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February 4 @ 4:00 pm - February 8 @ 9:00 pm

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Important update! September 6th, 2019 LIFE™ was chosen as one of the winners in Authentic Finnish Educational Travel Product -contest!


LIFE is soon here again! This will be the 4th consecutive year VisitEDUfinn and the University of Lapland organize this unique event. LIFE2020 offers an exclusive opportunity to learn from the famous Finnish education, see how everyday life works in Finnish schools, talk with the local teachers and students, and listen to the top Finnish education experts, such as Linda Liukas, to gain new ideas to support your daily work.


The theme for this year is digital literacies across the life span. LIFE2020 also provides a popular Playful Learning Workshop inviting educators for creative and playful activities. There is also a daily Playful Learning School Camp for children in the exotic Finnish Lapland. Therefore, also kids are warmly welcome to join the event.


“This visit is part of our efforts to learn from the best in the world when it comes to education”Kirsty Williams, Wales


In addition to school visits, you may take part in variety of social events, such as seminars and workshops, and City of Rovaniemi reception and dinner, which are all included in the fee.

LIFE2020 takes place right by the Arctic Circle, in the city of Rovaniemi, also known as the official hometown of Santa Claus. During the event, you have an opportunity to meet him in person and participate in many other fun winter activities, such as snowmobile ride, caress reindeer and if you are lucky, may be some northern lights will appear in the sky.

If you took part in the previous LIFE events, we warmly welcome you to join us again. Based on the feedback, we have added some inspiring discussion and reflection to our program, expanded the variation of school visits, and of course invited new keynote speakers.

There are limited number of places available, so book now to secure your participation.

See you in Rovaniemi!

Download a brochure>>


Any questions? Please feel free to contact the organizers at: congress@ulapland.fi


The key purpose of this event is to see in person how learning takes place in Finnish kindergartens and schools. You can choose the age range to ensure it is tailored to your needs. This year, you have a unique opportunity to visit a brand-new Ounasrinne School, which is a trendsetter for a new kind of community building, including wide range of facilities such a school, a library, a youth club, and a health center. There are also special visits available for High School and Vocational Collage. If you want to know more about pre-primary education, note that in Finland it normally takes place in kindergartens. Here are the age ranges for each visit:

Kindergarten (age 0–6)
Primary school (age 7–12)
Middle school (age 13–15)
Ounasrinne comprehensive school (age 7-15)
Vocational college (age 16–19)
High school (age 16-19)
Teacher Training School (age 7-12)

During the visits, you can observe teachers and children in their activities, and ask them about their daily teaching practices. After each visit, you may take part in a short group session to discuss and share your experiences with the staff from the visited unit and with your colleagues.

The conference offers interesting keynote presentations focusing on different aspects of Finnish education system. The theme for this year is 21st century skills, such as digital literacy, coding and creativity. All these sessions take place in the premises of University of Lapland. Bus transportation is organized from the city center.

If you are interested in seeing one essential part of the teacher training in Finland, you may join a special group that visits the Teacher Training School in Rovaniemi. This school is administratively part of the University of Lapland and the Faculty of Education. During the visit, you have an opportunity to see how future teachers are performing in the classroom as part of their internship and education studies.

Tentative program for LIFE2020 – Please note that changes are possible.

Tue 4th
16:00–17:30 Registration (coffee available)
17:30–18:00 Opening LIFE2020
18:00–20:00 Kristiina Volmari: Key points to understand the Finnish perspective of education
20:30–21:30 City Council Reception and light dinner

Wed 5th
09:00–12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
13:00–14:00 Linda Liukas: ABC of digital literacy
14:00–14:30 Break (Coffee available)
14.30–16:00 Linda Liukas: Workshop “Creativity & Computing in K5 education”
18:00–21:00 Optional Winter activity: Snowmobile drive to reindeer farm

Thu 6th
09:00–12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
13:00–14:00 Kirsti Lonka: Phenomenal learning from Finland – where are we going next?
14:00–14:30 Break (Coffee available)
14:30–15:15 Mervi Pänkäläinen: Socio-emotional learning in the digital age
15:15–16:00 Marjaana Kangas & Heli Ruokamo: Playful learning in the age of digital literacies
19:00–23:00 Optional Winter activity: Aurora Borealis Adventure

