Google Earth as the Crow Flies

Google Earth can make creating radius rings on a map quick and easy. The trick is using the Show Ruler tool. When you’ve finished, you can import the rings into Adobe Illustrator or into Google Maps where you can share them on a map with others.

With Google Earth Pro as a free download, mapmakers now have additional tools at hand. One tool is Google Earth Pro’s Show Ruler tool. With it you can draw radius rings and save them as .kmz files you can then import into Adobe Illustrator using Avenza’s MAPublisher plug-ins.

Google Earth's Ruler dialog box
Google Earth’s Ruler dialog box

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From Excel to Google Maps

An address map is a valuable way of representing points of data. We’ve been asked to create membership maps for organizations. A request by a church to make a map showing church member addresses inspired us to write up this method of making an address map.

Google Map’s Your Places is an easy and free portal to seeing your spreadsheet data in an online map. While there are more involved ways of accomplishing this, including linking an online version of your spreadsheet data “live” to Google Maps, let’s explore the simplest way of mapping your Excel data.

(Note that some of the menus and names of interface features change when Google decides to update this service.)

Custom Google Map of church members
Custom Google Map of church members

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Custom Type for Call-Out Boxes

To call attention to type labels on your map, consider placing them in a custom call-out box.

But not just any box will do. Place labels in boxes painted with Adobe Illustrator’s visual effects to help them stand out, or above, other details on the map.

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Parks & Recreation–A Case Study

Parks and recreation maps are successful when they attract new and returning visitors. Our custom maps are designed to help park visitors make the most of their recreation.

Parks System Map

The Frisco Parks and Recreation Department in Frisco, Texas, contacted us about producing a system map showing their many resources. This public map included community, neighborhood, and special-use parks, facilities, and trails and greenways. The map was built from current geographic (GIS) data procured from the city; this guaranteed that city street and feature information was current and accurate.

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