Using Google Maps

I have recently been exploring the potential of using Google Maps in pinpointing places that I’d like to explore for photographic ideas and likewise for marking locations I’ve found to be good.

In case you aren’t aware Google have launched a new feature that integrates with their popular mapping system, called quite simply “My Maps”. My Maps allows you to add your own placemarks, lines and other shapes to maps. You can also add rich text or HTML to your placemarks. This is excellent for writing mini-guides for locations that you have discovered or plotting routes between locations to share with other people. You may have noticed that when doing a search on google for places, it may come up with a map snippet that shows you the location together with maps etc.

Take for example:

  1. Go to maps.google.co.uk
  2. Enter “La Solara, Sorrento, Italy”
  3. Select A
  4. The bubble pops up…
  5. Click on “more info…”

Or simply click on this link to go there…
Now how clever is that?! You can view the address of the hotel, reviews, photos and a whole manner of things that Google bundles together from its own database. Try looking for places that you have been to before and see what it comes up with. I wasted hours doing this the other night (must get out more!).

Anyway back to “My Maps”…

I have started to compile my own list of locations that I’ve pinpointed on my map. This means I can find places I have visited in the past and locations I am planning to visit in the future. Quite often I go out on a recce when the weather isn’t up to scratch and find places that I think would make a great shot but first thing or at the very end of the day. Up until now I have been making a note of these places but my notes have become so hard to read that they are next to useless. Google Maps has quite possibly solved this because at a glance I can see my locations on a map, I can zoom in and then even plot routes to them from my home! Its utterly brilliant. Ok the detail isn’t a patch on an Ordnance Survey map (Landranger or Explorer) but when using the “Satellite” function in GM its possible to visualise places quite easily.

Using my satnav its possible to get a GPS position and did you know that Google maps understands these? Take for example the following scenario:

I am driving along and spot an amazing landscape but the weather and timing isn’t ideal. So I make a note of it by checking my current GPS position (after parking my car of course) and jotting it down on a piece of paper. I can later add this data to My Google Map simply by entering it as a search keyword which google then pinpoints and you can then easily add it to your own map. Genius!

I will keep you posted on this and will share the maps I am compiling with you in the near future and build this functionality more into this blog as time goes by.

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