©2018 by Donald R. Snow

This page was last updated 2018-08-20.  Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don Snow's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT: Google has built-in maps, called Google Maps, and the ability to make your own maps, called Google My Maps.  Possibilities of maps to make are a map of all the places you have lived, around the neighborhood where you grew up, an ancestor's migration, a trip you are planning,
where an organization's members live, and important locations in a city.  Making these maps is free and they can be public or private.  Google My Maps has tools and ways to make and edit these and many maps have already been made and are posted on Google.  We will discuss these two features of Google , show how to find already-made maps on Google, and show how to make your own maps.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are posted on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah. 
  2. The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are posted on my website
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link while keeping your place in the original page, hold down the Control key while clicking the link, so it opens in a new tab. 
  4. The problem for today:  What are Google Maps and Google "My Maps" and how do you make a Google map?

  6. Google Maps and Google My Maps are different -- Maps is where you find maps and directions you need; My Maps is where you make and edit your own maps
    1. Ways to get to Google Maps:  (1)  and  (2)  Go to Google > "Tic-Tac-Toe board" (upper right corner) > More > Maps
    2. Way to get to Google My Maps:  (1)  and  (2)  Go To Google > Maps > Menu (3 horizontal bars in upper left corner) > Your Places > Maps -- this brings in all the maps you've worked on  
    3. It is helpful to put icons for both on your browser Bookmarks bar, or desktop, by dragging the icons in front of the addresses in browser 
  7. The Maps Menus (3 bars in upper left corner on both screens) are different menus for Maps and My Maps
  8. Google Maps Menu has many items including Satellite, Traffic, Terrain, Your Places, Your Contributions, Take a Tour, and Tips and Tricks
    1. Good tour of Google Maps on Take a Tour; also many good helps in Tips and Tricks
    2. Satellite view shows aerial photograph of same area as map you are viewing; Terrain shows the main geographical features in that area
    3. Your Places has four subheadings:  Labeled, Saved, Visited, and Maps
      1. Labeled -- shows places you have entered into the system, e.g. your home, your children's or ancestors' homes, important family history locations for your ancestors, places you plan to go, libraries, etc.
      2. Saved -- shows locations you have entered and described
      3. Visited -- show where you have actually gone physically day-by-day, if the app in your smartphone is turned on
      4. Maps -- shows maps you have produced and saved, whether public or private
  9. Google My Maps has headings:  Create A New Map, All, Owned, Not Owned, Shared, Recent, and Explore
    1. Create A Map -- where you can create a new map
    2. All -- shows all the maps you have made, both private and public
    3. Owned -- shows only those you have made that are private and not available to anyone else
    4. Not Owned -- shows all the maps you have made and allowed to be public
    5. Shared -- shows the maps shared with you by others
    6. Recent -- shows what you worked on recently
    7. Explore -- shows a few prominent public maps, e.g. US Civil War Map and New York City Attractions
    8. Hover cursor over name to see full name; Sort your maps in various ways by clicking on A|Z (upper right corner of page); Give them name so they sort so you can find them; Edit a map you've already created or copy one to begin editing; Click on image menu ("3 Vertical Dots" in upper right corner of small image) to copy, remove, etc.


    9. The Explore option in Google My Maps has several prominent maps that were created and made public; clicking on one will put it into your map collection
    10. Find other Google maps by searches for things like "lds england 'google my maps'" or "voyage of the titanic 'google my maps'" (include the quotes around "google my maps")
    11. LDS ward and stake boundary maps -- 

    13. Go to Google My Maps > Create A Map or to Google Maps > Main Menu > Your Places > Maps > Create Map (bottom of menu)
    14. Map Menu > Help > All Articles has several good tutorial articles about making Google maps
    15. You must be in My Maps to create or edit a map; if you started in Google Maps, go to Your Places and click on the option to open it in My Maps
    16. While making a map, it's a good idea to make a copy periodically, so you don't inadvertently delete everything; can sometimes find deleted maps in 
    17. Layers -- start by putting everything in just one layer; later you can add other layers and drag-and-drop items to another layer; layers can be turned on or off; examples of layers could be things like addresses of where you lived, locations of schools you attended, locations of where you worked, locations of things important to you such as churches, playgrounds, etc. 
    18. Several ways to add locations
      1. Do a search by the name or address of the place and then click "Add to Map"
      2. Click on "tear drop" in the editing panel at top and move it to where you want it
      3. Enter the GPS coordinates
      4. Upload a file such as a spreadsheet with the data
    19. Click on the name to edit it and add description; can also move the point, if needed
    20. To edit a point click the Edit (pencil) in the window; when done editing click Save to save it with the changes
    21. Data for every point is saved in a Data Table for each layer; to get to a layer's Data Table click on the 3 dots by the layer title, then Data Table; can edit data for points in that layer right there; easy to make them more uniform there than on the map itself 
    22. Can add lines joining locations to indicate travel and can check distances and even area enclosed by a closed line
    23. Can add text, pictures, or videos at any point by clicking on the camera icon on the pop-up window for the point
    24. If desired, add new layers and drag points to them from the layer they were in; can then turn on or off that entire layer so the map shows only the items on the layers you want
    25. Click Preview (at top) to see how the finished map will look; on preview you can turn on or off the various layers

    27. Many helpful YouTube videos -- Search YouTube for "using google maps" (no quotes)
    28. 8-minute video on Google Maps -- 
    29. 9-minutes video on Google Maps -- 
    30. 15-minute video on Google My Maps --   
    31. How to make a map of an LDS Ward --  and 
    32. Full text of Internet Genealogy with article about Google My Maps by Lisa Alzo -- 
    33. Mapping Your Ancestry With Google Maps -- 
    34. Lifewire article -- 
    35. Wikipedia article --  

    37. Maps about yourself or an ancestor -- homes, work, travel, missions
    38. Migration map of where your ancestors were from and where and when they moved
    39. Planning a family history research trip -- include all the places you plan to go, addresses and information about the archives and libraries, phone numbers, costs; plane or bus stations, etc. -- can find photos online ; then, as you travel, add you own information to your map and what you found there, so relatives or friends can experience it virtually
    40. Maps of where members of an organization live -- can enter the data into a spreadsheet and import all addresses at once and let Google place the icons
    41. Can add videos or descriptions of any place on your maps

    43. There are many good Google maps already online and making your own is not hard, once you do the first one.