Adding KML overlays to Google Mapmaker

Editing maps in Google Mapmaker has proved to be a bit of a challenge when there isn’t a good satellite image for the area. OpenStreetMap, by comparison, has a number of editing tools that let you directly use GPS data on-screen to edit roads (but it seems to be much less straightforward to get satellite images for general editing).

Getting GPS data into GMapmaker can make the process of digitisation much more accurate. In Google Mapmaker, it’s possible to add an overlay of  a KML file, but the file has to be hosted online somewhere; you can’t upload it. The easy way around this is to use public Dropbox files:

  1. Copy the KML file into your Dropbox Public folder and wait for it to synchronise with the server (use a KMZ (zipped) file to speed things up if you’re on a slow connection);
  2. Right-click and use the Dropbox menu to copy the link to the now-public file;
  3. Paste the link into GMapmaker.
If you’re on OSX: install Bloodrop, which automates the process (steps 1 and 2); whenever you drop a file on the Bloodrop icon it copies it to the public folder and immediately places the link in your clipboard.
KML file overlaid on Kipili area with uncorrected road.