Done anything innovative with a Google map, lately?
Searching out the grocer, doesn’t count.
Google maps can come handy in more ways than just looking up directions and the shortest possible routes from here and to the grocer’s store around the corner or for that matter the Italian restaurant on the other side of the city, and I discovered this at the end of a mentally exhausting four month marathon to finish a story on the second Mughal emperor Humayun who lived and died in the 15th century and probably would have thanked Google too, (if they had been around then) to chalk out his journey that took him nearly 9,370 kms and across four modern day countries during a fifteen year spell of exile from power that had come about after a severe bashing at the hands of an arch rival.
My work on Humayun had started in the refrigerated month of December in 2016, and continued for the next three months, as I had poured over manuscripts and works of historians, while simultaneously struggling to sew together his life with fingers itchy, red and swollen with chill bane and eyes that felt like two little fiery pods of frothing molten lava that usually happens when I stare at the computer screen for hours on end— still God bless his soul, for doing all those things he did in his lifetime, or else right now I would be lacking a quality story.
But by March end, as I had more or less succeeded in putting his life in sequence, I realized I lacked one key ingredient to close the final chapter: A map that highlighted the places Humayun visited during his fifteen years of exile between 1540 and 1554.
No matter how much I searched no ready made map turned up, and I was too broke to get a professional one done, and since, I typically like my stories to be as original as possible, I really and desperately wanted to have a map in there. Fortunately for me, the solution was right there at my cursor tip.
Beside their actual intended purpose of revealing places, distances, the shortest routes etc, that I guess many of us have at one point of time or another inevitably ended up browsing, the maps (I have come to believe)can be used in creative ways, for just about anything from school and office projects to even creating a snapshot of your own adventure journey across the Alps or the Sahara, and tucking it away in the album for your kids to come across someday.
For me, it made even more sense to use a Google map, for the key reason I wanted Humayun’s fans and history buffs to see for themselves where those ancient places he visited in the 15th century are presently located and what they are today known as. Making the map was also not a great challenge as I initially thought it would be either — though obviously the hard part was digging out the facts and the names of the destinations that sat so very quiet and unassuming between tons and tons of worded lines.
If you too like to create your own map like I did for Humayun’s exile. Here’s what you’ll need 1. A snipping tool. 2 Photoshop.
In Windows 7 and later editions the snipping tool is inbuilt and can be spotted under the accessories tab. Once you have created your map online, simply use this tool to take a snapshot and click save. Photoshop comes handy if you like to add extra effects, reducing the image size or the resolution of your finished map for online use by opting for the “save for web and devices” function.
I am hardly an expert, so in my case, I used photo shop to simply tag the locations with numbers then used the “save for web devices” function to reduce the resolution.
Creating the map is easy
- Click on the maps tab on a Google browser
2. Fill in the destinations. By default Google Maps show you only two destinations at first but you can add up to seven by clicking on the magnifying glass icon or the plus tab. If you don’t want to show the blue marker connecting the destinations, opt for a mode that says unavailable. Worked for me.
What you’ll need to keep in mind is that Google maps at this time does not allow more than seven destinations at one time. To work around it you will need to first create a larger map encompassing all your destinations. Then use photo shop or some other editing tool to manually place in the destinations. Of course you will need to reference the exact locations.
3. Changing to Earth view
The Earth view at the bottom of the Google map is neat tool if you like to like create your map highlighting the terrain. Switch the 3D Effect off for a more flat appearance.
Well, that pretty much sums up how I put together my map. If you happen to come across a simpler and more easier way, do share.
To see the map I created or read about Humayun the second Mughal emperor, visit my site Farbound.Net by clicking here on Humayun the Merciful .The map is right at the end of the story.