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ENG 168B: Plotting Inheritance

Google My Maps workshop guide for Prof. Faith Smith's Spring 2024 offering of ENG 168B: Plotting Inheritance

Create a New Map

On the My Maps homepage, click +Create a New Map to open the map viewer.
Create a new map.

You can also access maps that have been shared with you via the homepage menu.
My Maps homepage menu.

Add a Map Title and Description

Click your map’s title (e.g., Untitled Map) to edit the default title and description. You will need to fill out these fields before you can share your map.
Add a map title and description to help people understand your map.

Add a New Map Layer

  1. Click Add Layer to add a new layer to your map. Layers can be used to help you group and stylize the symbols you add to your map (e.g., each novel could have its own layer). You can add up to 10 layers to a single map.

    Add layer
  2. You will need to select the layer you want to edit before adding locations. A blue line will appear next to the active map layer.

    Active map layer.
  3. You can single click a layer name (e.g., Untitled layer) to rename that layer or you can go to the Layer options menu then select Rename this layer.

    Rename this layer.
  4. You can add new locations to the map by using the drawing tools located in the menu bar or by searching for a location in the search bar. The search bar will work if you are searching with contemporary place names or with latitude / longitude coordinates.

Search Bar Method

  1. If you use the search bar method, select a place from the results list, then click Add to Map to add a place marker to your map. Locations added via the search bar will display as point markers. (You can right-click the marker and select Location to change the marker to a line or polygon).

    Add to Map.
  2. If you use the search bar method, your pop-up window will automatically include details about the location from Google Maps and may pull images about that location that others have posted to Google Maps. You can click Remove to delete these details from the pop-up window.

    Remove details from Google Maps.

    Note: If you don't remove the Details from Google Maps from your pop-up window, your final map may include media from outside users, since the software will be pulling in media directly from Google Maps. You can check if your location is displaying any outside media in Preview mode.

    Preview Details from Google Maps.

Drawing Tools Method

  1. If you use the drawing tools, you can add a new point marker or you can use the line tool to draw a line or polygon. When you're drawing a line or polygon, double-click to stop the drawing process. Use select items (hand icon) if you are trying to select a specific marker on the map.

    Drawing tools.
  2. When you first add markers to your map, you'll have the option to supply a name, description, and photos or videos for the marker. You'll be able to add additional data fields and change the symbols by editing the layer's data table and style.

    Point marker for the Port of Kingston.


Set Default Map View

You can set a default map view. This will impact how your map looks when someone first views your map. You can choose a default view that's at the global level or one that focuses more on specific countries, cities, etc.

  1. Adjust your map to the scale and extent (e.g., what's shown on the map) that you'd like to use. 
  2. Click the menu option located next to your map's title, then select Set default view

    Map Menu.


Zoom to Map Features

You can change the zoom level of your map using the map's magnification tools, search bar, keyboard shortcuts, or legend.

  • The magnification tools let you zoom in and out on the map at fixed scales.
    Magnification tools.
  • Once you add feature markers to your map, you can use the map's search bar to search for them. If you click the feature's name, the map will move your map so that feature is in view. (Note: Your map view may not change if the feature is already visible on the current view of your map).

    Searching for Matthews Lane in map search bar.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts to zoom in (+ key), zoom out (- key), switch to the next location (tab key), etc.
  • You also have the option to select features from your map's legend. Your map will adjust so your selected feature is visible and it will display that feature's pop-up window. This method produces similar results to the search bar method.

    Select Legend Item.


Measure Distances and Areas

My Maps also includes an optional measurement tool that you can use to measure straight line distances and areas.

Measure distances and areas.

After selecting the measurement tool, click on the map to start drawing a line or polygon. Double-click to stop the drawing process. Displaying measurements is a temporary process, so any lines or polygons you draw with the measurement tool will disappear once you click elsewhere on the map.

Note: Any permanent features that you've added to your map will include basic measurement details when you view the feature's pop-up window in the map builder. Point features will display latitude / longitude coordinates, line features will display distance, and polygon features will display area measurements.