Fri 7th
09:00–12:30 Kindergarten/School visits (incl. lunch)
12:30–13:30 Wrap-up session at schools
14:30–17:30 Optional Playful Learning Workshop
19:00–21:00 Farewell Dinner with a visit from Santa

Sat 8th
Time to explore Lapland, optional Winter activities:

12:00–14:30 Husky Safari
19:00–21:00 Ice Restaurant Dinner Experience


Linda Liukas. Photo: Maija Tammi

Linda Liukas is a programmer, storyteller and illustrator from Helsinki, Finland. She is a central figure in the world of programming and has worked on edutech already before it was called that. Linda is the founder of Rails Girls, a global phenomenon teaching the basics of programming for young women all over the world. Her TED talk has gathered over 1 million views.


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Professor Kirsti Lonka, Ph.D, works at University of Helsinki, Finland and as Extraordinary Professor, Optentia Research Focus Area, NWU, South Africa. She is an expert in educational innovations, a popular keynote speaker around the world and she has published numerous research articles, chapters and text books. Prof. Lonka is . Latest book: Lonka, K (2019). Phenomenal learning from Finland. Edita. See kirstilonka.fi

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Kristiina Volmari, Ph.D, works as Counsellor of Education and Head of Statistics and International Affairs at the Finnish National Board of Education. She has also worked as a teacher for 20 years at most levels of education and in vocational teacher education. Kristiina’s  areas of special interest and expertise are comparative international education data, teachers and trainers in vocational education and training and leadership. She has a thorough knowledge and understanding of European and global education and training issues having worked closely with European networks and working groups as well as participating in OECD studies and data collection.


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Heli Ruokamo, Ph.D, is a Professor of Education, specialty media education, at University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. She is a Vice Dean of the Faculty of Education and a director of the Centre for Media Pedagogy. Professor Ruokamo has 15 years of experience in research and development of pedagogical models for network-based education and educational use of ICT’s. Her research has focused on mobile and meaningful learning, playful, game-based, VR, and simulation-based learning environments. She has published approx. 100 scientific publications with referee practice, more than 2/3 of them are international.

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Marjaana Kangas
, Ph.D, is a university lecturer and a researcher at University of Lapland. She is a forerunner of the research on playful learning in pre and primary education in Finland, and a co-developer of a “playful learning environment”, an innovative play and game-based learning environment designed for 21st century learning (e.g. Kangas, 2010; Kangas & Ruokamo, 2012). Her doctoral dissertation “The School of the Future: Theoretical and Pedagogical Approaches for Creative and Playful Learning Environments”, was rewarded by Lea Pulkkinen Award in 2012. Since 2003, she has worked as a researcher in many innovative research projects (Let’s Play, PlayIT, InnoPlay, InnoSchool, Omnischool), and participated in the development work of playful learning environments, and focused on the research on the best practices in the future school. Home page: www.marjaanakangas.net  Twitter: twitter.com/marjaanakangas.


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Mervi Pänkäläinen is the founder and CEO of Mightifier. Before founding Mightifier, she worked as a change leader and consultant focusing on designing encouraging and safe working cultures. She has facilitated hundreds of workshops and given keynotes and presentations on creativity and culture design process.


Want to learn new pedagogical skills in innovative ways? Join this special workshop uniquely designed for LIFE2020 participants.

Date and time: Friday 7th, 14:30 – 17:30

Place: The Arctic Circle
Group size: 10 – 20 persons
Price: € 372 (INCL. VAT 24%) /participant
Includes: Transportation from the city center, workshop, snacks and a handmade souvenir from Lapland.
Trainer: Marjaana Kangas
Booking: as part of the LIFE2020 online registration process

Playful Learning Workshop in the Arctic Circle invites educators to engage in creative and playful activities and pedagogies, and participate in mind-on, hands-on and body-on activities. What is playful learning and how the pedagogy of playful learning can support learning, academic achievement and key competencies? We have a rich over 15-years experience on designing and teaching creative and playful learning. The aim of the workshop is to provide ideas and tools through practical experiences of playful learning to take home for developing 21st century education.


