Google has launched a product called Google Maps Engine Lite (Beta) designed to help mapping enthusiasts create and share custom maps much like enterprise users have been able to do with the non-Lite version for quite some time now.
The search giant said the application is powerful and easy to work with, allowing users to import small spreadsheets of locations onto a comprehensive map and visualize those locations using multiple drawing and styling options. Users are then invited to organize and compare up to three different data sets – for non-business purposes only, of course.
Google outlines a couple of different usage scenarios and maps that have already been created using the tool in a recent blog post on the subject. One example is the MAPA Project which is a non-profit designed to further African conservation. It uses Maps Engine Lite to highlight the location of shark spotters, trained observers that keep an eye out for sharks, along the False Bay coast in South Africa.
Project Manager Beth Liebert built a custom map used to plot various hiking trails that she can visit with her dog near her home. The map features valuable information like which trails require a leash and other various pet requirements. She said it is great to share with her friends and other dog-loving hikers in the community.
It’s worth reiterating that the tool is still in beta and is only available in English as of writing. Google said they are eager to learn more about how people use Maps Engine Lite as they continue to implement more capabilities.