I started exploring Google Maps on my PC, and found My Places with a big red Create Map button. So I pushed that button, and started placing waypoints along the trail. Mostly at places like significant road crossings, highly regarded hostels, festivals, etc. Then I found the link button, and created a link that could be embedded in a web site. I fired up Blogger, and created a special page for this map. (You can see it listed over there in the right-hand column.) Every time I added a new link, it was updated on the blog page.
Then I opened Google Maps on my droid. I had to geek a bit to find My Maps hidden under the Layers button in the upper right corner. I got a pop up listing the map I had created, and when I punched it, I got the map with all the waypoints I had entered.
But that's when the frustration started. I couldn't find any way to set a waypoint based on coordinates provided by the phone's GPS. I checked every menu, googled it, spent way too much time sifting through forums, saw a reference to a My Maps app that apparently no longer exists. Tried Latitudes and starring locations, but they wanted to go to street adresses near the point selected. I finally I got a definitive response from a Google Maps Forum guy - It can't be done. But he'll be glad to forward my suggestion to the developers so they can maybe implement it someday ...
A week or so goes by, and I'm dropping comments in every forum that is mildly related to Google Maps. A Google Community Manager on Google+ posts about how "we all heart My Maps," and I made a mildly snarky comment about how I'd heart 'em a lot more if I could place a waypoint using my droid. Kristian Serrano engaged me in a discussion of my requirements, and suggested using the My Tracks app.
I had been using My Tracks to measure hikes and bike rides, but hadn't noticed the Marker function in the menus. It was greyed out, and I had to start recording a track to use it. I was then prompted to gave the marker a name, and enter a description. I saved it and stopped recording the track. I brought up the menu, selected send to Google | Google My Maps | Pick an Existing Map | Send Now, I selected my map, and voila! The waypoint was on my map embedded in this blog. A bit of a workaround, but I was able to place a waypoint based on coordinates using my Droid!
Here's the process in detail (Android):
Oct 8, 2012 Note: While hiking last summer, the My Tracks app was updated, and the process became a lot more intuitive. I've updated the following based on the latest release.
- Open My Tracks
- Press the big red button to begin recording a track
- Press your phone's menu button and select Insert Marker
- Give the marker a name, type and description
- Press Add
- Press the big gray button to stop recording the track
- Give the track a name, type and description if you want, and press Save
- Press your phone's menu button
- Select send to Google, then check Google Maps and Use existing Map
- Press Send now
- Select the map you want from the list that comes up.
- Your track and waypoint will automatically upload, and appear on your map
I've been using this process to update my location as I hike the trail. If you have a good data connection, you'll see the map, or sat photo, and be able to upload the track and waypoint to your map. If you don't have a data connection, you can still create and save tracks/waypoints, and upload them later. You just won't see a map.
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"I have an existential map. It has 'You are here' written all over it." - Steven Wright