How to: Custom Google Map

Everyone has used Google Maps to find an address, but did you know you can compose your own custom map?

Go to https://www.google.com/mymaps and click “Create a New Map” to get started.

New Custom Google Map

You can manually add points, lines, and driving directions. You can also search for places and then add them to the selected layer. However, the most useful feature is “Import”, which enables you to upload GPX, KML, CSV, or Excel files (including Google Sheets).

I use a Google Sheet starting with 3 columns: Name, Latitude, and Longitude. I then add other data that might be helpful (like the price of campgrounds).

Once you import a layer, you can customize the icons and colors of the points on the map. My favorite option is “Style by data column”.

Use a new layer for each different dataset, so you can toggle its visibility independently. Here’s our finished map:

Our planning map

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