Activity
Creating a map with Google My Maps

Draft, 12 April 2016
This page should be in a useful state, but still needs work before it's finished.


Getting started

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.

Try:

  • 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.

Try:

  • 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!

Try:

  • 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.

Sharing maps

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.

Associated lessons

Tags

maps MyMaps