Quick Custom Google Map for Business Service Area

(Updated Oct. 14, 2013 – In order to import a KML, you’ll need to click on My Places, then instead of the red Create Map button, click the link underneath (“Or create with classic My Maps”). On the next screen you can import a KML; it’s Maps Engine Lite that won’t let you import KMLs at this time.)

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Ever tried to use Google Maps to create something more than the typical road or location map? Frustrating, wasn’t it?

Map 1I needed to make a service area map for a client and started by doing a search for ‘google county map boundaries,’ since I knew that county lines were not part of Google maps by default. I found a map of US County Boundaries in Google’s Fusion Tables data. I only needed three counties, so I zoomed in, then used the Filter to select the County Name of each of those three counties. That produced a map like the one to the right.

However, I couldn’t edit this one. I needed the counties to be semi-transparent.

I went to Google Maps and created a new map, zoomed in on the area I needed. Then I clicked Import (it’s just above the title) to see if that would help, and it did: it told me I could import files with a format of KML.

I went back to my custom map and clicked File > Download, where I could choose the KML format. I downloaded this to my computer, then back in the new map clicked Import again to pull in the new file.

Map 2

Voila! That pulled in my county boundaries perfectly. Then, all I needed to do was click on each county and I could change the color and transparency of the overlay and lines.

Here’s my final edited map to the right. It took about 10 minutes to create, once I found the county line data. You can search for all types of map data to use in your own custom maps at Google Fusion.

10 Comments


  1. Debbie, you are a champ!
    Nice find. I’ve been working on this intermittently for months. I’ve got heaps of ‘Tiger’ files and raw ESRI data but never found a good solution getting it into a google map layer. Last week, I finally broke down and traced the counties by hand using vector lines in openLayers. Ouch!
    I like this solution much better.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thank you Vid!

      I kind of found this treasure trove of data at Google Fusion by accident, but I will be using it now that I know about it.


  2. Thank you, this was really helpful! Used it to make a service area map, too.


  3. You said:

    “I went to Google Maps and created a new map, zoomed in on the area I needed. Then I clicked Import (it’s just above the title) to see if that would help, and it did: it told me I could import files with a format of KML.”

    I don’t see anything in google maps that allows me to import the other file. I don’t have a title for the map I have created, just the header on the left that allows you to type in the places you want directions from/to, etc.

    Thanks,
    Terrell


    1. I found it – you’ll need to click on My Places, then instead of the red Create Map button, click the link underneath (“Or create with classic My Maps”). On the next screen you can import a KML; it’s Maps Engine Lite that won’t let you import KMLs at this time.


  4. Hey I followed all these steps but on the final map it says for non-commercial use?


  5. This is a great post, but when I try to search for the information in Google Fusion, it’s telling me I don’t have permission to view the requested table. Anyone know why?


    1. This post is from 2012 – it’s very possible that something’s changed at Google Fusion by now that would make these instructions obsolete…

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