Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About My Maps (But Were too Afraid to Ask)

What are My Maps?

How to Create a Google My Map

  • Create in Google Drive OR at http://mymaps.google.com
  • If a file is created in Google Drive, it can be placed in a shared folder for students.
  • MyMaps.google.com contains all of the My Maps you've created and those that have been shared with you.

Adding Placemarks to a Google My Map

  • Placemarks help show where certain events occurred.
  • Can be added manually (using the menu at the top of the map) OR by searching for a location and then adding it to your map.
  • Placemarks can also contain text, images, and videos (from either Youtube or Google Drive).
  • They can also be stylized to help add more meaning to your My Map.

Sharing and Collaborating on a My Map

  • My Maps can be collaborated on by students and teachers.
  • Press the SHARE button in the top left.
  • You can share the map with "Specific people", make it where "Anyone with the link" can view/edit it, or make it "Public on the web."
  • Important: to see changes collaborators make, the page must be refreshed.

Drawing Polygons and Lines

  • 2D polygons and lines can be drawn on a My Map
  • Lines show distance between points as the crow files.
  • Polygons show area of a location, state, province, or continent.
  • Classroom idea: "Okay class, today we're going to determine the area of our school..."
  • Measurements are shown in either kilometers or miles (depending on which country you live).

Adding Images and Videos

  • Placemarks and polygons can have multiples images and videos added on to them for a user to interact with.
  • Images can be uploaded, taken by the web camera, added from Google Drive or a URL, added from Google Photos, or from a Google Image Search.
  • Videos can added from a Youtube search or a Youtube URL.

Editing Placemarks

  • Placemarks can be stylized by becoming different icons and colors.
  • Edit your Placemark by selecting it, then clicking the pencil.
  • The color and image on it can be changed.
  • Hundreds of icons to select from; they're searchable, too.
  • You can upload your own custom icon, too!

Adding Layers

  • Need to sort/filter your locations in different groups?
  • Add a layer by clicking the "Add a Layer" button in the top left.
  • Layers can have uniform, a sequence of numbers or individual styles.
  • Layers can have labels for different placemarks and polygons turned on.
  • Can export individual layers as KML/KMZ to view in Google Earth.

Changing the Base Map

  • There are nine different base maps that can be displayed on a My Map.
  • Satellite, Terrain, Political, and Atlas, to name a few.
  • Choose a Base map which helps a user understand the information on your map the clearest.

Setting the Default View

  • This sets the field of view which appears anytime a user opens your Map.
  • In other words, it makes your students see a certain part of the map first.
  • Also works for public My Maps in the "View only" mode.

Reorganizing Placemarks and Polygons

  • Trying to show information chronologically on your map?
  • Any placemarks on the map key can be clicked and dragged around to reorder.
  • They can also be dragged between layers.

The Measurement Tool

  • Used to measure distances (in kilometers and miles) between multiple points as the crow flies.
  • Click the ruler up the top to enable to tool
  • Measure perimeter and area by creating polygons.
  • Smaller areas are shown in acres, not square miles.

Importing KML/KMZ Files

Viewing a My Map on Google Earth

  • Want to display your My Map in a much more beautiful way?
  • Export your My Map as a KML/KMZ file (use a KMZ if you create custom icons)
  • Head to earth.google.com (it's the new Google Earth)
  • Import your KML/KMZ onto Google Earth.
  • Each layer becomes its own folder in the KML file
  • Images and videos transfer, too!
  • Want to learn more about the new Google Earth? Check out my other page (click).

The Data Set Table

  • Large data sets imported from a Google Sheet can be viewed and edited on the Data Set table.
  • While it doesn't have the same functionality as a Google Sheet, it still is a quick way to edit/view any data on the My Map.
  • Can remove rows/columns in one fell swoop.

Stylizing a Map by a Data Set Column

  • Have multiple placemarks displaying data on a layer and want to make the more visual?
  • Change to "Style by data column" and sort your data into "Ranges".
  • I recommend using single color ranges and not the full spectrum.

A Google Photos My Map

  • Want to create a map from images in a Google Photos album?
  • Create a new layer and click "Import".
  • Click "Photo album" and select the ones you'd like to add onto your My Map.
  • Press select, and the images become Placemarks on your My Map.
  • Note: this does not work with videos... yet.

Exploring Public My Maps

  • At http://mymaps.google.com you can explore vetted My Maps that are approved by Google.
  • They're not filterable, but there are about 50 or so that you and your students can view.
  • Open them up, press the three dots, an you can copy the map to your Google Drive.

Creating a Map from a Google Sheet

Assigning Maps in Google Classroom

  • Make your My Map where "Anyone with the link can view".
  • Place instructions for the task/assignment on a Placemark.
  • Attach the link to your "My Map" as a Resource onto your Google Classroom assignment.
  • Students open up the My Map, press the "Three Dots", and then "Make a Copy"
  • Students can then add their My Map from their Drive onto the assignment.

Opening a My Map in Google Maps

  • Want to quickly display any maps you've created on Google Maps?
  • Press the Google Maps menu button (three lines), select "My Places", and then "Maps".
  • Click the My Map you want to open, and it'll appear on your screen (including any polygons and placemarks).

Embedding a Map on a Google Site

  • Want your My Map to appear on your Google Site or class blog? There are two ways to do this.
  • You can click the three dots on a My Map and select "Embed on my site" to find the HTML code. This code can be pasted on your website/blog.
  • If you have a new Google Site, click "Insert", the "Map", the "My Maps" to find the one you want to embed.
  • Alter the dimensions to best fit on your Google Site.

Adding Driving Directions

  • Going on a Field Trip as a class and want to show your chaperones how to get there?
  • Create a My Maps layer with all the different locations your class will be going.
  • Press "Driving Directions" from the bar going across the top; this will add a new layer to your My Map.
  • You can find directions between Placemarks or any address.