Create Google Maps of Your Own To Share & Collaborate With Friends

Tina Sieber 12-02-2013

create google mapGoogle Maps is the best free tool for all your mapping and navigation needs Get There Faster - 10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips Google Maps is still the most powerful mapping service ever, despite what Apple might say. Whether you’re using Google Maps in a browser on your desktop or an app on your mobile phone, Google Maps... Read More . It’s comprehensive, intuitive to use, and available across platforms. Since there is no serious competition in sight iOS Maps Showdown: Apple Maps, Google Maps, And Nokia HERE Compared Within a week of release Google Maps for iOS shot to the top of the App Store charts as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners rushed to get Google’s free mapping solution back on their... Read More , you might as well settle with it for now and use some of the awesome features, like custom maps.


Google Maps allows you to edit its maps, save them as your own map, make it public or private, and share the link. This is ingenious and I think this feature where you can create google maps of your own is not used enough! Let me give you 3 reasons why you should use it more or better yet, let me show you 3 things you can do with custom maps.


For those of you not familiar with custom Google Maps, let me briefly show how to use them. Go to Google Maps and be sure you are logged into Google. You should see a vertical menu on the left. If not, click the little arrowhead in the top left of the map to expand the menu. In the left-hand menu, click the My places button.

create google map

Google has recently added an interactive tutorial for making custom maps. The tutorial is extremely well made, so I instead of me taking you through the process with text and screenshots, I recommend you follow this quick tutorial to create a Google map for the first time. Note that if you accidentally close all tutorial windows while editing a map, you can restart the tutorial anytime via the respective text link in the left-hand menu.

share google map


Give Directions: Showing Is Easier Than Explaining

I started using custom Google Maps to give people directions to my place. This is better than just giving them the address because you can customize the map, switch between map and satellite view, mark bus stops, highlight shortcuts, add comments, and much more.

share google map

You can create custom maps with directions and comments for many occasions, for example events, hikes, trips etc.

Collect Information: Creating Literal MindMaps Helps You Keep an Overview

There are many places we regularly visit; shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, galleries, schools, or doctors, just to name a few. And if you live in a big city and have friends all over, chances are you get around quite a bit. Keeping a map of where your friends live, your favorite places, and other frequently visited sites helps you visualize locations and maybe connect the necessary with the good.


share google map

Above is a map of MakeUseOf team members. It sure brings home the point that we are a global company.

Here are some examples of how you personally can use a custom information map:

  • Want to meet with a couple of friends and wonder what’s the easiest place for everyone to get to? Check the map. Maybe your favorite restaurant is smack in the middle of everyone.
  • Need to run an errand and want to get as much done as possible? Check who or what is on your way. Maybe there is a chance to save time or enrich your life!
  • Found a cool place and want to keep it in mind for future reference? Put it on your map and add a note to it. You can even add a picture, provided it’s hosted online.

Collaborate On Maps: Allowing You To Tap Into Collective Knowledge

Collaborative maps How to Create Shared Collaborative Google Maps Google Maps allows you to create custom maps and share them. Here's how to use Google Maps to collaborate with others. Read More are my favorite use of Google Maps and they are a spin-off of informational maps. Instead of populating a map with information all by yourself, invite other people to do it with you and thus help you collect better information. Collaborating on an informational map lets you tap into collective knowledge.


Google makes collaborating on maps very easy. While you are viewing one of your custom maps, click the Collaborate link in the top left of the vertical menu to the left of your map. Now add the email addresses of the people you would like to invite, set Advanced Permissions, add a personal message to make the invitation meaningful to people, and finally send your invitation.

create google map

Need examples of how to use collaborative maps? Here you go:

  • Traveling to a place some of your friends have visited before? Share your destination map with them and let them mark the places for you that they enjoyed most. Better than any guide book!
  • Want to discover new places like restaurants or bars where you live? Share your custom local map with people you know and have them add their favorite places. Sure, you could just check out sites like Yelp or Qype for public recommendations, but your friends know you and will likely personalize their recommendation.


