Google Expands Maps Engine

For enterprises, Google Maps Engine lets businesses add data to Google maps. But experts aren’t the only ones like to make maps, says Google;s LatLong blog. Today they’re launching Google Maps Engine Lite (Beta), so any mapping enthusiast can now create and share custom maps. You can import small spreadsheets of locations onto a comprehensive map, visualize those places through a variety of styling and drawing options, and organize and compare up to three different data sets for your non-business purposes.

Here are a few examples of maps that’ve been created with the new lite edition of Google Maps Engine.

The MAPA Project, a nonprofit dedicated to African conservation, used Maps Engine Lite to map the locations of shark spotters; trained observers who watch the water for sharks in South Africa. Spreadsheets of Shark Spotters locations and recent white shark sightings were both imported to create the map below. Learn more about how to recreate this map through this tutorial.

Here’s a map using trail heads from San Francisco Bay Area Hiker and information about the different pet requirements on each route. The resulting map also denotes which hikes require a leash, and is great for sharing with friends and other dog lovers.

With Google’s My Maps feature, you can currently create and share maps of your world, marked with the locations, routes and regions of interest that matter to you. You sign in with your Google Account to get access to this feature.

If you have already created My Maps, you can import your existing My Maps, layering them with still more information to make them more detailed and helpful than ever before. These My Maps will continue to be available for people who want to create simple custom maps, and will eventually be incorporated into Google Maps Engine Lite.

Poynter explains how journalists can use Excel to organize data for stories. The Huffington Post compiled and mapped news reports of gun-related homicides and accidental deaths in the U.S. since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.(map)

The team built the map using geo-coding from MapQuest. To build the interactive elements of the map, they chose an open-source program called D3, which describes itself as a JavaScript library for manipulating documentsbased on data. D3 allows users to move in on a section of a map just by clicking on it.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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