Marjaana Kangas (PhD, Title of Docent) is a university researcher at University of Lapland. She is a forerunner of the research on playful learning in education in Finland, and a co-developer of a “playful learning environment”, a play and game-based learning environment designed for 21st century learning. Since 2003, she has worked as a researcher in many innovative research projects (Let’s Play, PlayIT, InnoPlay, InnoSchool, Omnischool) focusing on the research of playful learning and the best practices in the future school. Home page: www.marjaanakangas.net 


Rovaniemi City Reception and light dinner

Tuesday 4 February at 20:30 – 21:30

Rovaniemi City Reception in Rovaniemi City Hall (Hallituskatu 7). Bus transfer from the university and back to the hotels afterwards will be provided.

Price: Included in the registration fee for all attendees. Advance registration required.

Conference Dinner with a visit from Santa

Friday 7 February at 19:00 – 21:00

Conference dinner will be organized at Royal Reindeer restaurant. Bus transfer to/from the dinner will be provided.

Price: Included in the registration fee for all attendees. Advance registration required.

Winter Activities

Wednesday 5, Thursday 6, Saturday 8 February

For our both LIFE2020 participants and accompanying persons we have organized an exclusive winter activity program in the surrounding areas of Rovaniemi. You can choose from Snowmobile ride, Aurora Borealis Adventure, Husky Safari, Ice Restaurant Experience, or why not all of these?

Price: Depends of the activity.


To get inspired you can have a look at www.laplandsafaris.com. For our LIFE2020 guests we have organized an exclusive winter activity program (registration before January 29th, 2020):



18:00 – 21:00 Snowmobile Safari to Reindeer Farm

A snowmobile safari to a reindeer farm. First you will learn about our Lappish culture and reindeer husbandry. Everyone who passes a reindeer-driving test will be issued an international reindeer driver’s license and you have the possibility of participating in a special Lapp ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle. Enjoy a cup of hot coffee or berry juice before returning back to town. NOTE! In this safari two participants share a snowmobile, single driver option available.
DURATION: 3 hours
PRICE: € 159 (adults) / € 79 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 adults – Max. 45 persons


19:00 – 23:00 Aurora Borealis Adventure

After stepping out of the car in the middle of nowhere, we walk down to a river experiencing the surrounding sleeping nature. We reach the best spot to see the northern sky, but be patient the aurora loves playing hide-and-seek; we never know if or when they can show up! While enjoying the peace of nature we fry sausages surrounded by the great aroma of the fire. Before returning to civilization, we drop by a cosy old building “Poro-Pekan Pirtti”. The hosts warmly welcome us and show us their dwelling, which takes us into the past. This relaxing escape will definitely satisfy all our senses. Transfer to the wilderness and back by car (50 km one way).
DURATION: 4 hours
PRICE: € 115 (adults) / € 58 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 adults – Max. 45 persons


12-14:30 Husky Safari 10km

Wintertime safari with husky teams. After a short drive from town, we’ll arrive at a husky ranch, where these friendly dogs will bark an enthusiastic welcome to you. Before departing on the safari, you will be given instruction on how to control the sleds. Enjoy some hot berry juice by an open fire and chat with the head musher about these amazing northern animals once you return to the ranch.
DURATION: 2,5 hours including transfers (husky drive approx. 1h 15mins) 
PRICE: € 175 (adults) / € 131 (children 4-14 years)
Min. 10 adults – Max. 40 persons

19:00 – 21:00 Ice Restaurant Dinner Experience

The world’s only ice restaurant located exactly on the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus’ home turf. The Ice Restaurant’s unique atmosphere is a ”must see” for everyone visiting Rovaniemi. Incredibly beautiful ice sculptures, exciting details and a menu created from local ingredients will all add to an unforgettable experience. The delicious set menu includes an appetizer, main course and dessert. Welcome drink is served from ice glass in the Ice Bar before dinner. Join us for an unforgettable evening! Have a look at the menu choices HERE>>
DURATION: 1,5 hours
PRICE: € 109 (adults) / € 54,50 (adults menu for children 3-12 years)
KIDS MENU: € 45 (for children 3-12 years) booking available only at info@laplandsafaris.fi
Min. 10 adults – Max. 60 persons

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You should be at the Lapland Safaris’ office located right in the center of Rovaniemi 30 minutes before the activities start.

