Monday, March 7, 2011

Google My Maps: Because Your In-Laws Will Stop Asking You Where Your Son’s Pediatrician Is

Anyone who knows me well is laughing already: directions, maps, navigation…not my strongest skill. Thanks to my decade as a Girl Scout, I am a decent map-reader. But truth be told, I am notoriously awful at keeping track of cardinal directions and street names. I am more of a “turn-right-when-you-see-the-big-tree-by-the-McDonalds” kind of girl.
As a direct result of my loose navigating style, I consult Google Maps on an (almost) daily basis. At some point, I stumbled upon a cool feature where you can build your open personalized map. Cue the flood gates: I became a map building fiend! Remember growing up, when you would see a map plastered up on your grandparents’ basement wall, covered in thumbtacks and push-pins of their many adventures? Now you can build a map online with a bunch of locations and simply share the link with your friends or family. Here are a couple fun examples I thought of, that could be a great use for My Maps.
  1. Wedding Website: Nowadays, I have seen more and more couples creating a website where all of their wedding details can be seen. How about creating one map with all the important locations on it? Chapel, hotels nearby, rehearsal dinner, reception, airport … done!
  2. Restaurant Map: San Francisco has more restaurants than I can remember. I keep a single map with all the places I have eaten, along with a few notes of what I had. That way, if a friend comes into town and wants a recommendation, I can just send them the link and they can pick a place close to their location.
  3. World Travel Map: Drop a pin on the map for every place you have visited, and easily add the dates or names of cities for referencing later.
  4. Family Schedule Map: Families can get busy. How about having one map the whole family can see, which has the most important locations to see: home, Dad’s office, Mom’s office, doctor’s office, dentist, daughter’s ballet studio and obviously…grandma’s house!

If you are curious about My Maps and want to build one of your own, you can check out a post on the official Google Maps blog I authored a couple weeks ago, Using My Maps for your summer sublet, for step-by-step directions. Still, I always get a kick of being mapless and instead wandering to find that-one-bakery-by-the-house-with-the-extra-friendly-golden-retriever-and-rose-bushes…

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