Make your own map of scuba diving sites

Jim and I are scuba divers and I’ve come up with a way of plotting dive sites on a custom map. This same technique could be used for RV boondocking sites, or backpacking campsites, or fishing sites. These are all places that need GPS coordinates in order to locate them.

Click the picture to go to the live, interactive map – then you can click on markers and see photos. Notice the markers off the north shore? Those are the sites where we dove. How did I know where to place them? Read on …

Get the GPS Coordinates

The only way to plot these locations is with GPS coordinates. If you have your phone with you on the dive boat, and if you remembered, and if your phone has a data connection, you could open Google Maps and get the GPS coordinates for your current location, then copy and save.

I may never remember to do that, but I will think to take a photo with my phone. My phone has the setting turned on to record the GPS coordinates with the photo. Now, when I look at the photo using Google Photos, I can just swipe up to see all the “metadata” recorded with the photo, including a map. Just tap on the map and you’re taken to Google Maps. The GPS coordinates will show up at the top, in the search box. You can also tap on the marker and see the coordinates in a pop-up box at the bottom. Copy them for use in your custom map.

If your photos don’t have maps, that means your camera settings for location are turned off. Here’s how to turn them on:

  • Android: Open the camera: Camera setting, Location Tags (or GeoTags) Turn on
  • iPhone: Open the system settings: Privacy, Location=on, Camera – turn on
  • See episode 161 for demonstration

Make a map with Google My Maps

We use Google My Maps to create all our custom maps. For a new map:

  • Open – be sure you’re signed in with your Google account
  • Click in the Search box and paste the GPS coordinates, press Enter
  • Click on the marker that was created on your map
  • Click +Add to map

That adds the place to your map. Once the placemark is there, you can change the title, write a description, add photos, and more.

Learn More

We use Google My Maps a lot. For our Geeks on Tour members, we’ve created a Learning Guide here. Google My Maps – How to make your own maps

We’ve also done a few episodes of our YouTube “Button” Shows on Google My Maps: #176: How to make a map with Google My Maps #111 Adding Photos to Google My Maps And we just did a new one this week specifically about making maps with GPS coordinates using our Dive Sites example.