Looking for daily activities for accompanying persons? Please contact directly the well-known operator Lapland Safaris: info@laplandsafaris.fi. They have plenty of amazing options for each day and you will be taken care of by a very professional team.




All participants should register for the conference. Please read all information below before using the event online registration forms to register for LIFE2020, and the winter activities with Lapland Safaris.




Registration categories Early bird fee (until 30 September 2019 11:59pm UTC/GMT +3 hours) Standard fee (1 October – 30 November 11:59pm UTC/GMT +2 hours)Late/On-site fee (after 30 November 2019 11:59pm UTC/GMT +2 hours)
Participant780 €880 €980 €
Student*580 €680 €780 €
Accompanying person200 €250 €300 €
School Camp (incl. VAT24%)970 €970 €970 €

*Students: please send a proof of a full-time student status (ID card or letter from your institution or program director) to the conference office by email (congress@ulapland.fi)

The registration fee for participants and students includes:

– Admission to all sessions
– Conference materials
– School visits
– Coffee/tea during breaks mentioned in the program and lunches during the school visits
– Rovaniemi City Reception Tuesday 4th February
– Conference Dinner with Santa’s visit Friday 7th February
– Certificate
– Possibility to participate on special winter activities designed for LIFE2020 (additional fees apply) REGISTER HERE>>
– Possibility to participate on an optional workshop “Playful Learning Adventure” designed for LIFE2020 (additional fee 372 €, including VAT 24%)
– Possibility to register your children for a “School Camp for Children” for the duration of the LIFE2020 (additional fee 970 €, including VAT 24 %). You can register your child/children for the school camp via LIFE2020 online registration form at the same time you register yourself for the LIFE2020. On personal information page choose the option: I will have an accompanying person whose information I will provide later in the form.

The registration fee for accompanying person includes:

– Rovaniemi City Reception 4th February
– Conference Dinner with a visit from Santa 7th February
– Possibility to participate on special winter activities designed for LIFE2020 (additional fees apply) REGISTER HERE>>


The registration fees include the VAT 0%. Please note that all payments must be made in advance and in euros (€). 

Please choose your payment type on the online registration form. The options are 

– Online bank transfer (Finnish banks) 
– Online credit card payment (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)
– Invoice. The invoice will be sent to you separately by the conference office. Please remember to specify invoicing address on the registration form. Invoicing fee 10 € will be added to all invoices. 

Cancellation Policy 

All cancellations must be made in writing or by email to the conference office. If you do not cancel your participation at all, you will be charged the full fee. 

For cancellations received by 1 October 2019, the paid registration fee will be refunded. No refunds will be made for cancellations made after this date. Please note that a processing fee of 50 € will be deducted from all refunds.

Any questions about practical arrangements, registration, hotel booking and payments? Please contact Rovaniemi-Lapland Congresses: congress@ulapland.fi 


Want a unique experience that you will never forget?

Spend the last night of your trip in the Snow or Igloo hotel (more information below).

We have made bulk reservations for LIFE2020 in seven hotels at the Rovaniemi city centre.

The room rates are valid only for reservations made through Rovaniemi-Lapland Congresses. Please note that hotel quotas will be released 16 December 2019 (except for Hotel Rudolf / 4 November 2019). After this date rooms cannot be guaranteed as the beginning of February is high season in Rovaniemi.


Please add your booking on the event online registration form. All reservations and possible changes and cancellations to reservations will be handled through Rovaniemi-Lapland Congresses. Your hotel reservation will be confirmed together with your conference registration. Room rates include buffet breakfast, service and VAT. Reservations will be made on a first come-first served basis.


