Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | 8:37 AM
Google Maps comes to Malaysia
We recently launched Google Maps Malaysia. The Malaysian Maps launch is one of the new local Maps domains in Southeast Asia along with Google Maps Thailand.
Having Google Maps in Malaysia means that Malaysian users can get driving directions and location/business search as well as access to business listings from Superpages and local event/food/lifestyle content from KLue. Malaysian businesses can add and edit their own business listings for free using the Local Business Center (see an earlier post), create their own Mapplets from a live data feed, and even put Maps on their websites via the free Maps API. In addition, the Maps functionality is also available on Google Maps for Mobile.
Another very hot topic with many of our users, partners and developers are different Maps-based mash ups. One of the greatest things about Google Maps is that it allows different levels of complexity for different profiles. Using the Maps API is one method, but there is an even easier way to accomplish impressive Maps mash-ups using My Maps - all without coding a single line!
Using My Maps you can create personalised, annotated, customised maps using Google Maps. If you are creating a new My Map from scratch, or want to collaborate with others using Google tools in creating the mash-up, your best bet is to use the provided drawing methods on Google Maps directly. Just click on My Maps, select "Create new map", and fill in the title and description for your map. The easiest way to get started is to use the drawing toolkit. The tools allow you to draw lines and shapes, as well as add placemarks on your map.
Out of the the provided drawing tools, the placemark tool provides the most flexible way of adding our content on the maps. Add one by selecting the blue pin icon and dropping that on the map wherever you'd like to place it and it opens up a dialog to include content.
You have three different editing modes: Plain text, Rich text, and HTML. The information you can include in the info windows is not limited to text - you can include any valid HTML content including embedded YouTube videos. Let's start with image content first.
To show an image in the bubble select the Rich text editing mode, and you can edit the bubble text as well as include an image. Note that you need to host your images on a web server as Maps does not allow you to upload the images directly.
In order to show a YouTube video in the bubble, go to the YouTube page, and copy the code from "Embed" field on the right.
Go back to your My Map, select "Edit HTML", and paste the code into the bubble. In order to test the video you will have to save the My Map (click Done on the left sidebar) and select the bubble.
Once you are done with the bubble content don't forget to select the most appropriate icon for your placemark from a list of provided icons or even add your own by clicking the icon symbol in the bubble.
In a true Web 2.0 fashion you can also invite collaborators to extend the My Map you created.
Once you are done with your map you can select if you want your new Map to appear in Maps search results or not by selecting "Public" or "Unlisted" at the publish settings. Public Maps will appear on searches by other users who are searching on Google Maps. An unlisted My Map is a private map that can be seen only by you and your chosen collaborators.
Place the My Map on Your Site or Blog
The last neat piece in creating the My Map is placing the interactive map on your own website or blog. Publishing the map on your site does not require coding. All you need to do is to click the "Link" button at the top left of the view and select 'Customize and preview embedded map'. Select the size of the map to be shown on your site, select the dimensions, and select the default map center as well as zoom level and map type. Once you are happy with the results, copy the HTML code and place it on your website or blog. There you have it - your first mash-up living on your site and no coding involved! Congratulations!
- For more information on using My Maps take a look at Maps User Guide.
- Need inspiration? Check out the entries and winners from the My Maps Australia Awards.
- For an alternative method of inserting maps on your site take a look at Google Web Elements.
- To build more advanced mash-ups take a look at the Maps API and Maps Data API.
- If you have editorial content (photos, videos, reviews) you can also contact us to display your data on Google Maps along with links back to your site.
Have you created an interesting My Map or built a mash-up with the Maps API? If so, we would love to hear about it. Please share your work with us in the comments below.