Google maps is a great tool and what better place to plot your upcoming trip than on an pixel map that you can easily update as often as you like. It also makes it much easier to share your plans with family and friends – reeling off the same list of destinations can soon get boring!
Click here to create your map, then follow the tutorial below to add your destinations to it and help it become your Google travel map.
Maps. Scott loves them, he pretty much spent most of his final year at university looking at them and colouring them in. One thing you probably didn’t know is that I also studied maps (geography) up to college level too! It was only after college that my web geek fully came out and pushed the colouring-in side of my brain into sleep mode. That is until Google maps improved as much as it has in recent years, now I can use my geography and IT skills to create stuff that is twice as cool.
Whilst planning a trip one of the first things you do is decide what you want to see and where you want to go. My ambitions are pretty huge and the list of places equally so. To keep everything in a clear, updatable and simple way I created a Google map that shows all of our destinations along with transport routes.
If you haven’t already, check out our map to get an idea of what the finished article looks like. You might as well have a nose at what we’ve got planned while you’re there!
The step is the easiest and the quickest, go here to begin.
Next up is plotting your destinations on the map. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to begin with the place where you’re first heading to. From there you can build the map by plotting your travel routes and destinations along the way.
Once you have searched for and found your first destination, you’ll notice the map centers on the place you select. A tooltip should also now be displaying, where you have the option to ‘add to map’ – click this and you’ll notice the destination appear on the left hand side menu.
Once you have added a few a markers to your map, you should end up with something that looks similar to this:
As you can see my map is still untitled! There’s an easy fix for that. Click on ‘Untitled map’ and then name your map whatever best suits your needs.
One thing I haven’t covered yet is how to track your travel routes for your journey. I find it is a much simpler process if you track your routes in between placing markers on the map. To do so you need to click the line symbol in the menu at the top of the map.
When you have selected the ‘add line or shape’ option, you begin by simply clicking on the map where your journey begins. It is really easy to track the roads on google maps – this helps build up a pretty accurate route for your trip, or at least gets you thinking about which route to take! After your first click you can then click multiple times to set different points along one line (this enables you to follow roads for example). Then once you get to your next destination you can add a marker to the map yourself, rather than using the search box – just click the marker icon in the toolbar menu and then click on the map where you want your new place marker to be!
Another neat thing you can do with Google maps is group different markers and lines together into layers. This allows you to categorise different parts of your map, I found this really useful when it came to separating the continents we plan on visiting.
Here is how a layer should look once you’ve added a few markers and named the layer:
I used the style element of layers markers to give our route some visual representation of which way we were going. Again this is simple to do and doesn’t take any tech knowledge, start by clicking the ‘individual styles’ link inside the layer you want to make the changes to.
You will then be shown a few different options for customising the look of your markers. The one I have used for our map is the ‘sequence of color and letters’ option – reason being that this gives you the colourful look, but also an alphabetical approach that helps with working out the order of your destinations!
I did use the ‘style by description’ option to mark the different types of transport on our map. There’s probably a bunch of other awesome things you can use this for.
By all means don’t take what I am saying as gospel – I am 100% sure that you could improve on what I have said here, but hopefully this will help get you started.
Put all the above together and you should end up with a pretty decent looking map. All that is left to do is share it with your friends and family as well as anyone else who might be interested in where you’re going!
That’s it for this how-to. If there is anything else you would like me to go into more detail regarding this, just drop a comment below!