Mapping Military Service — ScribbleMaps
Mapping Military Service with ScribbleMaps
Let’s Start–Mapping #1
I am blessed to work at a local library branch and have the opportunity to teach genealogy classes of my own design. One of my popular presentations is “Let’s Start: Mapping”, where I give tools and strategies to assist in mapping family history stories.
I’d like to show you how I used ScribbleMaps to map my father’s military service history. www.scribblemaps.com gives you the option of downloading the app or using it right on their site. Later you can print the map or export it as a KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file. A KML file can transfer mapping information.
This is their opening page:
In this instance, I was trying to map my father’s overseas war experience in WWII when he was captured as a POW, the prison camps he was assigned to, where he lived in a cave for 6 months, and where he, at last, got back behind allied lines.
These are the locations from my dad’s experience: He was captured in Kef el Ahmar, Tunisia; taken initially to Camp 98, a prison camp in Palermo, Sicily, Italy; then to his final prison camp, Camp 59, in Servigliano, Italy. When he escaped, right after the Italians surrendered, he and his buddy lived in a cave for 6 months until someone helped him get back across the British lines.
Here’s how you would use this tool to map this series of events. Click on ‘Create Map Now’. This opens the dashboard where you can begin.
In the search box, enter your first location. In this example I am going enter the first location by name. Entering Kef el Ahmar, Tunisia offers me two choices that the program has recognized. I chose the most appropriate one, Kef el Ahmar, Sbiba, Kasserine, Tunisia since this is where my dad was captured.
Click on the map portion to close the ‘nearby search’ option box.
Click on ‘Add Marker’ and a blue marker appears. Continue to add locations.
I switched to ‘Road’ view (in the right lower corner) as it is easier for me to see. Then I pressed the ‘ –’ button on the right to move the view further out (zooming out), to be able to see all the plot points on one page.
Notice all the plot points on the right. Click on the diagonal ‘line’ button on the dashboard. You then have a cursor. Click on the first point you would like to connect with lines, and then drag to where you would like it to end. Click again and drag to draw the next leg. If you click on the ‘eraser’ button in the dashboard, it will erase all your lines.
If you wish to create labels for your plot points, click on the ‘ABC’ button on the dashboard. A data entry box appears (below). Type or copy and paste into the ‘Title’ line. Notice, this is also capturing GPS information for you if you do not already have it. Click ‘Save’.
Click on the ‘Move and Edit Overlays’ button (it is next to the Menu button on the dashboard) to move the labels so you can see the plot points. If you are drawing lines between points after the labels are entered, you will need to move the labels to see the plot points.
Here you can see the lines drawn and plot points labeled.
I was also able to produce this map entering GPS data instead of location name data. Instead of entering Kef el Ahmar, Tunisia, I entered 35°28′15.89″N 9°01′48.79″E.
By clicking on the KML button, a KML box appears. The KML button appears on the right side of the screen above the data point information. If you click on a KML file, it will open in Google Earth. (You could also save it in a PDF file).
If you click on the Menu button on the upper left dashboard, a drop down menu will appear that allows you to print, save, or email your map.
I was able to email a map to myself and print.
Now you’ve been able to inexpensively create a map of your ancestor’s military service.
While the ability to create maps is FREE, there is the option to upgrade to a paid service, where you can explore this list of site features.
Scribblemaps.com also offers a distance calculator.
What tools are you using to map your family stories? What challenges and successes are you having? Let me know if ScribbleMaps has worked for you. If you liked this post, please share on social media.
Please join me on my Genealogy Journey as I explore ways to write and map your family history.