If you’re trying to create a custom map, you’ll be happy to know you don’t need any fancy software or programming to accomplish your goal. Google Maps allows you to create your points, directions, and shapes within the map, although there are several limitations on what you can accomplish while working within the program. As a custom map creator, Google Maps does offer basic functionality and customization options, while other third-party applications may bring further customization (depending on the user’s need).
You’ll need to open the Google Maps program on your desktop to get started. Most internet browsers will work, but ideally, Chrome integrates easiest (as Google also develops it).
Developing a Custom Map in Google Maps
The custom map functionality allows individuals to create personalized routes, locations, and landmarks, according to their specific needs. These custom maps can provide individual shapes within an existing map or additional details otherwise left out. Viewing custom maps is enabled on all devices, including mobile applications, but users must customize the map with the desktop versions.
To get started, visit the Google Maps main page and sign in under the Google account of your choice. Select the three-lined icon at the top left-hand corner of the page. You’ll want to select the “Your Places” option on the menu, which will provide the Maps tab on the screen. Choose the create map option at the bottom of the tab.
From there, a map creation window will appear in a new tab on the screen. Enter a unique name into the title while entering a detailed map description under the description area. Click the “Save” button underneath to enter the customization options.
Creating Custom Layers
All maps on the platform use integrated layering. Users can customize the map’s appearance by selecting the arrow beside the Base Map. This option allows users a personalized appearance and theme. All maps have a default appearance, showing as the “Untitled Layer” option. Adding layers brings different components to the map, which require individual names for clarity. Select the three dots beside the name and select the rename function to rename the default layer. Users can delete the layer in this section if there are components no longer needed.
Adding Custom Features to Map Layout
A customized marker is a pinpoint on the map. All pinpoints can hold additional descriptions, along with a location unspecified on the Base Map layer. To add an individual marker, locate the area on your map. Select the “Add Marker” button on the menu, and select the location you’d like to mark. The option to include a name and description will appear as a pop-up. Once entered, hit the save button.
To add personalized shapes or lines to your map, select the “Draw a Line” option in the menu and choose the “Add line or shape” option. Create the line with the mouse by pressing and dragging. To create a shape, use multiple lines. Again, name the form and select save.
If you’d like to create custom directions on the map, hit the “Add Directions” option in the menu. A new directions layer will appear in the menu on the left. Point A is the departure location, with the arrival location set as point B. Once filled, Google Maps will fill in the directions between these two points.
Important Notes to Consider
Google Maps does allow customized options for mapping, but it may not integrate the essential components of your business. If you’re looking for optimized routes, it’s up to individual users to determine the best driving routes between stops. Likewise, users can rearrange the directions (or stops) within the map, but they won’t be optimized automatically. To ensure all routes are optimized, consider using a third-party program.
Sharing Your Custom Map
Google Maps offer multiple ways of sharing the customized map between users. This includes direct links to the map and social media integration. Users can also email contacts on the custom map directly. To share the map, you’ll need to allow access under the link-sharing button. Change the level of access from the owner to anyone who has the link. Otherwise, users won’t see the map you’ve created. Changing this access is possible at any time by simply switching the viewing back to the owner only.