Milwaukee Community Map FAQ

How do I access the Milwaukee Community Map for Google Earth?
1. Download Google Earth or Google Earth Pro to your desktop computer.
2. Access the Milwaukee Community Map through this website.
3. Open the Network Link to the Milwaukee Community Map KMZ.
4. The Milwaukee Community Map is available to you as long as you have an internet connection.

How do I need to adjust my Google Earth presets to optimize my experience?
1. In Google Earth, open your Google Earth Options (Tools>Options on a PC).
2. Under Options>Cache, we recommend setting the Memory Cache Size as high as it will go.
3. Under Options>Cache, we recommend setting the Disk Cache Size as high as it will go.
4. Under Options>General>Display, make sure that "open web results in external window" is checked.

How do I make my own story maps for Google Earth?
1. Access the Milwaukee Story Mapper through this website.
2. Choose one of the simple templates.
3. Create your first placemark by following the prompts.
4. Add up to 100 words of text and one or more photos (adding multiple images to one mark creates a slideshow).
5. Enter a location, address, or lat/long coordinates.
6. Check your placemark preview to make sure it will look like you want.
7. Download your placemark to your computer as a KML file.
8. Open your KML file in Google Earth.
9. Repeat the process to connect your placemarks in a story.

How do I make my own legends, annotated screen overlays (Miranda narrations), or tours?
If you are feeling comfortable with Google Earth, a little googling here goes a long way! 
This is the Google Earth developer's guide, which is a helpful resource for coding in KML.
Reflo can also help our supporting partners by sharing our custom overlay templates. Join us!
If you want to share your story through the public-facing Milwaukee Community Map, contact us:!

How do I access the data used to build the Milwaukee Community Map?
Each data story includes the data source attribution in Miranda's narration bubble. Reflo curates the Milwaukee Community Map, but our community contributors retain ownership of the data they choose to share. You may contact them directly for data-related inquiries. 

How is the Milwaukee Community Map updated?
Reflo curates the Milwaukee Community Map and updates the master KMZ file so that every time you access the KMZ Network Link, you are accessing the most updated content. Our stakeholders and community data contributors have different cycles of activity. Ultimately, because they are the data owners, it is their responsibility to update content if/as it changes. Reflo will also refresh the map periodically based on stakeholder input and the development of new stories. Always note the Miranda narration data attribution, which will tell you when the data source was last updated.

This is awesome! How do I share my organization's data stories through the Milwaukee Community Map?
You are welcome to take advantage of the Milwaukee Community Map and Milwaukee Story Mapper on your own for your organization's internal or public purposes. We feel this tool is great for schools, for example. You can document field experiences and also present these against the backdrop of the Milwaukee Community Map's basemaps or story layers. If you feel that you want to share your story with the community, then join us as a supporting partner of the map. The Milwaukee Community Map was showcased at the Green Schools Conference on 14 June 2018. The next nonprofit stakeholders meeting will be set for fall 2018. Also, let us know your success stories!

Who can help me if I experience trouble?
Contact us through this form and detail your experience. We will help if we can.

How can I open Google Earth files in my web browser, on my phone, or mobile device?
Our team is working to optimize a version just for web, phone, and tablet access. Stay tuned!

Will there be other themes to the Milwaukee Community Map?
"Water & Community" is the Milwaukee Community Map's pilot theme. Reflo is committed to supporting community green infrastructure in the Milwaukee area, so we have an interest in sharing digital water stories that support this mission. However, the utility of this tool is far beyond Reflo and our effort is to support a community effort that is larger than ourselves. For example, in spring 2018 Reflo collaborated with Arts @ Large, Reggie Jackson of Black Holocaust Museum, independent artist Jeff Zimpel, and students at Escuela Verde, to co-curate a basemap that shares the hidden story of how redlining impacted Milwaukee with a social justice theme. We realize this tool can be used to focus on other themes. If you have an interest in developing a new theme for the Milwaukee Community Map, then please join us as a community stakeholder.

How can I support this exciting effort?
Join us as a supporting partner. We want this tool to be used widely and deeply. We view it as a digital pocketknife, with many values to multiple audiences. We want this tool to remain free to the public. To create and maintain the Milwaukee Community Map takes resources and we are always looking for motivated partners willing to support the effort.