Road Trip with Google Maps

My daughter got accepted to a summer program at MIT for women in engineering. So we thought since we’ll already be on the east coast, why not extend the trip into exploring colleges in the Northeast. Now, being from the Pacific Northwest, my geography skills for anything east of the Rockies starts to get a little muddled. Planning this trip was overwhelming. I had colleges listed in a spreadsheet by rank and interest level but that wasn’t really giving me the visual I needed for what we ought to visit with our limited time. I decided to see what Google Maps could do to help this endeavor.

First I launched Google maps (

Then I clicked on the Menu in the upper left corner.

google map menu_LI

Selected ‘Your places’.

your places google map_LI

And then selected ‘MAPS’. There’s a link at the bottom to ‘CREATE MAP’.

create map_LI

A brand new map is launched.


You can click on the Untitled map and name it something that works for you. You can create layers to turn on/off to focus on one subject area. For my purpose, I created a layer for colleges, one for points of interest and one for hotel accommodations.

You can search for addresses and the click ‘Add to map’.

add to map.PNG

We customized college points using colors and icons. Pink (her favorite color) was chosen for those that she really, really wanted to visit. Yellow was more of an if we have time kind of deal. And gray, not this trip.

college map.PNG

As we started plotting, our trip began to take shape. We nixed those colleges that seemed off the beaten path (grayed them out).

My daughter can go in and edit the map as well. We’re still planning at this stage. But what started off as an overwhelming task was made so much simpler by visualizing data in a map. Thanks Google!

And feel free to comment with places to see, restaurants to dine for (we love Italian), any hotel recommendations in the Northeast. We are getting excited!

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