Show your class the world with Google Maps


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Find a location in Google Maps by typing in an address
  • Create a personalized map with My Maps or Maps Engine Lite
  • Add a marker to a personalized map
  • Share a personalized map


The following scenarios show examples of how educators use Google Maps in their classrooms.

Map your class field trip or a historical journey

Often Mr. Tuttle has trouble explaining to his Standard 7 geography class how much technology has facilitated and expedited our geographical travel around the world. Just reading the words in the textbook or talking about it is not enough to illustrate the point. After creating a Google account, Mr. Tuttle realises he can quickly map historical journeys and display them in class on the projector or add links to his maps on computer assignments and quizzes.

Now, he asks students to guess how long it takes today to travel the mapped distance. The students sometimes guess incorrectly, but they are even more surprised when he asks them to guess how long it took a particular historical figure to travel that same route 200, 500, or 1000 years ago. It has led students to understand more deeply and write more descriptively in their essays about the dangers, risks, and problems historical figures faced when traveling such long distances in the name of exploration.

Teach fundamentals of Geography

Ms. Hartono is a lower secondary school, social studies teacher doing after school remediation tutorials with select students. She notices her tutorial students struggle with concepts like latitude and longitude. The written handouts don’t help. She then tries to give them a spherical globe of the earth to play around with. This is a little better, but the students cannot resize the countries to see details.

Remembering that her students love playing with computers and tablets, she helps them explore geography using Google Maps. If a country is too small, the students simply zoom in to see the longitude and latitude. They quickly begin to see what locations are on the same latitudinal lines and what places are on the same longitudinal lines while zooming in and out and rotating. Any time they do not recognise a location, the teacher zooms in and they realise that a particular city is connected to another through latitude. After struggling for three tutorial sessions, the students finally understand longitude and latitude and are ready to take a quiz.

Collect visual information about different locations

Mr. Miles is a final year economics teacher planning a project that compares the effect of capitalism and communism on the world’s poor. Mr. Miles likes to add visual images to his lessons, activities, and projects. He often has trouble finding interesting and different images from the usual ones he sees of various places around the world.

A fellow teacher suggests that he tries Google Maps. Mr. Miles tries Google Maps and is able to find pictures submitted by people around the world associated with each location. Google Maps even gives him ground-level views of most land locations in the world. This really speeds up his work and he is able to find images for his lessons, activities, and projects in half the time it previously took.


Find a location in Google Maps by typing in an address

To find a place in Google Maps using an address:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Type your search query or search terms.
  3. Press Enter.

If you search for a type of place, you can refine your results even further based on categories. Use the filter drop-down menus below the search box.

Create a personalized map with My Maps

To create a personalized map:

  1. Navigate to
  2. Depending on your version follow one of the two options below:
    • Click the gear icon in the bottom right corner and choose “My Places” from the pop-up menu or options. Click CREATE MAP (red button) on the screen.
    • Click "My Maps" in the top left part of the screen, then Create.
  3. Type in an address or place name and click Enter.
  4. Click the green marker at the center of the screen and click Add to map.
  5. Click the marker again (now red) and click Add description. Type in a description of the place. 
  6. Click Untitled map in the left corner and type a name for the map. Also write a description.

Share a map

To share your map:

  1. Open the map you want to share.
  2. Click the green Share button in the upper right.
  3. Type the email addresses of the people you want to share with in the text box below "Add people." You can add a single person, a mailing list, or choose from your contacts.
  4. Choose the access level from the drop-down menu next to each collaborator: "Can view" or "Can edit."
  5. [Optional] To share the map more widely, click Change. Then choose your visibility and access settings.

Once you’ve granted access to your recipients, you can share in a few ways:

  • Use the URL itself.
  • Share a link via Gmail, Google+ or social media.
  • Add names of Google Contacts, email addresses, or Google Groups to allow others to view or edit.

Classroom connections

You and your students can use the information you have learned in this lesson in the following ways:


  • Use Google Maps to transform your students into arm-chair explorers and cartographers with ease.
  • Help students understand geography concepts like map reading, location, and distance measurement.
  • Teach the fundamentals of mapping like latitude and longitude.
  • Inspire students to investigate the world and think spatially.
  • Create collaborative maps - Create a school campus map, a family heritage map.
  • Create Assignments - Write a set of instructions for students to follow and see if they can get to the right place. It could be done in Maths when learning directions or in Language lessons. Students could then write their own instructions for someone else to follow. 
  • Organise virtual tours -Take students on a virtual tour to any historical place or landscape.


  • Create collaborative maps - Create a school campus map, a family heritage map.
  • Add or edit places on Maps for your community.
  • Compare neighborhoods and communities across the world.
  • Create a map of the different biohabitats in your area - You can add pictures of the creatures they find in each one.
  • Find out about geographical features such as rivers, main cities or landmarks and add a placemark to post images and information to share with your classmates.
  • Use Maps to describe different civilizations and cultures.
  • Create projects on geography and history using Google Maps which provides 3D, street view and other details on the specific places searched.
  • Collect information, images, videos and weather about interesting places.

Learn more


Part A. Find the location

Practice searching for the following locations in Google Maps:

  • Your school
  • Your home
  • The location of the head of your country

Part B. What is that?

Practice searching for the following locations and enter the name of the place that is located there.

1. Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India

2. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20500

3. Cape Town, 7400, South Africa

4. Aguas Calientes, Peru

5. 1-km Raiwind Rd, Lahore, Pakistan

6. Praza do Obradoiro, s/n, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain


Try playing the game Smartypins. It will give you an opportunity to look for places through Google Maps. Cube is another game. Both tend to focus on places in the United States of America.

Part C. Create and share a map with a marker

  1. Create a map with 3 locations you could take your class on a field trip.
  2. Share the map with a friend or colleague.

Part D. How will you use Google Maps in your classroom?

Please answer all questions in order to receive credit for this project.

Please answer all questions in order to receive credit for this project.