How to Draw Lines on Google Maps
There are various ways to perceive the world, and one of the most popular has become Google Maps, a cloud application that enjoys about 80% of market share in the digital mapping segment, which makes it far more popular than rival services offered by Microsoft and Apple.
A major reason for Google Maps’ popularity is its accuracy and a wide variety of tools and features, which allow users to get a lot done within the cloud app. Here we will learn how to draw lines on Google Maps, and we will also discuss other features to make your mapping experience more useful.
How to Draw Lines on Google Maps
The ability to draw shapes and lines right on Google Maps is a powerful feature you can use to plan routes, mark specific areas, delineate regions, call attention to features, visually explain boundaries of land surveys, or simply make informational markings that will stand out. We are going to go step-by-step so that you can effectively learn how to draw lines on Google Maps; this is a simple task that can be quite useful once you get the hang of it.
Access Google My Maps
You will only be able to access the Google Maps drawing tools from My Maps, which is part of your Google Account. Learning how to draw lines on Google Maps will also require a computer, laptop, or hybrid personal computing device such as the Microsoft Surface. This is a web service that runs better on the desktop versions of Google Chrome and other browsers built on the Chromium code base, which means that it will work with browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and others. My Maps also runs well on Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.
It is important to note that My Maps is not a mobile surface. You cannot learn how to draw lines on Google Maps from an Android smartphone or an Apple iPad; however, you will be able to view the overlay drawings you create on My Maps from mobile devices. To do all this, you will need to access your Google Account, so let’s quickly review the process of creating one in case you do not have one.
If you use an Android mobile device, chances are that you already have a Google Account; you will know this is the case if you use Gmail, the YouTube app, or the Google Play store. On your browser address bar, enter mymaps.google.com in order to check if you have an account. If you are not signed in to your Google Account, you will be prompted to enter your username and password. If you do not have an account, click on the “Create Account” link at the bottom left corner of the login window; here you can choose between setting up a personal or business account, and you can complete the process by providing first name, last name, username, and password of your choice.
Once you are logged into your Google Account, going to mymaps.google.com will take you to a screen with a menu bar with the following options:
- Create a New Map
- Not Owned
Since we are new at this, we will choose the Create a New Map option. Google Maps will guess your geolocation based on IP address or GPS reading, and you will see a map displaying a country or regional level view. The name of this file will be Untitled Map, and it will have a blank description, but you can edit both details by clicking right on the title.
Navigating to a Location and Address
You will notice that My Maps is like a watered-down version of Google Maps in the sense that you can easily find your way around by inputting an address or a landmark; for example, you can enter “Eiffel Tower” and be taken to the heart of Paris, which is precisely at Champ de Mars, 5 Av. Anatole France. At this point, you will probably want to zoom in or out so that relevant points can be displayed. For this example, we will draw a walking route from the Eiffel Tower to the corner of Boulevard de Grenelle and Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, which is where you can find American franchises such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Using the Google Maps Drawing Tools
If you are using a Chromium-based browser, you will see various tools right below the location bar. From left to right, the tools are:
- Select Items
- Add Marker
- Draw a Line
- Add Directions
- Measure Distances and Areas
Depending on your screen resolution and orientation, the toolbar may be located on the left side. The Draw a Line tool looks like a zigzagged line. Once you click on it, you will be able to choose from the following:
- Add Line or Shape
- Add Driving Route
- Add Biking Route
- Add Walking Route
Let’s say you want to show a friend where the Starbucks in the Grenelle is in reference to the Eiffel Tower. You can click on Add Line, click once on the iconic tower and drag the pointer to the Starbucks on the map. A single click will put an end to the line segment; a double-click will complete the line.
Applying Color and Thickness to Lines on My Maps
On My Maps, a line is a series of segments. Upon double-clicking, a window will pop up to let you name it and assign a description. This can be something like “Eiffel Tower to Starbucks – Straight line through Champ de Mars.” This dialog window automatically displays the distance, and it gives you four new tools:
- Add Image or Video
- Delete Feature
When you select Style, you will be able to change the line colors and thickness. This is how to draw lines on Google Maps, which is also known as Google Maps draw a line between markers.
How to Draw Lines on Google Maps - Uses and Applications
In the Eiffel Tower and Starbucks example above, the function of drawing a line on the Paris map was to connect the two places geometrically. This is good for someone who generally knows how to get around the French capital, but a better use would be to actually plan a route.
If we want to tell a friend how she can walk from the tower to Starbucks, we can show her the route offered by Google so that she does not have to trample through the lawns of Champ de Mars. Instead of adding a line, choose Add Walking Route from the drawing toolbar, and Google Maps will take care of the rest. Two markers will be added in this case: A is the Eiffel Tower and B is the Starbucks in the Grenelle district. The route will take you through avenues such as Gustave Eiffel, Pierre Loti, General Ferrie, and others; you will also have the option to display step-by-step directions.
Drawing Shapes on Google Maps
The drawing tool of My Maps also lets you draw polygons. With shapes, you can take surface area measurements in addition to perimeters, which can give you the total distance. In essence, shapes can be used to call attention to specific areas in Google Maps.
Staying with the example above, we can draw a rectangle around the magnificent Champ de Mars so that we can show a friend how it is located between Avenue Elisee Reclus and Avenue Charles Floquet. This shape will tell our friend that she can walk northeast from the Eiffel Tower and across the park until she finds Elisee Reclus so that she can walk all around for 2.8 kilometers and return to the starting point.
You do not want to draw shapes right over roads so that they do not block their names.
Colors and Styles for Your Google Maps Markings
The drawing tools of My Maps include markers that you can use to define specific points or personal landmarks. We want to let our friend know about the places around the Eiffel Tower where she can sit down and enjoy a drink during her visit. While we can do this by sharing street addresses she can find on her own, a picture is always worth a thousand words or so.
There are quite a few delightful bars and brasseries around the Eiffel Tower. The one on Avenue de la Bourdonnais right by the Promenade de Quai Branly is a must-visit, so we can add a marker by clicking on the pin-looking icon and dropping it nearby. After we assign a name and description, we can change the color of the marking and choosing an icon that looks like a martini glass. These markings are useful because we can leave messages in the description box; for example: “try the refreshing St-Germain Spritz for 11 euros.”
Tips and Tricks for Editing Your Google Maps
Always make sure to click on Save after entering a name and description for your lines, shapes, or markings. Do not assume that your work will be saved automatically. If you make a mistake, remember you can undo changes with the first button in the toolbar. When drawing a driving, biking, or walking route, you can use the undo button to backtrack a segment and choose the right one.
Google My Maps gives you many chances to label your lines, drawings, and markings. Be sure to make the most out of this feature with detailed descriptions. If you have a photograph or a video that can augment your drawings and markings, by all means include them; they can be rather useful to those you will be sharing your maps with. Pictures do not have to be your own; they can also be snapshots from Google Maps Street View. As for sharing options, as of early 2022 you have the following:
You can also share the files you make on Google My Maps by embedding them on websites you manage; you can get the HTML code by clicking on the Share icon of the map you see when you visit mymaps.google.com
If you are wondering how to draw lines on Google Maps, check out My Maps. It is a great addition to the Google Maps cloud application, which appears to be getting better with each new feature added. You should be able to get the hang of drawing lines, shapes, and markers in just a few minutes; we hope you enjoy sharing useful maps with others. There is a lot to learn about Google Maps, so be sure to explore other features.
The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support Clever Sequence