Create Custom Maps using Google’s Map Engine Lite

Have you ever wanted to create your own custom map online? For example, maybe you have a list of addresses and you’d like to see them all in one picture. Now you can. In March 2013 Google released their Maps Engine Lite tool that allows you to make maps of your own address list by importing an Excel file. (Note: You can also manually add items to your map using the Google Maps search function.)

Here’s how to use Maps Engine Lite:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Click “Sign in” and use your gmail address or other Google login.
  3. Click on “My places.”
  4. Click the link for “Get advanced features with Maps Engine Lite” (to be able to import Excel file).
  5. Click the “New map” button.
  6. Under “Untitled layer,” click “Import.” You can import any of these types of files: .csv, .xlsx, .tsv, My Maps or Google Drive spreadsheets.
  7. Choose the Excel (.xlsx) file that contains your address data.
  8. Select the columns that hold address data.
  9. Select column to title the place mark (name of location or person).
  10. Your custom map is displayed.

There are a couple of points to note in this process. A custom map can contain up to 3 layers. Each layer can hold a maximum of 100 addresses, for a total of 300 addresses on the Map, thus your Excel file should only contain 100 rows of data. You’ll also want to make sure the first row of the Excel file contains column headings such as Name, Street Address, City, etc. Google Maps uses this information as the labels for each entry on the map. Layers can be hidden, which could be handy. Labels can be displayed on the map and some limited formatting options are available.

Maps are private by default but they can be shared.

Next time you’d like to create your own map from a list of addresses, now you have a tool to do so.


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