Annotated Google Chicago Vacation Map

Recently Mrs. GW had to go to the ACCM show in Chicago, so we took the kids along went a day earlier and turned it into one of those mini-vacations. Now before you start unsubscribing thinking I’m going to subject you to the internet’s version of the dreaded family slideshow bear with me a minute. I find one of the best times to think about work and get ideas, is when you’re not thinking about work and getting ideas. So after taking some pictures I figured this would be great way to play around with annotating some google maps, integrating some flickr pictures and testing out some of the video services. So for part one I’ll make a little travel vacation review (I promise it will be short), then we’ll follow it up with some tutorials and wrap it up in nice little package with some ideas and ways to use these services to your advantage.

Below you’ll find a map of some of the areas we visited while in Chicago. You can click any of the markers for more information, links to some videos, and some flickr photos. If you’re into the psycho stalker stuff you can look at all of my Chicago Photos in Flickr.

Palmer House Hilton
A classic (and not inexpensive) hotel located inside of “the loop”. The rooms were huge, no really HUGE, lots of space and a walk in closet. Not much in the way of inexpensive family type restaurants, but it’s geared more towards the conference set, but I’d definitely recommend it.

Shedd Aquarium
A newer aquarium in a classic Georgian federal style building. It features a center hub with radiating spokes or wings of fish. it has a lower level with a shark tank and a three large open air spaces in the rear known as the oceanarium. It can get noisy and crowded during the middle of the day if school tours arrive, so come early in the day or stay later in the afternoon, and you’ll have no problem seeing everything. The aquarium is laid out on Like Michigan and has beautiful and breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline.

Chicago Field Museum
Located next to the Shedd Aquarium the Field Museum is in another Georgian federal style building. While the interior spaces aren’t as updated as the Shedd Aquarium it still has a lot to offer. It has lots of animals that have been stuffed (people like that?) and some cultural sections from Asia, Africa and the South Pacific. It also has a sizeable section on gems, minerals , and metoerites. The section that has been most recently updated is the Dinosaur or evolution section. Filled with bones, interactive displays, and short attention holding videos to give kids all the infotainment they can handle. I am a big dinosaur fan (it’s a gateway science) and they have the Tyranosaurus Rex fossil Sue. The most complete T. Rex fossil found by a female palentologist named Sue. Curiosly the only other replica of Sue is on exhibit in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. The King Tut exhibit was scheduled to be here in 2 weeks, sadly there was no soft opening, so other than gift shops packed to the brim with Tut merchandise I got to see nothing ;-(

Millennium Park
Located in part of Grant Park Millennium Park is made up of small sections. The cloud gate is a large highly polished metal abstract sculpture. Wrigley Square is colonade surrounding a fountain, the crown fountain are two large video and water sculptures and the Pritzker Pavillion is an open air theater designed by Frank Gehry.

Chicago Architecture
In case you didn’t notice I used some fancy-schmancy architectural terms, and maybe you picked up I’m something of an architecture fan. When I was more disciplined and much younger I studied architecture in school for a year and half before changing over to engineering ( a story for another time). However Chicago being is the home of a lot of great architecture, it’s where Louis Sullivan had his practice (you know the “form follows function” guy) and where he mentored the most famous American architecht Frank Lloyd Wright. Chicago just has a lot of great architecture, awesome skyscrapers and spectacular skyline views from almost anywhere in the city.

Web 2.0
Since I took some pictures I decided I’d do a mashup annotated google map just so it’s part of my skill set. Actually figuring out how to annotate a google map was pretty difficult. The Google Map API, give me a severe case of MEGO (thanks Matt). Hey Google Maps if you want people to use it more you might think about creating an ‘annotating google maps for dummies’ type post instead of something in programming-speak. The SERP’s for [annotated google maps] is useless because it’s dominated by an outdated no longer functional engadget post (too much authority weight, I’ve been saying that quite a while now) and other people linking to engadget. Engadget does say it’s broken and point to some other spots but they are mostly tools and not helpful to teach you how to do it. So I slogged through some deep level SERP’s, did some research, and came up with my own How to Annotate Google Maps post.

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