More Kids Are Chasing Rainbows With Google Maps!

Communities worldwide are customizing maps to create and share a rainbow connection.

May 5, 2020

Lately, people around the world have proved that anyone can be a cartographer or map maker. Just how is this possible you may ask? The answer is that regular people and their communities, like the families using the inspiring Rainbow Connection Map, have been personalizing Google Maps to be a force for good.

They are importing their own data into a custom map to share helpful, local information and resources in rapidly changing situations, and with amazing success. This is helping people care for themselves and for others, and bringing communities closer together, even when people are physically apart.

My Maps is a tool launched back in 2007, enabling people to create and share their own custom maps on top of regular Google Maps. But the company has just revealed that since December 2019, the number of My Maps creations, edits and views has surged by one billion. Innovative uses during the pandemic include everything from plotting the nearest childcare access and free hospital shuttle service routes for first responders, to sites serving meals to teens during school closures, and the moving Rainbow Connection Map.

While children in countries like Italy had been sharing rainbow art on their windows and porches to uplift fellow citizens in the face of the pandemic, it was two New York women who got this hit activity for kids mapped and off the ground worldwide. Brooklyn mom, Marisa Migdal, was looking for ways to keep her kids positive, and suggested to fellow moms in her Facebook Group that they take their kids on “rainbow hunts”. Fellow New Yorker, Anna Grotzky, a yoga teacher and life coach, gave this phenomena an online home by setting up a Rainbow Connection Map. This is where people can pin the rainbows they’ve created using a cute rainbow icon, and track others to visit too.

Families, including people without kids, are drawing beautiful rainbows and pasting them on their windows, or painting them directly onto their windowpanes before adding their locations to the rainbow map for other people to scout. This means that kids can have fun spotting them while on a stroll with their families in a type of rainbow scavenger hunt.

On April 29, Grotzky reported 3500 rainbows all over the world, from the US and South America to Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. For her, their purpose is clear: “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in our world when we’ve all, as individuals, been going through such a similar experience and this is a way of showing that, of putting our hearts out there and saying ‘yeah, I get it, I’m there too.’”. She believes it’s a way to add a little lightness and magic right now.

For a more academic take on the benefits, Ellen Galinsky, chief science officer at the Bezos Family Foundation explains that taking action in times of stress is a really effective remedy for reducing that stress. And also that forging connections with others promotes health and wellbeing.

And many parents are thrilled. People like Eef Prince-Verhagen, the mom in our video. She was desperately looking for a way to console her daughter, who pined for her usual visits to the playground each time they stepped outside. That’s all changed! The new normal for them is searching for rainbows, checking the rainbow map before heading out on a fresh rainbow-spotting adventure!

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DAPHNE KASRIEL ALEXANDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.