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By Molly Nelson and Mara Dauber.

Google Maps is an innovative online mapping tool that allows users to search for driving, public transit, and walking routes between addresses, intersections, and landmarks around the globe. Viewing options include a normal map view and a satellite view, as well as weather and traffic overlays and options to view labels in local languages or in English transliterations.

Want to get started on your own map? View the tutorial on how to input data points on Google MyMaps (by Molly Nelson and Mara Dauber)

Learn how to generate a map from a database in Google Spreadsheets

  1. Visit this site for an overview and leave open in a browser tab.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a spreadsheet in google docs. It is recommended that you include the following column headers:
    1. Title [this is what you would like to show up in bold succinctly describing a data point]
    2. Description [the explanatory text, images, or embedded video that shows up when you click on a data point]. Please note that the text can be entered without any html markup, but that images need to marked up and videos need the embed code from their hosting source [e.g.  <img src=”image.jpg”></src>
    3. Latitude
    4. Longitude
  3. Latitude and longitude can be selected in a number of ways.
    1. For a single point: Use http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html and find your point
    2. For a few points: Use http://stevemorse.org/jcal/latlonbatch.html and enter your addresses
    3. For addresses in a spreadsheet: Try http://www.batchgeo.com/
    4. For large sets you might need to script a call to the appropriate google maps API
  4. With at least one record filled out in the spreadsheet, the next step is obtain the spreadsheet and worksheet ID for your google doc.  This information is necessary to connect the data in your spreadsheet to the map:
    1. Save the spreadsheet
    2. Publish the spreadsheet by clicking on the arrow next to “share”, then selecting “publishing a web page” (Warning! Don’t publish private data!)
    3. Click “start publishing”
    4. You should see a URL, that looks something like this: ‘http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=[spreadsheet key]row&output-html’
    5. Copy the parts of the URL that make up the spreadsheet key.
  5. Enter the spreadsheet key you just obtained into the gmaps-samples page.  Enter “od6” as the worksheet ID [note: this only works for single worksheet documents]
  6. Click “Load Worksheet Data” button when done. If your worksheet loaded successfully & you’re using Firefox, you’ll see a snapshot of the column data below. Note that the first row is treated as the header row – so it’s best to put descriptive column titles there (e.g. “year”, “revenue”).
  7. Customize the map output by choosing from the options.
  8. Click “update map” to see a new preview
  9. Copy the automatically generated html code in the grey box, and use to create your web page:
    1. You can use any text editor to create the html file, but you have to save it appropriately
    2. You can use html encoding software, like Coda or Dreamweaver

** When you paste the html code, please replace the “&key=” code on the 13th line with your google API key.  It should look like “&key=1347109473104713057310957”

To get your google API key, go to: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html