Google Maps How Does Google Maps Work? Google Maps is used by millions of people every day and you might be one of them, but how does it actually work and how does Google maintain its accuracy so well? Read More is simply awesome On top of that, custom maps allow you to personalize maps, thereby making Google Maps even better. The collaborative aspect of custom maps is huge and can truly enrich your life away from the computer.


How do you create use Five Fascinating Uses for Google Maps & Earth I think there can be little doubt that writers here at MakeUseOf really love Google Maps and Google Earth. We've written about them extensively, such as John's Google Maps mashups article or Ann's article on... Read More Google Maps? Have you created any cool custom maps that you want people to know about? Please share!

Related topics: Collaboration Tools, Google Maps.

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  1. Diogo Guilherme
    January 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Quick question: It is possible to save them and use them offline? Even when you have them share?

    It will be great.

    I am looking to create some local guides, where you can share this with the people coming up to the city, showing them all the local spots.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    • Tina Sieber
      January 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I haven't tried saving these custom maps. I read online that you can export your custom maps to KML. You'll need an app that can import/read them.

      If you want to share the maps as local guides, how about printing them to PDF?

      • Diogo
        January 26, 2017 at 10:12 pm

        I work with different clients and there is a lot of detail in it.

        For now, I can put them on my website and share them via link (where they can view them). The advance will see to download them and use them offline. Since they are tourist and don't want to waste money on data but just use GPS.

        In any case thanks for your great help and quick reply. It does work and was really useful.

        • Tina Sieber
          January 27, 2017 at 10:42 am

          Very welcome, Diogo!

          If you find a good solution for your customers, please do let us know!

  2. agus jatiwiryono
    July 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm


  3. Stephanie Staker
    March 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Thank you, Tina, for the link. Google is a bit scary in all that it does but I had fun making a map. this could be quite useful for friends visiting. So fun! Took a few days before I had the time to play with it. Thanks again!

    • Tina Sieber
      March 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Most welcome, Stephanie!

      Why do you think Google is scary? Because it offers so many great services for free or because it's overwhelming to get started with using any of the services or something else entirely?

  4. pradip
    February 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

    i want see my house

    • Tina
      February 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Did you try to enter your address and search it on Google Maps?

  5. Carol Wilkerson
    February 16, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I think using Google Maps would be very helpful for genealogists who are trying to map the migration routes for their ancestors. You could put in where they lived, and then track where they moved to through their lifetimes. Or, put where each branch of one family lived on the map.

  6. Catherine McCrum
    February 14, 2013 at 1:32 am

    This should be fantastic for our upcoming summer trips.

  7. Anonymous
    February 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Great article. I have made a few custom Google Maps. is a great online map generator. You can quickly create Google Maps by copy and pasting speadsheet or csv files.

  8. Shmuel Mendelsohn
    February 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the information. I never realized how useful it could be!

  9. Vida
    February 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Anyone know if the offline caching of the personal maps is going to be fixed?

    If you go to a different country, where you don't have service, and even if you've cached the area map, you can't access your own maps.

    I fell foul of this when the hotel I was stayin in had really bad wifi.. I had planned to use my tablet to organise our days and decide where to go etc.. but had to resort to paper maps in the end..

  10. AKRefugee
    February 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I have used Google mapping for quite a while now to plan motorcycle trips. When I plan a trip I send it to all the participants before hand. Using the 3D function they can get a good idea of what the ride will be like. Now not only can they preview it on their PC at home, those with Android phones can now download it to their phones and have it on day of the ride in case we get split up or they have to meet us in the middle if the ride.

  11. Mac Witty
    February 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I have not created any public map but we use to create maps to different events. Good to be able to add not only the place for the event but also other things we thing attendees might want to know. Where to find the best coffee, buy booze, late open shops and so on

  12. mxpwr4
    February 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    How can I search other people's maps which are publicly available? It used to be as easy as a drop-down option beside the search box.

    • Tina Sieber
      February 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      I was actually looking for an option like this, but couldn't find it. You can try the unofficial Google Maps Directory GMdir instead.

      • mxpwr4
        February 13, 2013 at 2:10 am

        thanks for that link, it's better than nothing. I'm still very sad that Google removed their native search option, though.