©2019 by Donald R. Snow

This page was last updated 2019-11-21.  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 of all the places you have lived, 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. The maps you make are free and can be public or private. Many such public maps are posted on Google. We will discuss how to find these on Google Maps and how you make your own on Google's My Maps. T 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 find them and make your own?

  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) > Maps (may have to click on More first) 
    2. Ways 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. Can put icons for each on your bookmarks bar or desktop by dragging the icons from in front of the addresses in the browser 


  7. Maps Menu (3 bars in upper left corner) -- different menu fthan for My Maps (see below)
  8. Many items including Satellite, Traffic, Terrain, Your Places, Your Contributions, Take a Tour, and Tips and Tricks
  9. See Take a Tour for a good overall understanding of Google Maps; also many good helps in Tips and Tricks
  10. Satellite view shows aerial photograph of same area as map you are viewing; Terrain shows the main geographical features in that area
  11. 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 actuallytraveled day-by-day, if the Google app is turned on in your smartphone 
    4. Maps -- shows maps you have produced and saved, whether public or private


  12. My Maps Menu (3 horizontal bars in upper left) -- headings:  Create A New Map, All, Owned, Not Owned, Shared, Recent, and Explore
  13. Create A Map -- where you can create a new map
  14. All -- shows all the maps you have made, both private and public
  15. Owned -- shows only those you have made that are private and not available to anyone else
  16. Not Owned -- shows all the maps you have made and allowed to be public
  17. Shared -- shows the maps shared with you by others
  18. Recent -- shows what you worked on recently
  19. Explore -- shows a few prominent public maps, e.g. US Civil War Map and New York City Attractions
  20. 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 names so tyou can see what they are and they sort so you can find them easily; You can edit a map you've already created or copy one to begin editing it; click on image menu ("3 Vertical Dots" in upper right corner of small image) to copy, remove, etc.

  22. 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
  23. Do Google searches with "google my maps" and key words, e.g.  ' "google my maps" "donald r. snow" ' (without the outside quotes) will find some that I have made 

  25. Good tutorials in Map Menu > Help > All Articles
  26. You must be in My Maps to create or edit a map
    1. If you started in Maps, go to Your Places and click on the option to open it in My Maps
    2. Or go to  My Maps > Create A Map
    3. Or go to Maps > Main Menu > Your Places > Maps > Create Map (bottom of menu)
  27. 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 
  28. Layers -- start by putting everything in one layer; can later add other layers and drag-and-drop items to a different 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. 
  29. 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 addresses 
  30. Click on the name to edit it and add description; can also move the point, if needed
  31. To edit a point click the Edit (pencil) in the window; when done editing click Save to save it with the changes
  32. 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 
  33. Can add lines joining locations to indicate travel and can check distances and even area enclosed by a closed line
  34. Can add text, pictures, or videos at any point by clicking on the camera icon on the pop-up window for the point
  35. If desired, add new layers and drag points to them from the old layer; can then turn on or off that entire layer so the map shows only the items on the layers you want
  36. Click Preview (at top) to see how the finished map will look; on preview you can turn on or off the various layers

  38. Google Maps Support --  
  39. Many helpful YouTube videos -- Search YouTube for "using google maps" (no quotes)
  40. 8-minute video on Google Maps -- 
  41. 9-minutes video on Google Maps -- 
  42. 15-minute video on Google My Maps --   
  43. How to make a map of an LDS Ward --  and 
  44. Mapping Your Ancestry With Google Maps -- 
  45. Lifewire article -- 
  46. Wikipedia article --  

  48. Maps about yourself or ancestors, homes, work, travel, missions
  49. Migration map of where your ancestors came from and when they moved
  50. A family history research trip or any trip -- include all the places you plan to go, addresses and information about the archives, libraries, and museums, phone numbers, costs; plane or bus stations, etc. -- can find photos online ; then, as you travel, add your own information and photos so relatives or friends can experience it virtually
  51. 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
  52. Can add videos or descriptions to any places on your maps

  54. There are many good Google maps already online.
  55. Making your own maps is interesting and fun, but start by makng a simple map to get the idea.