How To: Create Custom Maps With Google Maps

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For all those times you need to create customized maps with specific points of interest, stops along a route, or numerous locations, Google Maps Engine is a dream come true. It’s been around for a while, but I thought I’d take the time to give you a simple tutorial on using it.

I’m working on a custom map for myself right now that I’ll be using on an upcoming trip to the East coast for some travel photography. In it, I’m marking all the specific locations I want to stop and shoot. I’ve found these locations various different ways and wanted a place to mark them all. What’s better: the custom map is saved to your Google account so you can view it in the Google Maps app for Android (no iOS support yet).

1. Launch Google Maps Engine in your browser by using this link:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/?authuser=0&hl=en

Click ‘Create a new Map’ to get started.

2. Give your map a Title and Description for quick future reference.

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3. Start adding layers. In this example, I add a POI to my map using the POI tool.

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You can also add a link to an image you want to associate with that POI marker. Add as many markers as you like to create your map.

4. Use the ‘Line’ tool to draw a polygon around a specific area you want to add to your map.

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5. Add Driving Directions between points on the map. This will be helpful when you’re in the car, as you can just click the Layer to launch turn-by-turn navigation.

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6. Depending on what you need the map for, you may want to change the Base Map.

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7. View your new Map on your Android phone to interact with it.

  • Download the free Google Maps Engine app.
  • Sign into your Google account.
  • Drag the side bar from the left to view and edit the maps you created on your computer.

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There are endless possibilities of what you can create with Google Maps Engine, but this should get you started. If you have any questions, feel free to ping me on Twitter: @mbchp.

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