Please note that all hotel fees are to be paid directly to the hotel onsite (cash or credit, no deposit is required). The hotels accept all major credit cards.


Cancellation policy for hotel bookings

  • Cancellations must be made in writing to Rovaniemi-Lapland Congresses three (3) days prior to the planned date of arrival at the latest.
  • All bookings cancelled later than this or bookings not cancelled at all will be invoiced in full.
  • Booking may be cancelled later than three (3) days due to illness (doctor’s certificate required).
  • Without prior notice of late arrival, hotels have the right to give a reserved room away after 18:00. Please inform of late arrival in the note-field of your booking.


Hotels and room rates


single room/night

double room/night

superior single/night

superior double/night

Hotel Rudolf

100 €

137 €



Hotel Aakenus

145 €

155 €



Scandic Rovaniemi City

152 €

169 €

172 €

189 €

Scandic Rovaniemi Pohjanhovi

153 €

173 €



Sokos Hotel Vaakuna

165 € 

180 €



Arctic City Hotel

171 €

191 €



Arctic Light Hotel

262 €

288 €





Want a unique experience that you will never forget? 

Spend the last night of your trip in the Snow Hotel or Igloo! Booking directly to the hotels (links blow).

 Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle
– Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos
– Igloo Hotel (The place for Dinner at Ice Restaurant on Saturday evening)


Other accommodation options in the city center (booking directly to the hotel/hostel):

– Café Hostel Koti

LIFE_Camp_2School Camp for Children
Playful Learning School Camp for kids is a pedagogical program that is based on Finnish Education and provides creative and playful indoor and outdoor activities in exotic Finnish Lapland. The program is for children in the age of 5 to 12 and it provides a variety of playful learning activities such as outdoor play and adventures, digital storytelling and playful programming provided by Linda Liukas. The camp takes place in three different places in the city of Rovaniemi: the University of Lapland, Pilke Science Centre and Arktikum Museum, and the Santa Claus Village. After the camp, the kids have learnt a lot of Finnish nature, culture and stories in a playful manner.

IMPORTANT! Minimum number of participants is 10. All the registered participants will be informed when the minimum is reached and the school camp is therefore confirmed. If the minimum is not reached by December 1st, the school camp will be cancelled and the payments will be fully refunded. UPDATE 11.12.2019: The School Camp is confirmed now so feel free to book flights and accommodation for the School Camp participants.

PROGRAM 4.-7.2.2020 – Please note that changes are possible

Tue 4th
Place: University of Lapland
16:00 – 17:00 Warm-Up
17:00 – 17:30 Snack break
17:30 – 20:00 Playful activities

Wed 5th
Place: University of Lapland
09:00 – 09:30 Warm-Up
09:30 – 11:30 Playful programming by Linda Liukas
11:30 – 12:00 Lunch
12.00 – 16:00 Playful activities with snack break

Thu 6th
Place: Pilke Science Center & Arktikum museum
09:00 – 11:30 Playful activities in Pilke
11:30 – 12:00 Lunch
12:00 – 16:00 Playful learning adventures in Arktikum with snack break

Fri 7th
Place: Santa Claus Village
10:00 – 11:30 Playful learning adventure / indoors and outdoors
11:30 – 12:00 Lunch at Snowman World’s Ice Restaurant
12:00 – 14:00 Playful activities in the Snowman World / outdoors

The school camp is organized by Playful Learning Ltd. and the cost is 970 € (incl. VAT24%)/ children, including:
– pick-up from the city center
– transportation during the program
– lunches
– afternoon snacks
– entrance fees
– official picture with Santa Claus

You can register your child/children for the school camp via LIFE2020 online registration form at the same time you register yourself for the LIFE2020. On personal information page choose the option: I will have an accompanying person whose information I will provide later in the form.


IMPORTANT! If you are interested in participating Optional Workshop on Friday afternoon and need someone to take care of the children, please contact Workshop trainer Marjaana Kangas: marjaana.kangas@ulapland.fi


Rovaniemi is the administrative capital and commercial center of Finland´s Lapland.

