Tag Archives: My Maps

Mapping and Sharing Your Travels with Google My Maps

At the recent FMCA Convention in Madison Wisconsin, we taught a seminar on Google’s My Maps. After the seminar we had a great conversation about making maps with Bob Weithofer who attended the seminar. He ended up sending me a link to a map he made just for his family along with an email that said:

We use Google Maps as a way to keep our family informed of our plans for the year. The places we have been are shown in the standard red tear drop marker. The places we are going to are shown as a star. Each location is numbered so they will know what order we are visiting these locations.

They can click on the marker and get the dates we will be at the campsite and possibly some information about why we are there. They can click on the star and have the physical address, phone number and website of the locations where we are and where we plan to travel. This is because I search for the location of the campground on maps and added it to my map. They also get the table on the left side. Finally, they have access to the photos we’ve attached.

The Big Picture view of Bob’s Map:

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A more zoomed in view of Bob’s map, with the legend in the left sidebar.

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This is Great! I’m always so happy to see that the topics we teach really DO have practical application for other people, and I learn things in the process as well!  Bob creates this map using Google My Maps, then he shares it with family members and any one else who he wants to know his whereabouts. The red markers are his actual stops, the places marked with a star are planned stops yet to come. The lines in between are just placeholders where he stores the mileage between stops. Each marker is numbered in the legend at the left, so his family knows what comes next. Each marker is clickable. When it’s clicked it pops up a dialog box that may contain the dates of the stay, the details of the location, and maybe even some photos of when they stayed there.

Geeks on Tour’s Map of 2015 travels:

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I create our travel maps in much the same way. The image above is our map for 2015. You can see all 12 of our annual RVing maps by viewing the Maps page of our blog. If you look closely at our map you will see two A’s. That is both because we have more than 26 stops, and because I made one “Layer” for our winter locations and another for summer. The third layer shows in ? icons because we have yet to go there. When we do go to a planned stop, I move it from the “Planned” layer to the “Summer” layer (something I learned from Bob!) Clicking on any point on the real map, will pop up some descriptive text and maybe some pictures.

Sharing Your Map

We’ve shared our maps publicly, so we can put them on our blog, but you don’t have to. Your map can be completely private, or you can share with just specific people. When you’re editing your map, you will see the option for Share at the top left – at least that’s where it is today Smile They keep moving it! You can copy a link to send to anyone you want to see your map, or you can invite someone to collaborate and edit your map by entering their email address, or you can make it public. If you do nothing, it is a private map.

There are many other uses for My Maps, e.g.

  1. A list of places in the world where you want to visit
  2. A map of all the National Parks with one type of marker for ones you’ve visited and another for ones you haven’t
  3. A map of all the places you’ve lived
  4. A map of where your ancestors came from

To use Google’s My Maps, you start with the regular Maps.Google.com. It’s best to use the Chrome browser, but not essential. What is essential is that you must be logged in to your Google Account. Check the upper right corner of your screen and see the circular icon – usually your face – that represents the account. If it’s not you, or it says, “Sign In” then click there and sign in with your Google account. Then click the 3-line menu, and then My Maps. You will then be able to open one of your existing maps, or create a new one.

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There is also help available on the same menu. If you are a Geeks on Tour member, here is a list of some of our tutorial videos just on My Maps:

  1. Creating Custom Maps #328
  2. Adding Pictures to Custom Maps #329
  3. Viewing and Sharing Custom Maps #330
  4. Custom Maps (My Maps) Drawing Lines #377
  5. Import Placemarks from Spreadsheet #379
  6. Import POI Data Set to My Maps #380

I’m so glad that Bob shared with us how he uses Google’s My Maps. If you use My Maps, please leave a comment below and tell us how you use it!

Make your own Google Maps with My Maps App

imageby Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

We’ve been living in our RV on the road for 11 years now. Over that time, I’ve had lots of ideas of places I want to go as well as invitations both for work and for fun! I’ve also had lots of methods of remembering them. I’ve had written lists in a notebook, I’ve used Evernote to keep travel ideas, I’ve entered posts just for myself in Facebook, I’ve sent emails to Jim hoping he’d remember these places, I’ve created a Streets and Trips file called Ideas, and I’ve used Google Custom maps on the computer.

Nothing worked for me.

Evernote was good because, as a smartphone App, it is always with me so I can quickly jot down a quick note whenever the mood strikes. But, I really want them to be viewable in place on a map. So I created a custom Google map with all my idea places marked. I failed at keeping that up though because that needed to be done on a computer and a web browser. I need something on my phone.

