How to create a custom map online for your business

Creating your map is an innovative aspect of business, but many owners believe it’s time-consuming and difficult. Thankfully, it’s far easier than many think. The most popular method of creating a custom map online is the Google Maps application or website. This program will typically work well for simple tasks (like mapping out a primary route or a few points for reference). However, businesses needing more advanced customization options like hundreds of locations or developing optimized routes will likely struggle with the interface.

Companies wanting to develop a personalized map should consider using one of the three methods below for their custom map solution.

Developing a Custom Map using Google Maps

Google Maps allows users to develop and customize maps by manually adding individual markers or uploading them as a group. This mapping solution is free to use and user-friendly. It’s a solid starting point for anyone with a limited budget or experience. To create a custom map with this application:

  1. Log into the Google My Maps Page and locate the Menu icon in the top left-hand corner.
  2. Select the “Your Places” option in the menu.
  3. Click on the “Maps” tab and select the “Create Map” button.

When the map creation page loads, choose the marker icon to add a point to the page. Clicking anywhere on the map automatically creates a marker and pulls up an attribute box. Users can upload the name, description, and other attributes.

Creating a Custom Map Using the Google Maps API

The Google Maps platform allows users to develop a custom map. This method holds a distinct advantage over other online mapping tools. Google Maps API allows complete flexibility and is free to use (up to certain limitations). Unfortunately, this method requires significant programming knowledge and can become time-consuming and complicated to integrate all necessary features. You’ll need considerable knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, and other programming languages to create more than a simple map.

Unless users have a programming individual on staff, there’s an added expense that can require significant time and energy to integrate.

Using Third-Party Software to Create a Custom Map

For businesses wanting customizable map styles or tools, mapping software is ideal. Third-party mapping software offers integration of Google maps with many more customization options. The software provides plenty of opportunities to create a custom map for your needs. Most mapping software includes operational tools like heat map generation, geographic boundary territory tools, multi-stop planners, and radius map tools.

To create a custom map, log into the software and open the dashboard. Click the “Create New Map” button and enter a name for the map. The software will allow users to select a data source (typically for Google Sheets, spreadsheets, or copy-and-paste methods). After the user uploads all information, data will automatically generate a map. Mapping software allows powerful map creation with extensive features for business owners. These features will typically include territory map tools, satellite maps, drawing tools, heat maps, and other demographic data.

Choosing the Best Method for Creating a Custom Map for Your Business

Knowing which option to choose for creating your custom map depends on the company’s needs. Users may find the Google Maps application sufficient for businesses requiring limited functionality. If you want extensive customization options, Google Maps API or third-party mapping software is likely better suited.

While Google Maps is user-friendly and free to use, creating a custom map is often frustrating. Navigation is difficult, juggling multiple layers and layouts. Also, sharing a custom map takes a lot of work. Most sharing must be done digitally. Mapping software is frequently streamlined, allowing users to customize and share in whichever format they choose. Sharing options will often include printing methods, with many programs allowing printing up to poster size. The added formatting options for sharing and printing provide further control over the media from start to finish.