The city is about 800 km north from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. In the past few decades Rovaniemi has grown into a busy and active town with now more than 61.000. Rovaniemi is also the educational centre of Lapland and there are two universities located in Rovaniemi. The University of Lapland is the northernmost university in Finland and in the European Union. Lapland University for Applied Sciences has its home base in Rovaniemi. The unique location of Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle has attracted more than 400.000 tourists each year from all over the world. For information about Rovaniemi, visit www.rovaniemi.fi.

How to get there

Despite its northern location, Rovaniemi is well connected to the rest of the world. From abroad, the town is easiest to get to by about one hour flight via Helsinki. Daily flights between Rovaniemi and Helsinki are operated by Finnair and Norwegian throughout the year. In addition, more and more airlines offer direct flights to Rovaniemi. For instance, Norwegian flies from London and Germania from Berlin.


Having problems finding proper flights between Helsinki and Rovaniemi? Night train and sleeping compartment can be an interesting, exotic and economic option for those who don’t want to stay extra night in Helsinki or Rovaniemi. There are two night trains available every day and the trains during the daylight offer a good opportunity to see more of Finland. Visit www.vr.fi/en for more information.

How to get from the airport/railway station to the hotels

Airport Express – bus from Airport to the city centre and back – drives to all the centre hotels as well as bus station, ca. 15 minutes, price 7 € / person. Airport Express departs from the airport after every flight arrival. Check your hotel reception about the pickup time from your hotel back to the airport. For further information call +358 (0)16 – 362 222. 

Airport Taxi: Cars available at the airport when flights arrive. Airport Taxi transports in the city area and surroundings. Price 10-12 € / person, takes more than one customer at the same time (car pool). For further information call +358 (0)16 – 362 222. 

Normal Taxi: Price from the airport to the city centre ca. 20 €. Phone +358 (0)200 88 000.

The railway station is located about 1.5 kilometres from the city centre. There is no direct bus connection. The easiest way to get to the hotel is to either walk or to take a taxi. 


Car rentals

All major car rentals have an office in Rovaniemi for those who are interested in traveling around the surrounding areas and Lapland by themselves. 


Finnish taxis are reliable and use a standardised kilometre-based pricing system. The following taxi companies operate in Rovaniemi:

Rovaniemi Taxi Services, tel: +358 60 030 030 / +358 29 009 1090; email: info@rovaniementaksipalvelu.fi

Taxi Rovaniemi, tel: +358 16 106 410; email: info@taxirovaniemi.fi

Weather in Rovaniemi

January is the coldest month of the year in Lapland, average temperate being -11,4. Have that in mind when choosing your vesture. For the winter activities, however, there is always prober clothing available for the participants. Please visit the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for updated news on weather in Rovaniemi HERE>>


The official languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish but practically everyone knows basic English, and especially the people involved in tourism speak very good English. The LIFE2018 conference language is English.


The Finnish currency unit is the Euro. You can exchange foreign currency and traveller’s cheques either in banks, airport or hotels. There are numerous cash machines (ATMs) open around the clock and accepting all major credit cards. Major credit cards, in particular Visa, Eurocard and Mastercard are widely accepted almost everywhere (in hotels, restaurants, shops, taxis, cafeterias, bars, etc.).


The electric current in Finland is 230V, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin continental size.


The time in Finland is GMT+2



For additional information about practical arrangements, registration, hotel booking and payments, please contact:

Rovaniemi-Lapland Congresses
University of Lapland
PO Box 122
96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Tel. +358 (0)40 484 4462 and +358 (0)40 721 8260
Email: congress@ulapland.fi

For additional information about LIFE2020 program and visits, please contact:

VisitEDUfinn Ltd.
Ensi Linja 1, 00530 HELSINKI
Tel. +358 407 516 478
Email: info@visitedufinn.com

For additional information about the School Camp , please contact:

Playful Learning Ltd.
Yliopistonkatu 11, 96300 ROVANIEMI
Tel. +358 404 844 490
Email: marjaana.kangas@ulapland.fi


Welcome to LIFE2020!


February 4 @ 4:00 pm
February 8 @ 9:00 pm


+358 407 516 478


Rovaniemi, Finland + Google Map
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