Tag Archives: GEE Read

Options for Updating Team Positions on Google Earth Iditarod Map

This article assumes you already know how to do the following:

  1. You are using the Iditarod Excel workbook to enter students’ daily reading minutes.
  2. You are using the Trail Position sheet to see how far teams have travelled beyond the last checkpoint.
  3.  You are using the ruler “Path” tool in Google Earth to position team icons exactly on the trail.

Here are a couple of choices if you are just using Google Earth.  If you are publishing an online Google Map, your choices will be similar, but with important distinctions I will address in another article.

Option A: Use the existing Team icons and move them to the new position. This way, you only see the current position of each team.

Option B: Use color-coded icons to show each day’s position.

  • You can delete the Team layer on the Google Earth file you downloaded.
  • Pick a color for all teams to use for Day 1.  If you want to, use a unique shape of pin for each team. Pin the teams’ positions on the trail for that day.
  • Pick a new color for Day 2 but keep the teams’ pin shapes the same. Pin the new positions on the trail after determining the Day 2 position.
Screen shot 2016-02-24 at 12.00.54 PM
Showing team progress using different colored pins.

A nice touch will be to add a legend showing at-a-glance what days the colors represent.

IditaRead: Using Excel and Google Earth to Determine Team Position

The IditaRead Google Earth/Excel project combines the geographic accuracy and visualization of Google Earth with the computing and organizational power of Microsoft Excel to exactly position student readers on the Iditarod Trail.

Fully customizable, the Excel workbook allows individual classrooms or entire schools to pinpoint daily trail position based on the amount of time that students read. Team trail positions can be posted online and shared via Google Maps Engine.

Excel workbooks are available for Northern and Southern routes, and either for individuals or teams of readers.

Google Earth KMZ files are also available for the Northern and Southern Routes.  They include all checkpoints as well as a sample collection of team icons.

Step-by-step instructions  can be found here.

The Microsoft Excel workbooks can be found on my Project Documents page.  Expand the Iditarod folder to find the files.

An online example of the map can be found here.

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.