July 6, 2015

Where Will You Go With Google My Maps?

By Megan G. 

Sometimes pranksters ruin the fun for everyone.  The childish spam attacks conducted on Google Map Maker back in May, which included an image of a Google Android relieving itself on an Apple Logo, resulted in Google shutting down the popular tool until further notice.  

Since then, web users have been without a way to customize and create their own content on Google Maps… or have they?

What is Google My Maps?
Apparently, an application called Google My Maps has existed somewhere for quite awhile, though many people have never heard of it.  I know I hadn’t.  

Today is a new day, however!  According to the Official Google for Work Blog, the Google My Maps app is now getting some fresh exposure on Google Drive.

A screenshot of Google My Maps being selected from the Google Drive webpage.
Original image from TechCrunch.com.

With this easier access to Google My Maps, more web users can now create custom maps within the widely popular and useful Google Maps application.  After drawing out their cartographical creations, users can then share them with anyone they choose through the cloud service of Google Drive.

A Mapping Tool for Work and Play

What kind of maps could you share?  For small business owners, this tool is certainly another gem among the other Google for Work Apps, like Docs, Sheets, and Forms.  

A food truck driver can map out their route so customers can find it more easily.  An event coordinator can highlight the best parking structures for a corporate event and share that map with both his or her clients and the event-goers.  Google details a few more helpful examples in their blog post

Users don’t always have to create their maps from scratch, either.  If a web user already has data in another Google app, such as a list of addresses in Google Docs or Sheets, they can upload that data to My Maps all at once.  This kind of integration makes Google Drive a one-stop shop for managing all cloud-based work, which makes sharing data, documents, and now maps with coworkers more efficient.

But it’s not all nose-to-the-grindstone seriousness with Google.  As you can see from their Google My Maps introduction video, users can even work on tongue-in-cheek mapping projects, such as a zombie apocalypse survivalist map.

A screenshot from a cartoon video on Google My Maps, picturing a man in a zombie maps creating a zombie survivalist map on his computer.
Original image from Google My Maps Help.

I came up with a couple more ideas for the more accessible Google My Maps application!

Embark on a mobile scavenger hunt.  This kind of map could work for a friend’s birthday party or a couples’ anniversary trip to their favorite city.  Highlight different spots in a town special to your friend or significant O and take an engaging trip down memory lane—with surprises hidden at every location!

Survive a Disney trip with multiple parties.  Big groups in an even bigger amusement park can turn the happiest place on Earth into a hellish mess of miscommunication. If you have a large group of people tromping about with you, especially in separate parties, keep everyone updated with a digital map of highlighted rest spots or restaurants where you plan to meet at designated times.     

What other fun things could you do with a custom mapping tool?  Let the Tek Team know in the comments!  We’d love to hear what imagination (or practicality) comes up with!

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