When we first started developing the map creation tools in Google Maps, I found a turkey hiding among the Maps placemark icons, a Thanksgiving leftover, no doubt. I proposed we include it in our icon menu. For some reason, no one else on the team seemed to think that was a good idea. I'm guessing few of you have been clamoring for a turkey, but perhaps you have wished for some other symbol that we neglected to include.

Today we've added support for custom icons, so now you can use any image on the web for your placemarks. Just click on the new 'Add an icon' link in the icon menu, type the URL into the dialog box, and you're good to go. I typed in http://google.com/mapfiles/turkey.png to get my majestic bird.

You can also make up your own icons. Although many image formats will work, PNGs with transparent backgrounds look best on the map. Another idea is to use photo thumbnails. Here's a map showing where some of my teammates and I come from.

As an added bonus, all the new icons you add to a map are listed under the 'My icons' tab in the icon menu, making it easy to reuse them for other placemarks.