Suggestions for replacement for Google Maps "My Maps"?
May 4, 2014 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I need a replacement for Google Maps that lets me store custom maps and locations.

I heavily use Google Maps, and specifically its "My Maps" functionality to store maps of places I want to visit, plan holidays, store friends and family addresses, places I've been etc. etc.

The update of Google Maps last year killed the my maps functionality. I rolled back to "Classic Maps" because I rely on this feature a lot, but well over 6 months down the line there is no sign Google is going to put this functionality back in, and I suspect its very likely they'll remove the option to keep using the classic maps soon.

I was very disappointed when Google killed Reader last year, but then discovered Feedly which is a much better RSS reader than GReader ever was. Can you recommend alternative customised maps platform that I can use on the Web and my Android smartphone - hopefully they may be even better than the old Google Maps. If there is a distance measurement tool (as there is in classic Gmaps but not new Gmaps) that would be a bonus.

posted by inbetweener to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Um… are you sure they killed it? I think it's just been renamed "my places". I also have a lot of saved maps, and they're all still there. You may have to click on the little gear icon in the lower right corner to see the "my places" menu selection.
posted by spudsilo at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's there. Just click in the search bar on the upper left corner and "My custom maps" will pop up as an option. From there you can choose from your most recent maps or see the list of all your maps. I use this feature daily.

P.S. You need to be logged into Google Maps, of course. Make sure you haven't been logged out.
posted by TinWhistle at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oops. Thanks very much for that TinWhistle. I hadn't realised that at all!

Question resolved!
posted by inbetweener at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2014

While both spudsilo and TinWhistle are correct that "My Maps" is still viewable from Google Maps, it should be noted that Google has separated out the creation and editing of custom maps to a separate site:

And if you use My maps on your mobile phone, you will have to have install the Maps Engine app to view your custom maps. I do not believe you can see them from the Maps app.
posted by comradechu at 12:18 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Very late update here; this was my first Google hit for android "my maps" replacement, and upon seeing this I almost posted a nearly-identical question with my own special snowflakes, but I was able to eventually find an answer on my own, so I thought I'd share what I found.

For a while I had been using an older version of Google Maps for Android (apparently, Google Maps 6) available from a third-party site which could still access one's "classic" My Maps in Google.

More recently, it seems Google has "upgraded" all classic My Maps to the newer version - still visible in Google's own classic Maps interface, but it seems internally converted to the new version - upon which they were no longer available as My Maps in Google Maps for Android 6.

Meanwhile what was the Maps Engine for Android has been rebranded as a My Maps app. I looked at this but was dissatisfied with it for a few reasons:
  • Icons for saved places appear too large and tend to crowd together. Which alone would be a minor annoyance, but:
  • No way to see a list of all one's saved places on a given map! You can search, you can click on the individual icons for the individual listing, but there's no way in the Android app to see a list of all of them. Which was a pretty big deal for me, as that's a way I liked to use the old My Maps, when I would save maybe 20-40 places I was possibly interested in for a trip.
I next considered just using the "starred places" feature in regular Google Maps. On Google Maps for Android, you can see a list of all your starred places! Hooray! But I found three drawbacks here, any one of which alone might be only a minor annoyance, but together they pushed me to look for something else:
  • Can't have multiple sets of starred places on one Google account. You get one set of starred places all jumbled together. Possible workaround: create a new Google account for each trip/set you want to have. Seems like overkill, but I seriously considered doing this.
  • Can't change map icons. Everything shows up as a star.
  • Can't edit starred places with your own comments. I like to do this ("The duck tacos look tasty," "Recommended by MeFites.") Possible workaround: a separate document.
Eventually I found and settled on Locus (Free, Pro).
  • You can see a list of all your points; hooray!
  • You can put your own comments on them; hooray!
  • You can have different icons for different points; hooray!
But it's not perfect, and in the interest of full disclosure, its drawbacks:
  • No associated web or desktop interface, just the mobile app, which makes it difficult to create your map in the first place. But it does import GPX and KML files (and possibly others, those were the two formats I looked at). So you're better off creating the map in Google Maps or other mapping software, exporting it from there then importing into Locus. (Apparently it used to work to display "My Maps" from Google Maps directly, but that's no longer available, possibly due to Google's map format change.)
  • If you use KML, it doesn't preserve icons, so when you import into Locus everything comes up as the same icon, although you can then edit the icons within Locus itself. And Google Maps only exports as KML.
(Also, a tip: Locus offers a choice of base maps. It defaults to OpenStreetMap, which looks weird to my eyes, but can be switched to MapQuest easily enough, which is closer to what I expect a map to look like.)

tl;dr: The Android "My Maps" app, starred places within the main Google Maps app itself, or the Locus app are all options. None is ideal; each has advantages and disadvantages. Locus looks best for me, but YMMV.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:18 AM on November 25, 2014

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