My Maps is now available as an Android App! Yay! I’m so excited. (Yes, I really am a Geek) This means I can grab my phone at any time I have an idea or get an invitation, open My Maps, create a marker for any place I want to remember. You can enter your own name for the marker, as well as a description. So far, I don’t see a way to add photos – for that you need to use a computer. You can have several of these maps, each for a different purpose. By default they are private, only you can see them – you must be logged in to your Google Account. You can share them, or even make them public, but you need to be on a computer browser to get that functionality.

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Just longpress on the spot where you want a marker, then tap Next
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Here you can add your own Name and Description to the marker and tap Save
imageFrom now on, there will be a marker in that spot. Tap the marker and you’ll see the name, tap the name and you’ll see the description.  

 

  • App Name: My Maps
  • Author: Google
  • Price: Free
  • Available for Android (although I find a “My Maps” listed in the iOS App store, it’s just regular maps – not yet available on iOS)

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Google Maps from the Web to Your Smartphone

Use your computer to mark places using Google Maps, and you’ll see them on your smartphone!  I love this feature of Google Maps – this is the appeal of ‘cloud computing.’  Use whatever device is most practical and see the results on any other device.

Let’s say I’m researching where to stay as we travel from Fort Lauderdale to Bowling Green, Kentucky.  I will use lots of different resources to do this: Streets and Trips with the POI Megafile is my first choice, then I’ll supplement that with websites for RV Park Reviews, Georgia State Parks, Passport America etc.  Google Maps may or may not be part of the tools we use to find places to stay, but it’s definitely a good idea to mark the places once we’ve made our decisions.  

How to Create ‘My Places’ with Google Maps

myplacesFirst, you need to go to the website for Google Maps – www.maps.google.com.  Have you ever noticed the other button, beside ‘Get Directions’, for ‘My places’?’  That’s where you need to be in order to mark your special places.  For this to work, you need to be logged in with a Google Account.  If you’re not logged in, then clicking on ‘My Places’ will take you to a login screen – you can also create an account here if needed.  If you are logged in, take a look in the upper right of your screen and check the account that is being used.  Lots of people have more than one Google account, you need to be aware which account is being used when you create content like maps.  I recommend watching the interactive tutorial the first time you visit here. 

When you’re ready, click the red button for ‘Create Map’ and give it a Title.  Let’s say you named it ‘Summer 2012 New England Trip’.  Now use the Search field to look for the point you want to mark, e.g. Elks Lodge in Poughkeepsie, NY.  When it has found the correct place, click on the marker to open up the dialog box and click the link to ‘Save to map.’  You’ll get a list of all your ‘My places’ maps.  Choose Summer 2012 New England Trip, and click Save.  You now have a saved marker for that place.  You should see a link pop up at the top of your map that tells you ‘Elks Lodge was saved to Summer 2012 New England Trip’ View Map.  Click on view map to see the results of saving this place.   Repeat this process for every place you want to add to the map.  When you’re done, click the Done button.

Viewing your Custom Map from Your Smartphone or Tablet

Here’s the real beauty … Google Maps, and ‘My Places’ can be viewed from any internet-connected device.  On my Droid Razr phone, I just touch the Google Maps app.  Once it’s open, you’ll see the icon for ‘Layers.’  Then choose ‘My Maps’ and then ‘Summer 2012 New England Trip.’  You will then see the same map markers on your smartphone as you did on your computer.  Now you can click on the marker for the Elks Lodge, and choose Navigate to start Google navigation directions to that place.

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My Maps
Summer 2012 New England
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With iPhone or IPad

Ever since iOS 6, Google maps does not come as an app on your iPhone or iPad.  Never fear, you can still get there by using your web browser.  Just open Safari and go to www.maps.google.com be sure you are logged in to the appropriate Google account, then you can use the buttons in the upper right – the drop-down arrow will show you a menu.  Choose My Places and then Summer 2012 New England Trip.  What you will see at first is a text listing of all the marked places, but if you tap on a place you will see it displayed on a map.

Once you get the hang of creating custom maps this way, there is a lot you can do with them.  You can even share them from your computer by clicking the link icon and sending the URL to your friends.  For more info, check out the videos on our Google Maps and Google Earth learning library page – you’ll need a Geeks on Tour membership to view most of them.