Thursday, April 23, 2009
You've probably been there: a friend asks you for directions to your house for a party, or to that nice picnic spot you recommended, so you try to scribble some lines on the back of a napkin or you try to explain out loud that they should take the second (or is it the third?) left. It's particularly a pain when you want to tell a bunch of people - like your entire housewarming guest list - directions.
To make this easier -- for you, and for the people you're trying to direct! -- we've added features that let you save, annotate, and share directions using My Maps, the personal map editor built into Google Maps.
Saving driving directions to a My Map is easy: just click the "Save to My Maps" link below the directions in the left pane.
This opens a dialogue box where you can choose to save to an existing map, or create a new one.
Once your directions are saved, you'll be taken into the My Maps editor, where you can edit the saved placemarks and route, as well as add new places and details to your map, like landmarks along the way.
We've also added a new tool that lets you draw lines along a road to get from point to point. This is accessed via a drop-down menu in the line tool by clicking and holding briefly anywhere on the button.
The tool calculates the best driving route between your line's vertices and automatically snaps your line to the appropriate road.
With your directions saved in My Maps, it's easy to add notes, share with friends, embed in web sites, and invite collaborators to contribute to your map.
So when it comes time to plan your next road trip, consider using My Maps as your planning tool -- at the very least, if you hit a bump and spill coffee on your map halfway through the trip, you'll still have a backup.