Drawn Placemarks With Google Maps

While Google Maps is, perhaps, most commonly used to find places and directions, Google provides a wide variety of features for creating customized maps.

Creating a New Google Map

Drawing Point Placemarks

Point placemarks are used to represent specific locations.

In this example, these are entertainment venues in downtown Spokane, WA.

Drawn Point Placemarks

Point Placemarks From Search Results

Point placemarks can also be created from search results by selecting the Add to Map link in the pop-up for the point you wish to add.

Point Placemarks From Search Results

Polygon Placemarks

Shape placemarks are used to draw polygons that represent areas like regions or districts.

In this example, this is the Davenport Arts District in downtown Spokane, WA.

Creating a New Google Map

Driving Directions

You can also add driving directions lines to a map using the same tool. For this example, I will draw a route approximating the shortest route from the arts district to the nearest emergency room.

Creating a New Google Map

Base Map

It is possible to change the base map, which is a map placed under a thematic map to give geographic context to the features.

In this case, the information on the default base map makes the map a bit cluttered, and the light political or mono city base maps make the features stand out a bit more clearly.

Changing the Base Map


Finally, you should set the sharing for the map.

Click the Share link, change who has access, and select Public on the web.

Get a link to the map from the Link to Share box at the top of the sharing dialogue. You can then share the map by texting or e-mailing this link.

If you want to embed this map in a web page, you can get HTML iframe code by clicking on the top ellipsis and selecting Embed on my site.

Sharing a Google Map

KML Export and Import

You can also save the contents of a map to a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file.

A KML file allows you to import maps into Google Earth or desktop GIS programs like ArcMap. KML files also allow you to save files as documents, which you can then use to easily recreate old maps.

You export to a KML file by clicking on the ellipses at the top of the map and selecting Export to KML/KMZ.

To create a new map from a KML file, start a new map from Google Drive and Import the KML file into a layer.

KML Export and Import


Google Maps automatically saves changes as you make them, so when you are done with your map, you can just close the window.

If you want to re-open the map later, you can just double-click on it in Google Drive.

Closing and Reopening a Map