We have been using Google maps, since quite long, probably every one knows about it. We use it all the time especially to find route to desired location, if you have lost your way. Google map will show you the exact path to a desired destination fed by you. But for those who don’t know about Google maps, below is introduction about the same.

What is Google Map?

As per Wikipedia – Google Maps developed by Google, is a web mapping service. It provides:

  • Satellite imagery,

These are the images of Earth or other planets. These images are collected by imaging satellites operated by different governments and businesses around the world.

  • Street maps and 360° panoramic views of streets (Street View),

This is another technology feature provided by Google Maps and Google Earth. This feature provides panoramic views collected from different positions along many streets in the world. Launched in 2007, initially it covered only several cities that too only in the United States. Since then it has expanded its horizon to include cities and rural areas all around the world.

  • Real-time traffic conditions (Google Traffic)

It is yet another feature of Google Maps. Google Traffic displays traffic conditions in real time focusing on major roads and highways. It provides both website and mobile applications so that Google Traffic can be viewed by different means especially hand held devices.

  • Route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle (in beta), or public transportation:

This feature is known by different names:

  • journey planner,
  • trip planner, or
  • route planner

It is a kind of search engine equipped to find an asses the best means of travelling. You will have to provide source and destination and between these two or more given locations it generates a plan using more than one transport mode.

You can even optimize your search based on different criteria.

How to use Google map on my website?

I had discussed about “Best Content Management Systems” in one of my posts. These can be employed to create your websites in few hours. Content Management Systems like WordPress being most used CMS allows you to add functionalities to your website with the help of plugins. You can know more about plugins here. In this article I am discussing about 3 best plugins to add Google Maps on your website.

WP Google Maps

It is one of the best plugin to show Google Maps on your WordPress site.  It’s very powerful and both free and premium versions are available.

Once installed, To create a map:

  • Navigate to Maps
    • Maps and click on ‘my first map’.
    • If you are using free version you’re limited to only a single map.

With simple User Interface, it is very easy to handle. Multiple tabs are available so that every part of the map creation can be handles on a single screen.

You can:

  • Control width and height of a map
  • Handle responsiveness
  • Control its zoom level
  • Choose type of map – road map, satellite, terrain, or hybrid

It then generates a “shortcode” that can be inserted in any post or page and you are done.

Features:

  • Responsive Design
  • Create as many Polygons and Polylines
  • User-friendly GUI
  • Customize using front-end user control
  • Available four map types: normal, terrain, hybrid, satellite

Cons:

  • In a free version, you are limited to only one map, per website.

Simple Google Maps Short Code 

This is another Google Map plugin. It has been listed simply for its simplicity. Non-developers and novice user are just going to love it. The developers have just removed all the extra stuff that is rarely used and creates more of confusion.

No-setting page is there for the same reason, just use a simple “shortcode” –  [pw_map address=”you are supposed to write your address here”] and insert into a page or post, and you are sorted.

Because of its simplicity and limited features, it is going to please few but not all. For example you won’t be able to add multiple markers, have multiple layers or multiple polygons. You don’t even have variety of map types to choose from. Buy yes you can create multiple maps.

It suits only those who are looking for a quick solution – I will allow you to create a map on your website in just couple of minutes.

Features:

  • It is very easy to use
  • Unlimited number of maps are supported

Cons:

  • Does not come with any extra features or customization solution.

Google Maps Plugin by Intergeo

This plugin is also an exceptionally good plugin developed by CodeinWP. It is not only free plugin but also comes with a quite a bunch of useful features, though with very few restrictions as well.

Its User Interface is quite unique and hence different from other plugins on the list.

You just need to install it. Once done you will observe that it creates a new page under the ‘media’ tab in the side menu.

Now to create a map:

  • You just need to navigate to Media
    • Under that click on “ Intergeo”page,
    • Click on the ‘add new’ button.

A popup then opens up which allows you to customize the settings for the map. You are provided with full control over all kinds of customizations. You can perform various options like:

  • Positioning,
  • zooming,
  • front-end user control,
  • map styles (eight included with an option for custom styles),
  • overlays (markers, polygons, polylines, etc), and much more.

 

Not only that you can also create routes and add directions to the map. It provides four different layers to choose from:

  • Traffic,
  • bicycle,
  • weather, and/or
  • Panorama photos.

Just add the address at the appropriate place and click “Create Map” button and that’s it. It will generate a “shortcode” that can be used on any page or post to insert Google Map.

Features:

  • Plenty of customizations
  • Simple and easy UI
  • Create unlimited maps
  • Icons for Markers
  • Add overlays – Polygons, Polylines and Circles
  • Plenty of map design styles
  • Map types: Satellite, roadmap, terrain

Cons:

  • Its Pro-version has still more features.

Conclusion

Even though there are hundreds of Google Map Plugins that are available, I have chosen to list only Free ones or freemiums having simplicity as well as functionality to offer.