If you've ever created a map using Google Maps, you might not consider yourself an amateur cartographer, but that's basically what you are (gold star, you).
Now the Google Maps team has made a change aimed at getting even more would-be mappers contributing to its maps database by updating My Maps (renamed today from the former Google Maps Engine Lite) and opening up the Google Maps Gallery to the public.
Previously, Google Maps Gallery, which was launched in February, was limited to contributions from the U.S. Geological Survey and the World Bank, but now anyone can add custom maps to the gallery using the new My Maps tool.
A quick tour around the gallery reveals a number of interesting user-generated maps that can be found with just a few key words. For example, search for "famous authors," and a user-created map of a number of U.S. historical author sites on the East Coast comes up.
Similarly, search for "American in London," and customized maps appear, including a London food map, a map of iconic public phone boxes and a guide to London bars for soccer fans. One user created a map pinpointing some history hip-hop sites in the Bronx borough of New York City.
However, creating your own map to add to the gallery is a little more involved, but several new features in My Maps make the process easier.
Now you can import information directly from a spreadsheet, organize and style your map in layers instead of having to adjust the map point-by-point and share your map via Google Docs.
Along with the update to the web-based version of the tool, Google also updated the associated Android app in Google Play.
Tags: ANDROID APPS, APPS AND SOFTWARE, DEV - DESIGN, DEV & DESIGN, Google, GOOGLE MAPS, GOOGLE MAPS GALLERY, MOBILE, SOFTWARE, Tech