Map Channels v4 Tutorial

This tutorial covers the steps to (1) Create a map using Google's My Maps or Maps Engine Lite service and (2) Embed that map on your website using Map Channels v4.

Other v4 Tutorials:

Edit Enabled Maps Tutorial

Importing and Geocoding Data Tutorial

1. Create a KML feed

A KML feed is an XML file which contains placemark data. There is a full KML reference at

A number of tools are available to create and manage a KML feed. Two recommended tools are Google My Maps and Google Maps Engine Lite.

Google My Maps Quick Tutorial

Note: My Maps is a maps editing and sharing system introduced by Google in 2007. There are a number of features in My Maps which are not available in Maps Engine Lite such as being able to edit the HTML descriptions of place markers (allowing the inclusion of images and weblinks within the description text). For this reason My Maps is still our preferred map editor.

1. Visit the Google Maps Classic page at

2. Click on the 'My Places' tab on the left hand sidebar

3. Click the link labelled 'Or create with classic My Maps' which can be found on the left sidebar below the larger 'Create Map' button.

4. Use the interactive editor to add places to the My Map (see video below).

5. Click 'Save' when complete. Set sharing to either 'public' or 'unlisted'.

6. Copy the 'KML' link on the sidebar. This link can be be found above the list of placemarks in the row which contains links labelled 'Rate this map' and 'Write a comment'.

7. Use the copied KML link when creating your Map Channel.

Tutorial Video

Google Maps Engine Lite Quick Tutorial

1. Create a new map

2. Add some placemarks to the map

3. Click the 'Share button' in the top right corner. Set the map sharing to 'public'.

4. Click on the folder icon in the top left corner (next to the 'Add Layer' button). From the drop-down menu select 'Export KML'.

5. Select the 'Network Link' option if you want changes you make to the map later to be displayed in the KML feed.

6. Save the exported KML file to your computer.

7. When creating your Map Channel you can use the 3rd option, 'Upload the data from a file on your computer' and select the saved KML file.

Reference Video

Obtaining a KML link from Maps Engine Lite

Unlike My Maps there is no direct link to the KML data within the Maps Engine Interface.

You can obtain the KML link by exporting a KML file with the network link selected.

Open the exported KML file in a text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++ and you will find the link to the full KML feed.

Copy this link and use it when creating your Map Channel or editing your Map Channel settings.

2. Create a Map Channel

Return to the Map Channels website, click on the Map Channels version 4 link and then click on Create New Map Channel.

Enter a meaningful map identifier and title, then paste the link location from your Google My Map into the 'Data Feed URL' section (to paste: right click then select paste from the menu, or press control+V on the keyboard).

Keep the Data Feed Type set to 'Google My Map' or 'KML'.

Check the terms and conditions box then click the 'Create' button to create your Map Channel. Then click the 'Edit Settings' Link to visit the Edit page.

2.1. Edit Settings

The Edit Page displays a preview of the map and a number of settings divided into sections. Most of these settings are self-explanatory or have notes which explain how the settings work.

Click the 'Update' button to apply changes made in all sections and view the updated map.

2.2. Embed The Map

Once the settings are complete click on the 'Embed' link then copy and paste the HTML code into your web page to embed the map.

2.3. Feed Update

In the feed section you can choose to update your feed data daily. When this option is selected your map data will automatically be refreshed so changes made to the My Map will be reflected in the Map Channel within one day.

If you want a change to be displayed immediately check the 'Refresh Feed Now' box and then click 'Update'. You may need to clear your browser cache to view the new data.

2.4. Categories

Categories are useful where you have markers with different marker icons and you want to let the user filter markers by category.

Select 'Category Filter' in the sidebar section, then view the category section. Enter a title for each marker icon (duplicates are ok).

Use the up and down buttons to adjust the order of categories within the list. Click 'update' then you will see a drop down list in the sidebar beside the new map. This list lets you filter markers by the categories you have defined.

2.5 Dictionary

The dictionary section allows you to change all text displayed in the control and set the language used for map controls.

2.6. CSS

The CSS feature lets you customize the appearance of many map features such as the sidebar and info windows.

2.7. Adverts

Google ads help to fund development of Map Channels. Supporter who donate can remove ads on locally hosted maps.

3. Other Feed Types

Map Channels supports KML, Geo RSS 2.0 and Tab-delimited Text feeds.

Not all features of KML are supported, it is recommended to use KMLs which have the same format as Google My Maps.

Google Spreadsheets are supported, enter the spreadsheet URL and this will be automatically converted to a tab-delimited text URL.

4. Feed Size

The load and response times of a map is determined partly by the number of markers contained in the feed. As a general guideline feeds should contain 500 places or less. It is possible to display more markers but there is a performance trade-off involved. An additional factor is the overall size of the feed. Try to avoid a large number of markers with lengthy description. A brief description with a link to a more in-depth profile page is often the better option.

5. More Information

If you have any questions, bug reports or feature suggestions please Contact Us.


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