Catching up … Google has announced in their blog that they’re down with the “so easy a cave man can do it” meme. Oh, and they’re also allowing users to make their own Google Maps with the new My Maps feature.
The instructions for using the new My Maps feature are at http://maps.google.com/help/maps/userguide/index.html . As you might expect, you’ll have to have a Google account to use the My Maps feature. Start at maps.google.com, and choose the My Maps tab. You’ll be given an option to create a new Google Map as well as browse other maps that folks have created.
It’s surprising what you can add to a map. You can add placemarks, of course, as well as lines or shapes. But you can also add photographs or even videos. You can use rich text or HTML descriptions as well. To get an idea of what’s possible, visit the map of Olympic locations, which has a little commentary, different placemarks, and HTML and images in the descriptions.
(I tried to use Google to see how other people were using the My Maps feature and had a little luck with the query inurl:ms site:maps.google.com/maps/ . But there isn’t much there.)
Once you’ve generated the map, you have the option to make it public or private as you choose. You can also get a KML file that you can display on Google Earth. You can grab a distinct URL that you can share with others.