How to create an interactive Google Map
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a free Google Account. Click here to create a free Google account.
If you already have a Google Account created go to http://maps.google.com
Once you have logged into your account in the upper-left hand corner you’ll see the words ‘My Maps’.
Click on ‘Create new map’ to get started building a new interactive and embeddable Google map.
Give it a title and a description so you can easily identify it the next time you want to reference it. You’ll see why this is important in a moment.
Decide whether you want your map to be displayed publicly or only with people you choose to share the map’s URL.
Type into the search field the address of the location you want to add onto your map.
For example, I will type in ‘Chicago’ and click ‘Search Map’ and a red balloon appears on the city of Chicago along with a bubble with more information on Google maps.
Click ‘Save to My Maps’.
(click image to enlarge)
A box will prompt you to choose the title of the map you want to save this address in. This is where you realize how and what you titled your maps can help you tag addresses faster.
The bubble will expand to include a field for you to input a description of the address.
(click image to enlarge)
This gives you an opportunity to explain why this address is important to your user.
You can choose to use either plain text, rich text or HTML to add information. There is also a mini WYSWIG (what you see is what you get) editor to assist you in adding photos, hyperlink text and much more.
You can also change the icon that points to the address. Instead of a red or blue balloon you can choose from one of many Google ‘default icons’.
You can create and add your own icons to your Google maps by clicking ‘add an icon’.
Scroll down on the left-hand side on the Google maps where it says ‘Hide’ and un-check any addresses you might have erroneously typed to make them disappear from your map.
To embed your Google Map into a blog or Web site click on the word ‘Link’ in the upper right hand corner.
Copy the HTML code and paste it to embed into your Web site.
You can customize how your map is displayed even further by clicking on ‘Customized and preview embedded map.’
Here are some fun examples of Google maps:
Hilary Fosdal is the Interactive Content Manager for Barrington Broadcasting Group. You can read more of her work on Running for Food.
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