I’m a huge fan of Google’s My Maps. It’s free. It’s based on Google Maps, so it has all the information you could ever want, but then you get to personalize it with your own markers. Markers for places you’ve been, markers for places you want to go, and just markers for places you want to remember for whatever reason. Every marker can be customized. You can specify an icon and color for each marker, or group of markers. You can add your own text descriptions, including links. You can even add your own photos on a marker.
We’ve been using Google My Maps for years to remember our travels each year. See all of our yearly maps on our personal travel blog. But, in preparation for our Hawaii cruise in January, this is the first time we’ve used it for future planning. I love it even more!
Managing all of your travel notes
Have you ever been planning a trip and you write down hotel names, interesting attractions, phone numbers, websites, and more? Do you have sticky notes all over the place? Or maybe you are more organized and have one document on your computer where you write all this stuff. But then, how do you know which hotel is near which attraction?
We are taking an NCL cruise in Hawaii next January. We plan to get off the ship at each island – 5 different stops. There are so many possible things to do! I started a My Map to add markers for all the possibilities. Then I also added markers for the specific ports of call. For each marker, I can write as much description as I want, including a link to a website for more information. As we settle on specific itineraries, I add those to a “layer” of booked places. The “layer” feature allows me to view view all the places at once, or to view just the booked places. Such an easy way to cut thru the clutter while still allowing me to add as many items as I want.
Sharing a map
Family, friends, and Geeks on Tour members are joining us on this cruise. If you’re interested, just see the details at GeeksOnTour.com/Hawaii. It’s easy to share the map with a link so they can see the results of my research. When they tell me of another option, I can add it to the map with a note from them. Once you click on the link, the map is interactive. You can check or uncheck each layer so those markers will appear or disappear. You can also click on any marker – either on the map, or in the sidebar “map legend” – to see any notes I’ve written. And, of course, you can zoom in to see all the other data available from the underlying Google Maps.
Make your own map
The key is to go to mymaps.google.com and be signed in with your Google Account. Then you just click on “Create a New Map” and start adding markers. If you are a GeeksOnTour.com premium member, you can go thru the complete Learning Guide to Making Maps. The Learning Guide includes a printed class handout, a slide deck, and a playlist of tutorial videos. Here’s one short tutorial video:
About the author: Chris Guld has been teaching technology since 1983. Since 2010 her focus is on travel, smartphones, maps, and photography. You can get her current book: Learn Google Photos at Amazon. Chris is a Diamond Level Google Product Expert in Google Photos.