Maps are handy items, especially when made to provide specific information that would be otherwise hard to visual or utilize, such as the specific locations of certain items, sites of phenomena, or more. Creating your own map can be tedious depending on the tool, and while businesses have been able to use Google Maps Engine, the average consumer hasn't had an easy way to create their own Google Maps-based map. This changes today, however, with the launch of Maps Engine Lite Beta.
The tool is intended for non-business users, and allows anyone to create their own map, supporting data upload via spreadsheets. Once the data is added, the map can be individualized with drawing and style options, and a maximum of three data sets can be added for comparison. Those who have utilized "My Maps" will also be able to import their existing creations into the beta tool, with My Maps being incorporated into Engine Lite at an unspecified future date.
Google's Map Engine Lite has already been used to create quite a few maps by various organizations and businesses, such as MAPA Project to track where sharks have been spotted along the South African coastline. Another example is one created by Google's Product Manager Beth Liebert, who's map details trail heads for various hiking paths in San Francisco's Bay Area.
For the time being, Google Maps Engine Lite is in beta mode, so expect to come across a bug or two while playing with it. Likewise, the service is presently only being offered in English, with no mention given about future support for other languages, although we presume that is the case. You can check the map engine out here yourself.
[via Google Maps Blog]