I have a love/hate relationship with Google My Maps at this point. Of course Google Maps has revolutionized the way humans navigate the world (for better or for worse) and the satellite imaging ofÂ pretty much every corner of theÂ Earth, except for the poles, isÂ remarkable. But when it comes to creating your own map using the preexisting Google maps, things get a little sticky. I decided a while ago to use Google My MapsÂ for my digital project called “Mapping WIMS.” I’ll use the experience I’ve had working on my project as a basis for this practicum.
First and foremost, you’ll need to have a google account. After signing in, navigate to Google.com/maps, which is just theÂ regular Google Maps site.Â You’ll see directly under the GoogleÂ mapsÂ title bar “My Maps”, on theÂ right.Â Click on this, then click “Create New Maps”. First you’ll be promted to create a title for your map, add a description if you want and, more importantly, choose if you want this map to be public orÂ unlisted. Making a public map would be better Â for doing some sort of project, where an unlisted map would be better for sharing specific directions with trusted parties.
OK, now we can start exploringÂ the primary functions of My Maps by Google:
When you go about creating a map, of course you’ll wantÂ to have points of interest. The place markÂ tool can be used to identify those points and you can change the icon to a variety of generic symbols. If youÂ have a specific address that you want to put a place marker on, simply type the address into the search bar above and when Google Maps locates it, look to the sidebar on the left of the screen that shows the destination bubble “A” and click on “Save To…” on the bottom line of text. This way, you can choose a map to save this location to without having to manually locate it.
Along with the place marker icon, you can add a title andÂ caption, which especiallyÂ for a project map, is very useful. You can provide as much or as little information as you wo uld like. By clicking on the “rich text” option in the caption edit bubble, you can import pictures from URLs and hyperlinks. This makes the map much more interactive and illustrative.
You can choose three different types of ‘lines’Â to use in your map. There is a straight line, a line that snapsÂ to roads, and then a ‘shape’ line, where you can sort of triangulate an area of interest.
The lines function, in my opinion, is actuallyÂ quite disfunctional. Sometimes it is hard to get the line to begin drawing, or worse, to stop drawing. If you try to click away from drawing a line, your map will go flying in another direction and you could end up in Canada before finally having toÂ abandon the effort altogether.Â Also, there is no function to simply draw aÂ line between two place marks. You have to do it manually, andÂ if the distance between the two is far enough, it is hard to be accurate.Â Often times, it is difficult to even start a line on a placeÂ mark, because the program seemingly assume you’re trying to switch modes and modify the placemark instead of start the line. It can get really messy and extremly frustrating.
If you’re a casual My Maps user… thats about the long and the short of it. I haven’t had success embedding these maps, although that may simply be a testament to my internet tech skills. There is, although a quick and easy feature for getting your business on a Google Map….which I did with ease. Google even offers to send you a post card when the site is officially “on the map” as they say.