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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

Customize Symbols for a Map Layer

  1. Go to a map layer that includes point, line, or polygon features, then select the Style icon.

    Style icon
  2. Click the Group Places by drop-down menu to select a style.

    Group places by drop-down menu.
  3. You can choose the following styles for your map layer:
    • Uniform style: a single color and icon for every feature in the layer.
    • Sequence of numbers: display numbered icons for point features in the layer. Line and polygon features won't be numbered.
    • Individual styles: use a custom color and symbol for every feature in the layer.
    • Style by data column: display features based on a column from the layer's data table. Features can be further customized based on categories, data ranges, etc.

Move features on your map

If you need to move a feature to a new location on your map, you can use the select items tool to drag-and-drop the feature to a new location. Click the point, line, or polygon marker that you want to move, then drag-and-drop it to the new location.

Select items.

Reorder legend items

  1. You can drag-and-drop markers in your map's legend. This workflow is helpful if you need to reorder numbered markers or move a feature from one map layer to another.

    Drag and drop legend item to new location.
  2. Once you move the legend item, the symbol will update based on the style of the destination map layer. When I moved the Kingston, Jamaica point marker from one map layer to another, the number and color of the marker was updated.

    Updated legend item.

Customize Pop-up Windows

Each of the locations that you add to your map will display a pop-up window when clicked. The pop-up window for a location will display the fields from that layer's data table. You can add and edit content directly within the pop-up window, add photos and videos for that location, etc.

Think about the details that you want to highlight for the location(s) that you added to your class collaborative map:

  • What are some of the key takeaways that you want to share with your professor and classmates? 
  • How can you customize the details in your pop-up windows to help emphasize these takeaways? 
  • Will you add images or videos to your location(s)?
  • How does the presence (or absence) of media shift the narrative for the locations on your class map?


Edit Pop-up Window Details

  1. Click the map marker for the location that you want to edit. The default pop-up window will appear. You can click the edit icon (pencil) to edit the pop-up window.
  2. Use the checkboxes to turn on/off the visibility of the data fields that display in your pop-up window. Click the camera icon to add photos or videos to the location. Click Save when you're finished editing the pop-up window.

    Customize pop-up window.

    Note: When you turn on/off the visibility of specific data fields (e.g., description, year), the visibility settings will be batch applied to all features in that map layer. If you want to apply different settings to each feature, you will need to chose the Group Map Layers by Individual Places style when you're selecting a style for your overall map layer.


Add Media to a Pop-up Window

  1. Click the Camera icon to add a photos or videos to a pop-up window. 
  2. You can upload files from your computer; use your webcam or an image URL;  or select files from Google Photos, Google Images, Google Drive, or YouTube.
  3. You can preview the image or video that you've added to the pop-up window. Use the + icon to add additional media. Use the trash can icon to delete an image or video.

    Kingston Jamaica. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  4. Click Save to apply your changes.

Change your Basemap

  1. Click Base map to select a new basemap (i.e., background reference map) from the basemap gallery.
    Base map.
  2. Choose a basemap that helps viewers focus on the locations you’ve chosen to highlight from your novels. Here are some criteria to consider when selecting a basemap:

    • Do you like how your basemap looks at different scales? How does it look when you view the entire world, a single country, or a single city?

    • Do you want a basemap that shows contemporary street names? 

    • Does the basemap include details that aren't relevant to your project (e.g., grocery store locations)?

    • How well do your symbols contrast with your basemap? Are they easy to spot or do they blend in with the basemap?