Create a Road Map - An Easy Tutorial
By plugging travel locations into Google Maps you can get a good sense of how your itinerary should flow, along with valuable information such as kilometres and driving times, places to visit and other useful information. You can also save your map to edit and use later on, you can share your map with friends via email or embed onto your website.
Before we start making a custom map, take some time to decide which destinations you want to visit.
We are going to create an itinerary based on these locations: In South Africa
Let's get started.
Visit https://www.google.co.za/maps/d and select + CREATE A NEW MAP. You will be prompted to sign into your Google account. If you don't have one, then go ahead and follow the instructions to set one up.
You will now be brought to the main Maps Interface. On the left side is the map control panel, you will use this to organize your layers and toggle on/off visible information. The upper left is home to the search bar, and just below it is a set of buttons used to add information markers to the map. On the right side you will find map sharing settings, and map zoom.
In the control panel, select Untitled Map, enter in a map name and description, then click Save.
First, add your starting and ending locations. In our case we will begin from our hub in Tarlton, South Africa and end there as well. In the Search Bar enter your starting address and hit Enter.
You'll notice a Pin has now been dropped in that location. Click on the pin and when the Dialog Box opens click Add to Map on the bottom left.
The pin will change colors and you will see that location is now stored in a layer in the control panel.
That's it! Your very first place mark. If you are ending at a different location go ahead and repeat this step to add that address now.
Use the same process of searching for a location, selecting the pin, and saving to your map for each of your other destinations.
Let's go through it once more. We want to visit Sterkfontein Caves so we will enter that in the Search Bar and hit Enter.
Then click on the Pin, and hit Add to Map.
Repeat these steps for all remaining destinations.
At this point you should have all your destinations added as Markers, along with your starting and ending locations. Resulting in a map that looks something like this.
Now it's time to plan a route. Take a look at where the pins are scattered and make a note of the order you want to visit each place. Click on the first destination marker you want to visit, either on the map or in the control panel. In the Dialog Box that open, click on the Directions Icon in the lower right.
In the control panel a new layer will appear that hold driving directions. Under the A row type in your starting location. You should see the marker appear as you type it in. Then hit Enter.
If you get a yellow popup saying "Couldn't Find a Route" then you will have to adjust the position of your marker. This happens because Google often drops the pins where there are no roads. To adjust, find the pin and double click. Then you can drag it to a more accessible spot.
You should now see a route between your starting location and the first destination.
Now it's time to add in the remainder of your destinations and return location. Make sure the Directions Layer is selected (we renamed it) but Clicking on the Title. You will know it's active when you see the thin blue bar just to the left. Then click + Add Destination.
Type your destinations in the order you wish to visit using the slots B, C, D, etc.... Use the Add Destination text to create more spaces.
You now have a basic itinerary, including driving directions, destinations, mileage, driving times, and an overall map.
If you are happy with the route you can Share it using the + Share button just above the first layer. Within the Share Dialog Box you can invite people via email, embed on your website, or make the whole map public.
In our itinerary we noticed a great cheese factory on our route so we are going to add that marker to our route. Between Hartbeespoort Dam and Hekpoort we will add a stop to taste some cheese.
Go ahead and make any edits or addition necessary by reordering the driving direction pins and adding/deleting locations.
Google Maps allows you to have 3 or more layers, currently we are using one for driving directions, one for location markers, but we still add one more layer. Let's use this layer to add in useful Amenities along the way.
For instance, I definitely want to make a fuel/petrol stop before driving to Magaliesburg so I'll look up a petrol station just around Hekpoort area and add it to my map in this new layer. I can also adjust the color/icon to increase readability.
We will filter for a Gas icon representing our fuel/petrol stop.
You can now see on the map your petrol station icon.
Shops, laundry, grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants are all great pins to add. The more research you do ahead of time the less you will be aimlessly wandering later on (not that it's always bad to do that!).
You can add a customized icon to your marker, just click the "Custom icon" button on the "Choose and icon" popup. Drag your image onto the "Choose your file to import" canvas. Google will automatically resize your image and file format. Notice the Camping Adventures Africa icon and entry under the Amenities layer and on the map.
You can now get the step by step direction, with distance and estimated travel times.
Our route will be an estimated distance of 150 km, and will take us 2 hours and 34 minutes to drive. This does not include stopover time at stopover points.
Now you have a good start to your road trip itinerary! Finish it off by doing research about each specific place to decide how many days you want to spend there. Use Camping Adventures Africa Road Trip Budget Planner to get an idea of how much this adventure trip will cost.
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