Monday, August 24, 2015

Making Maps with 'Google My Maps', Part II

Now we will look at more features, performance, and wrap up with some strengths and limitations of My Maps.  If you missed the first post, you can check it out here!

Symbology/Icons
Google includes a set of stock symbols that can be added to your map. Clicking on a category in a layer will bring up the option to change the marker color as well as add different icons.  Google has a nice stock selection of icons for: business, crisis, facilities and services, points of interest, recreation, and transportation.
Google has a nice set of stock icons.
You can also add custom icons at the bottom of this pop-up by linking to an image's web address.

Polygons in KML
Adding polygons will slow down your maps performance, currently, when they are clicked the polygon also shows the points that make it up--a strange sight--compared to other web publishing platforms.

Labeling
You can add labels by clicking the style paint brush, but your map will also take a performance hit. However, even with lots of labels, performance remains very respectable.
Adding labels will decrease the performance of your map.

Set Default View/Extent
Click the three vertical dots on the "Add Layer" menu (not the individual layer), and you will see the option to set and confirm and default view/extent, you can zoom in/out and pan and click this to set it.
Setting a good default view can significantly increase your map's appeal.

Limitations
Google has a nice table of file limits at: https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3370982?hl=en. Maps are limited to 10 layers, 10,000 features per map (2,000 per layer), maximum of 50 attribute columns, 5 MB for KML/KMZ, and 2,000 rows/points and up to 40 MB for other file types.
Google's clearly lists the limits for data uploads.
Interestingly, maps can be printed in HD up to 4K resolution. The ultra-high definition revolution is upon us!

Conclusion
Google has developed a nice user friendly interface to allow anyone (even non-mappers) to create free interactive maps. Very cool!!  It will be interesting to see how much My Maps is developed/improved, how quickly/slowly, or whether it stays the same.

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