This information is then summarized on the Team Standings sheet.

Determining exact trail position.

Finally, the  Trail Position sheet uses a formula to calculate how far a team has travelled passed the last checkpoint.  Using the Measuring Tool, the exact position of the team icons can be placed on the trail.

I’ve made workbooks for the Southern Route and the Northern Route.  These files can be downloaded on this page. Look for the Iditarod folder. Be advised that the “macro-enabled” (.xlsm) workbooks have a button on the “Restart” sheet that will clear all the data, enabling you to easily start a new race.  If you are not comfortable with a macro-enabled workbook, disable the macros at the opening prompt.

The Microsoft Excel IditaRead workbook: Southern Route
The Microsoft Excel IditaRead workbook: Southern Route
The Microsoft Excel IditaRead workbook: Northern Route
The Microsoft Excel IditaRead workbook: Northern Route


The Google Earth .kml file can be downloaded here.

Fully editable Google Earth .kml file. Customize it as you wish, and upload it to your own Google Maps Engine page on the internet.



IditaRead: Measuring Distances

Using the Measuring Tool

Google Earth and the online version Google Maps provide tools to exactly position your teams’ positions.

Screen shot 2016-02-24 at 4.32.49 PM
The Google Earth Path Tool being used to find a position 10 miles beyond the McGrath checkpoint.

If you are using Google Earth as in the example above, use the Ruler and Path tool to click along the curves of the trail until you reach the distance you need.


Screen shot 2016-02-24 at 4.41.54 PM
Using the Ruler to measure exact distances in Google Maps.

If you are editing your online Google Map, the Ruler tool shows you a running total distance as you click along the trail.

IditaRead Checkpoints

Followup on previous post:

Customizing Icons

Each of the Google Maps IditaRead checkpoints can be edited with pictures and text to give a greater understanding of the environment and history of the race.  As you can see above, I’ve added one picture to the Rohn checkpoint.

I pasted a large amount of text from Wikipedia and inserted seven pictures into the checkpoint editor for Nome to see if Google Maps Engine would limit them. Click on the Nome placemark and you’ll see how that turned out.