How to Create a Custom Map with Google Maps
In this article we are going demonstrate how to create a custom Google Map with two beginner-friendly tools:
- Google My Maps — Free but very basic.
- Atlist — Paid but very customizable.
Let's do this!
1. Google My Maps
Google My Maps is a tool created by Google for creating custom maps on top of Google Maps. It's free but a little basic.
Step 1: Go to your Google My Maps.
Step 2 : Click on the menu icon on the top-left.
Step 3: Then, click on “Your Places.”
Step 4 : Click on “Create Maps” from under Maps.
It’ll redirect you to an untitled map, which you can now edit.
Step 5 : Add whatever you want: marker, line, direction, or a custom layer.
Add the marker
To add a marker, either zoom in to the specific location or search for it on the search bar. For example, I searched for “Art Gallery of Ontario,” and this popped up:
Customize the marker
Now, you can add your marker there and customize the icon or color of it.
Add a modal window
You can even add a title, description, and images to the marker:
Then, there’s an option to add directions too. For example, you can use it to create a customized route from Point A to Point B.
Step 6 : Change base map (optional)
You can change the appearance of your map by changing the base map. Click on “Base map” at the bottom of the left-side window to select from 9 base maps: Map, Satellite, Terrain, Light Political, Mono City, Simple Atlas, Light Landmass, Dark landmass, and Whitewater.
Step 7 : Name your map.
Once the custom map is ready, give it a name if you want to.
Step 8 : Share it
Click on “Share” to share the map with whoever you want:
You can either share a link or embed it on your website.
Important note: To embed, you'll first need to make the map public.
I dived into pretty much every function of Google My Maps in the previous section. As you might have noticed, there aren’t many customization features on Google My Maps.
For customization and aesthetics, try Atlist, our custom map-making software built on top of the Google API— and an excellent Google My Maps alternative.
Step 1 : Sign up at atlistmaps.com
Once you sign up and click on “New Map,” you’ll see an untitled map, ready to be customized.
Step 2 : Add marker(s)
If the location’s already marked on Google Maps, search for it and add markers.
You can even create groups to categorize the markers:
Step 3 : Style
You can customize everything about the marker: color, shape, size, border, icon, and even add a custom marker.
Modals are the popups that appear when you click on a marker.
With Atlist, you can style everything about it:
- Position : Show it on the left, right, above, or anchored.
- Card : Change the card’s background color, padding, roundness, and shadow.
- Title, address, note : Change the size, color, weight, and visibility of all the text elements inside the card.
On top of changing the base map of your custom map, you can limit the number of roads, landmarks, labels, and icons you want to show.
Step 4 : Publish
The last step is to publish the map. By default, the map is public to anyone with a link, so you just need to choose from the two options: Embed & Link.
Copy embed code to embed on your website or share the link to the map.
Tip : Before publishing, make sure to rename it from “Untitled map” and check the preview to avoid any further edits.