The Best Way to Create a Custom Google Map

 

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Custom maps give you the ability to share valuable insights with team members, decision-makers, and customers. Use a variety of tools and features to tell your story in a way that’s clear and easy for everyone to understand. Today’s technology gives you multiple options for creating custom maps.

3 Ways to Create a Custom Google Map

Building a custom map may seem complicated, but it’s actually surprisingly easy. There are three ways that anyone can create their own custom map:

  1. Create a Map using the My Maps feature on Google Maps Website.
  1. Use mapping software built on Google Maps like Maptive.
  1. Create your own application using the Google Maps API.

The method you choose will depend on your needs, project, and experience.

Method 1: Create a Custom Map on the Google Maps Website

Google Maps allows you to customize maps by adding markers manually or as a group. This method is simple and free, making it a great choice for anyone with limited experience or budget.

Follow the steps below to create a custom map on Google Maps:

  1. Go to the Google Maps Page to make a Google Map.
  2. Click on the Menu icon in the top left-hand corner
Click on Google maps
  1. Click on the “Your Places” Option
Click on Your Places Option
  1. Click on the Maps Tab
Click on Google Maps Button
  1. Click on the Create Map Button
Google Maps Marker Icon
  1. Once you are on the map creation page click the marker icon.
  2. Find the place on the map you want to add a marker and click.
Custom Google Map
  1. This will place a marker and bring up a box where you can add a name description and other attributes to the marker.
  2. Repeat the previous 3 steps as many times as needed.
Popup box that lets you add a name and description to your marker
  1. Once you are finished you can click on the location: 1. in the image below to name your map, 2. to name your layer, and 3 to share your maps with others.
Maptive Custom Map
While this is a very cost-effective solution, Google Maps offers very few customization options.

 

Method 2: Use Mapping Software like Maptive

Mapping software provides you with a wide array of options to design your perfect map. If you want to use map styles like heat maps, radii, and boundaries then this is likely the option for you.

Follow the steps below to create a custom map with Maptive:

  1. Go to the Maptive login page and either signup or login.
  2. Once on your Maptive home page click on the Create New Map button
Create Custom Map Maptive
  1. In the “Create a New Map” popup, name your map, and click continue.
map customizer software
  1. Our map customizer software allows you to select your data source. You can choose to upload a spreadsheet, copy and paste data, use Google Sheets, or in this example add markers manually.
place a marker on your custom map
  1. Then click on “Place a marker on the map” button.
map making software
  1. Then move the map and click on the location you want to place a marker.
  2. To add more markers click on the “Add a marker to you map” icon and repeat the previous 2 steps.
creating a custom google map in Maptive
  1. Once completed, your map might look like the one below. The arrow points to where you can go to share this map, but as you can see there are too many options within Maptive to show in one page. Feel free to play around with a map or visit our features page to read about each individual feature.
custom google map
These steps outline how to place markers on your map, but Maptive offers many more options, including custom colors, labels, map legends, and more. Feel free to experiment with your map, or visit our features page to learn more.

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Method 3: Create a map with the Google Maps API.

Google Maps API gives you the ability to create a truly custom map that works exactly how you want it to. This method has the advantage of being the most flexible and is free up to certain limits set by Google.

The disadvantage is that it can be time-consuming and complicated to build all the features you want. Plus, to create more than just a basic map you’ll need some considerable knowledge of HTML and other programming languages. 

You can find a tutorial on how to create a simple map with a marker using the Google Maps Javascript API here.

What’s the Best Method for Creating Custom Google Maps?

The answer to this question really depends on your needs.

If you just need a quick map with limited functionality you can use the Google Maps website. However, if you need an easy way to customize your map with a wide array of features then you’ll probably need to use prepackaged mapping software like Maptive. 

Finally, if your organization can’t afford mapping software, or you need a completely custom map that’s not available through other solutions, look into creating a map using the Google Maps API.

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