I don’t know about you, but we had lots of travel plans that never happened in 2020. I’m hoping we get to make up for lost time in 2021, so I’m going to start building my map now. There are several different tools I use for mapping out our travel plans, RVParky and Roadtrippers are important, but its Google My Maps that is my foundation. I add places to the map at the beginning of the year, then I edit those locations as we travel during the year and at the end, I have a history of where we went. Check out our collection of maps on our Blog here.
Google Maps vs Google My Maps
Most people have not heard of Google My Maps. It is different from Google Maps. My Maps is just that – it is for your maps. The base map comes from Google Maps, but you mark the places you want to go. You can also add lines, routes, comments, links, and photos to your places. You can get to My Maps by going to MyMaps.Google.com. Make sure you are signed in to your Google Account, then you can begin to Create a Map. You can also get to My Maps from Google Maps – click the 3-line menu at top left, select Your Places, then you’ll see a tab for “Maps” at the right.
Markers and Layers
Markers are what you put at individual places. They may be general destinations, like Atlanta. They could be specific places like the Day’s Inn motel in a certain city. They can also be stops on a driving route. Markers on your map may be places you make up – like “Family Reunion” or they can be places that exist on Google Maps that you want to appear on your map. Markers can be customized with different colors and icons.
Layers are groups of markers. You may have a layer for work and another layer for play. You may have a layer for destinations and another for the driving route. You may have a layer for westbound and another layer for eastbound. You are limited to 10 layers per map. Each layer may have many markers. If the markers are simple places the limit is 2,000 places per layer. However, if it is a layer of directions, the limit is 10 destinations per layer.
Start your map
All you need to do is go to MyMaps.Google.com, make sure you are signed in with your Google account, click Create a New Map, and then start adding markers.
Add markers by searching: If the place you want to mark has a name on Google maps, you can use the search box at the top to find it. e.g. “Disney World.” Click the search icon and it will take you there and open the info card for Disney World. Now you can just click on +Add to Map to place a marker there.
Add markers just by clicking: If the place you want to mark is unique to you, first select the marker tool from the toolbar (looks like a teardrop) and then click the spot on the map. Now you can give the marker a name.
In either case, you will see your markers appear on the map as well as in the left sidebar. You can give your map a name at any time by clicking on “untitled map” at the top of the left sidebar. You can leave your map at any time – it is automatically saved. Return to the map by visiting MyMaps.Google.com.
View our collection of videos for learning Google My Maps on our Playlists page.