You’ll need to have a Google account to create and share maps using My Maps.
To open up the My Maps editor you can either:
- go to Google Maps, choose ‘My Maps’ from the menu, and then click ‘Create Map’;
- or go to your Google Drive account and choose ‘New > More > Google My Maps’.
Add a point to your new map:
- Click on the marker icon (the cursor will change from a hand to crosshairs)
- Click anywhere on the map.
- Add a title and description in the info box. Click save.
Search for a place to add to your map:
- Type a query in the search box to find a place – try ‘University of Canberra’.
- The map will recenter and a marker will appear.
- To add this marker to your map, click ‘Add to map’.
- Click on the pencil icon to edit the content of the info box. You can also add a photo by clicking on the camera icon.
- Draw an area or a line using the polygon tool. What might you use this for?
Working with layers
Once you’ve added some points you’ll notice that they appear in the left-hand side menu box under ‘Untitled layer’. A layer is a way of grouping together particular features. A single map might have multiple layers.
- Untick the box next to ‘Untitled layer’. What happens?
- Tick the box to make the layer visible again.
Adding a new layer
We’re now going to import some external data to populate a new layer.
- Our dataset is a list of bus stops in Canberra – download the CSV file to your desktop.
- In the My Maps menu box click on ‘Add layer’. A new ‘Untitled layer’ will appear.
- Click on ‘Import’, then select and upload the CSV file from your desktop.
- You’ll then be asked which fields in your file provide spatial data – the latitude and longitude of the bus stops.
- Despite its name, both coordinates are included in the
stop_lat field. To see a sample of the data, click on the question mark after the field name.
- Check the box next to
stop_lat box. You’ll then be asked what the order of the coordinates is – choose ‘Latitude, Longitude’. Click ‘Continue’.
- Now choose the field to use as label for the markers – choose
stop_name and click ‘Finish’.
You’ll now have a map with lots of markers. Examine it carefully – do you notice anything odd? You’ll probably find that large areas of Canberra have no bus stops at all. Why?
Google My Maps lets you add a maximum of 2000 points to any layer. There are more than 2000 bus stops in Canberra so My Maps has truncated the data set without telling you – beware!
- My Maps styling abilities are limited, but if you hover over a marker (or set of markers) in the menu box you see a paint bucket. Click on it to open up the style options.
Once you’ve created a map you probably want to share it. In My Maps you can:
- Create a shareable link
- Embed the map in your own website
- Download the map data for use in another program.