App/site for making/navigating customized map
April 30, 2013 11:05 AM   Subscribe

There are a bunch of trips I'd like to take. I read about these places for years. I want to be able to save the addresses of places I'm interested in, as I read about them. I want to, eventually, be able to create a customized map of my destination; and ideally have this map integrate with an iphone app that will display the map and help me navigate among my destinations. Is this a thing?

Here's an example of the sort of thing I want. Say I want to plan a trip to Paris. Over the years, I will read a lot of articles about things to see and eat in Paris. When I read an article mentioning a place, I'd like to be able to save the location to this repository. (Or even better, say if a friend just tells me about it, I'd like to be able to enter it by name and have my tool find the address.) Then, when I'm ready to go, I want to be able to view a map of Paris with all my locations indicated on it, superimposed on a regular street map so it's navigable. Then, when I go to Paris. I'll look at my map in the morning to figure out an itinerary that integrates my locations. Then as I wander along, I can also use my phone to figure out what's nearest, like "here we are by Notre Dame, and just a block away is that chocolate place and also the brasserie, choose one and I'll navigate you there."

Is there a tool for this? Doesn't it seem like there should be?
posted by fingersandtoes to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: These are all things you can do in google maps, as far as I know: places you search for are saved to "my places", and you can create a custom map containing any number of these. This will then sync to maps on your mobile device (at least in android/ios).
posted by Oktober at 11:15 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding Googlemaps. I've done this for myself and for my bosses. You'll notice that you can put pins in different places on Googlemaps - but you can also customize each pin, so you can use different colors (pink for hotels, green for cafes, blue for shops, etc.) or even icons for things (a bed for hotels, a fork and knife for restaurants, etc.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Google maps? Is there a reason why Google Maps won't work for you? You can saves and export your personal maps.
posted by agregoli at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2013

Best answer: Google Maps is great, and in fact I've used it for just this purpose in the past. It's not integrating very well with the iOs app right now - you can't add things to a custom "my places" map from mobile, and your saved maps are not available as a layer, but I downloaded an app called My Place (not a google product, to my knowledge) that shows your saved places. Unfortunately the color coding, etc. is not available in this app, but I'm hoping it'll be available in the google maps app soon (if not soon enough for the trip I go on in FOUR DAYS, ahem). I remember having better luck with this on past trips when I've had android mobile devices.
posted by hungrybruno at 11:57 AM on April 30, 2013

You might be able to use Foursquare to do this, too. You can add places to your "to do" list as well as save other people's lists.
posted by thirdletter at 12:59 PM on April 30, 2013

Response by poster: thanks all -- I hope the answer to my next question will be as much of a "duh." Oktober, you said it syncs to the iPhone; how do I access it from the Google Maps iOS app? I don't see my maps as an option? I have a 4S.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:30 PM on April 30, 2013

Best answer: I'm guessing you're going with google, but as someone that tries to stay away from google, there's an app that basically does what you're asking (among other things). I recently used it to to plan a trip to New Orleans and it worked perfectly. It's called Rego.

It's an iPhone app, but I didn't miss having a desktop app. Before your trip you can just search for places (it uses both foursquare and google) and you can save them. You can save them to a list, and they can be part of multiple list. You can also add notes, and pictures to the place you save.

So I can search for a restaurant in New Orleans and save it to my list "Restaurants to Try in Nola". I can then add a note that tells of their operating hours, maybe what their signature dish is. I can also add pictures, maybe one of the outside so I know what I'm looking for when driving.

I can add other restaurants to that list. When I'm in New Orleans I can open the app and click the Restaurants to Try list. The top half of the list will be a map with my position, plus all the restaurants I've saved pinned around me. The lower half will be a list of the restaurants sorted by closest to furthest from my current location.

So where ever I am changes each restaurants distance from me, and it's easy to see how far I am from any place I've saved.

If I decide to visit the closest restaurant, I click on it. I'm then brought to that page, and I can see any pictures or notes I've written about it. I can then also click a button that will take me to there, from my current position, in apple maps, google maps, and a few GPS apps.

Of course, when I'm at the restaurant, I can add notes (what I had, was it any good), pictures, and move it to my "Favorite Nola Restaurants" list if I really enjoy it. You can also then send your 'page' for that restaurant to anyone you'd like so that they can also go to the restaurant.

There's a lot more to it than that, and it's a new app, so features are still being added (the beta has satellite views). But it's pretty amazing. It's equally good at choosing places to visit, as tracking places as you find them.
posted by justgary at 5:27 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had a recent discovery about custom Google Maps: you can edit them in a text editor. They're just a markup language file. GMaps easily lets you export the file via the "KML" link, which you can then poke around at on your own without the GMaps interface if that's bothering you for some reason*, then upload it back to the site with the Import tool.

* - I had a map of ~100 places and wanted to remove about half of them for a different version of it. This is not trivial when editing via GMaps.
posted by knile at 1:03 AM on May 5, 2013

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