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19 July, 2013

Data visualization: Getting started with Maps Engine Lite

Maps Engine Lite let's you build maps with more customization and data than is possible using the standard Google Maps tool.

This map to an open air cinema in Berlin was made using the new Maps Engine Lite tool from Google.

It is a great tool for learning to build maps from data, making tailored maps without a lot of clutter and for adding database information to location and routing maps.

For each location or route you can attach structured text in the form of spreadsheet cells. This allows the user to drill down easily for more details. Advanced users will love that they can add more columns and make very interactive maps from data sets.

The real power comes in the ability to control the data that is displayed. 

You can add locations by search.

Or import geolocation data from spreadsheets or even any My Maps (custom Google Maps) you may have in your collection.

The drawing and styling tools are simple and much easier to use than in the standard Google Maps.

The ability to add and control layers is a power feature that allows for sophisticated interactive maps.

In my example, I used layers to give readers information about two possible routes to the outdoor cinema.
An U-Bahn route and a Bicycle route.

The user can select which layers of information they wish to view.

Get started making your own awesome map stories and share the link with me. I would love to add good examples to this post.