How to Draw in Google Maps

Written by lance albertson
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Google Maps (maps.google.com), provides some very limited drawing facilities when you create customised maps in "My Maps." At the time of this writing you are limited to free form shapes and lines. You can change the colour and opacity of the drawn objects, and lines can be forced to follow roads. Based on the text placeholders in the property balloons it is clear that additional capabilities are on the way.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

    Create a Custom Map

  1. 1

    Go to Google Maps (maps.google.com) and click on the "My Maps" link.

  2. 2

    Click on the "Create New Map" link.

  3. 3

    Give the map a title and description, if you like, and determine if the map will be public or private, then click the "Done" button. Now when you click on the "My Maps" link you will see your map listed under "Created By Me."

    Create a Shape

  1. 1

    Go to "My Maps" on Google Maps, select the map you want to draw on, and click the "Edit" button.

  2. 2

    Navigate to the location where you want to draw the shape. You can do this by searching for an address, or you may use the hand tool and zoom slider to move to the location.

  3. 3

    Go into shape drawing mode by selecting "Draw A Shape" from the drawing drop-down button. A shape will be drawn on the button and the button will be highlighted to indicate that you are in shape drawing mode. You can also go into shape drawing mode by right clicking on the map and selecting "Draw A Shape" from the context menu.

  4. 4

    Click to start the shape, then add additional corners by clicking in other locations. Do not drag the mouse because that will only scroll the map, it won't create a new point.

  5. 5

    Double-click to close the shape. You must have at least two points in the shape before you can double-click or the shape will vanish. Double-clicking adds a point.

    Create a Line

  1. 1

    Go to "My Maps" on Google Maps, select the map you want to draw on, and click the "Edit" button.

  2. 2

    Navigate to the location you want to draw the shape. You can do this by searching for an address, or you may use the hand tool and zoom slider to move to the location.

  3. 3

    Go into line drawing mode by selecting "Draw A Line" or "Draw A Line Along Roads" from the drawing drop-down button. A line will be drawn on the button and the button will be highlighted to indicate that you are in one of the line drawing modes. You can also go into a line drawing mode by right clicking on the map and selecting "Draw A Shape" or "Draw A Line Along Roads" from the context menu. You can switch a line back and forth between free-form and snapping to the roads later, so the choice of modes is not critical.

  4. 4

    Click to start the line, then add additional points to the line by clicking in other locations. Do not drag the mouse because that will only scroll the map, it won't create a new point. If you are drawing a line along roads then the line will snap to the roads.

  5. 5

    Double-click to end the line. Double-clicking adds a point unless you double-click on the end of the line.

    Change Properties

  1. 1

    Click on the shape or line to display the properties balloon. Here you can edit the title and give it a description.

  2. 2

    Click on the square in the top right corner of the balloon to edit the visual properties. The square will be filled with a coloured square if you are editing a shape, or it will have a coloured line if you are editing a line.

  3. 3

    Change the colour, width, and opacity of the line in this balloon. For a shape, the line properties apply to the border around the shape. For shapes you may also change the fill colour and opacity, and for lines you can toggle whether or not the line snaps to the roads or not. You can see the changes in the shape properties as you change them.

  4. 4

    Click the "OK" button to make your changes permanent, or click the "Cancel" button to revert back to the previous properties.

Tips and warnings

  • You can change the line or shape by selecting one of the points and dragging it to a new location.
  • You can delete the line or shape by right-clicking on it and selecting "Delete" from the context menu.
  • You can cancel a drawing operation by pressing the "Escape" (ESC) key.

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