Back in 2007 Google first introduced My Maps which allowed anyone to create and share their own maps directly in the Google Maps interface. Since then Google Maps has received a significant upgrade which went live for all users in February this year. The older version, now referred to as ‘classic Google Maps’, still exists and if necessary you can switch back to it by clicking on the question mark in the lower right hand corner of the new Maps, and selecting ‘Return to classic Google Maps’.
Separately, Google created Google Maps Engine, formerly known as Google Earth Builder, which was initially targeted at enterprise customers and later extended for use by nonprofits and researchers in the Google Earth Outreach program. In March last year, Google introduced Maps Engine Lite, a free version of Maps Engine. In October last year, it introduced Maps Engine Pro, a paid for version targeted at small businesses. These last two products were recently renamed My Maps Pro, and My Maps.
Maps Gallery is the place to find maps that users have created and shared publicly.
People who had created custom maps were, until recently, mostly still using the classic My Maps. However, Google is encouraging users to switch over to the new My Maps, and in the near future will transition everyone automatically.
One such user is George Stiller, the creator of MyReadingMapped, an excellent site with a lot of Maps content that we have featured no less than 17 times in the past. For a list of those articles, click here. George decided last week to take the plunge and switch over to the new maps before being automatically upgraded. He has blogged about his experience and I highly recommend that anyone who is facing the upgrade read through his blog posts so that you know what to expect.