Sometimes we just want a quick way to visualize, and share our spatial data using maps, without the hassle that comes with the whole process. Well your prayers has just been answered……..!!
Google and other open source engines are determined to narrow the gap between desktop and online mapping experience. Some GIS Experts are feeling threatened because they feel Google is demystifying their expertise. But personally, I feel it is a wonderful development that must be embraced and celebrated.
With the introduction of Google’s map engine, it is now possible to publish several layers of map data online and reach a wider audience without investing in expensive desktop GIS applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS and Pitney Bow’s MapInfo. This would further improve the profile of mapping and create extensive awareness for location intelligence.
Google Maps Engine is easy to use and you really do not require a formal training to take advantage of its power.
Maps Engine allows users to upload small spreadsheets with locations and visualize them on a map. They can also compare up to three different data sets for non-businesses purposes.
These custom maps can have multiple layers, and users who don’t have spreadsheets to upload can also manually draw lines, mark specific areas and set place markers. Google offers a total of nine base maps, including its usual satellite and terrain maps, as well as styles that emphasize city boundaries, political boundaries and highways. Maps Engine also offers about 150 different icons that can be used to mark specific places.
To help new users get started, Google also published a tutorial that offers a few sample data sets and a step-by-step guide to publishing a custom map.
This tutorial is targeting a typical Ugandan map or GIS Analyst and is offering a simple step-by-step approach to publishing a custom map online using Google map as a back drop.
Summary of Tutorial
We shall attempt to import sample data for Karamoja essentially covering the following data:
1) Karamoja Water Sources
2) Local Government Area
You need internet access and a Gmail account to take advantage of the Map Engine. So If you don’t have one yet, this is a good time to create one.
How to Start
Step 1: You can open Google Maps Engine from this link https://www.google.com/mymaps
The next step is to thematically colour the WATER SOURCES based on the FUNCTIONALITY.
This should separate the water sources into special classes on the basis of the FUNCTIONALITY.
At his stage, you can play around with the colours. To change the colours, place your cursor on each category of Fuctionality e.g. “Abandoned” and click on the symbol appearing by the side of the class to change the colour.
Step 3: We are going to attempt to bring the LGA boundary data as an additional layer.
Note: the LGA boundary would have to be brought in as a KML format.
To do this, open the LGA boundary data in QGIS in whatever native format it is stored e.g. SHP or TAB and save it as a KML format.
This is how you can add other layers. You can click on any feature displayed on the map to retrieve the “attribution details in a way similar to using the Info tool in ArcGIS or MapInfo.
Notice the followings in the Sharing Setting window:
Maps Engine Lite could be a great tool to use to introduce Young GIS Enthusiast geography, Surveying students to using GIS to interpret data and make decisions based on that data
Caveat: I must place on record that it appears Google is discontinuing support for Google Maps Engine starting 2016. So if you are seriously contemplating a move to Google Maps Engine, it is important that you bear this ominous fact in mind.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: “This work was adopted from the original work published by Ireti Ajala from this linkhttp://lagosstreetmap.
blogspot.ug/2015/04/tutorial- online-map-publishing-for.html ”
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I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS TUTORIAL.