Everyone knows how to find whatever they are looking for on Google Maps, but one of the biggest unaddressed issues with the platform has been curation, and more specifically, finding the curated content.
For some time there have been curated maps with points of interest that can help you plan a vacation, or even find interesting things to do in your local area, but finding these maps have been difficult. Google has remedied that issue today with an update to Google Maps Gallery, a feature you’ve likely never heard of.
Google Maps Gallery has been home to a collection of curated maps from contributors including NASA, the World Bank, and universities. You could find maps related to weather information and crime statistics, but unless you want to be Al Roker or a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, you probably didn’t come across the feature.
Today’s update to Google Maps Gallery is a much-needed improvement. Google is opening up the service to all Google users, allowing anyone to add maps to the gallery. Now you can search for things like the best hiking trails in Los Angeles, or the best ski slopes in Colorado, with more maps coming as more users start adding their own.
You can contribute to the Gallery by using My Maps, the new creation function. My Maps can help you plan out your entire itinerary for a trip, with the ability to add descriptions, photos, custom icons, YouTube videos, and even import spreadsheets to points of interest you may have added to your map. You don’t have to share your map either—it can remain private, allowing you to add more personal locations if necessary (i.e., you probably don’t want to publish a public map of a trip to your family’s house).
There is also a My Maps app for Android so you can view your map and others on the go. Google hasn’t said if an iOS app is currently in the works, but the company has brought a number of its apps over to iOS, and if this catches on, it should be no different.
Screenshot via Google Maps