Google Products Overview

Google Maps

Google Maps is free and allows the user to choose from a variety of basemaps, upload files, and draw features onto the map.

Google Maps Engine

Google Maps Engine is similar to Google Maps but it has more capabilities and is not free. Google Maps Engine can support a wider variety of file uploads, more complex maps and has more sharing options.

Google Earth Pro

Google Earth Pro is the paid version of Google Earth. Unlike Google Maps and Engine it uses high quality satellite imagery and 3D imagery. The user can create maps, model new buildings, and create a video of 3D imagery.

Google Earth Tourbuilder

Google Earth Tourbuilder is free and uses Google Earth imagery to allow the user to create a tour.

Google Crisis Response

Google Crisis Response responds mainly to natural disasters. Often Google Crisis Response will have a resource page and host a crisis map with information from authorities and the crowd. Google Crisis Response also has a variety of products for responders.


Google Maps Engine


Name: Google Maps Engine
$: Varies
Example: Healthcare Equality Index 2014 Rated Facilities (featured image), Krivenik Minefields
Level: Intermediate
Use For: Visualizing research


Google Maps Engine allows the user to create interactive online maps. The user has their choice of a variety of basemaps and can add vector, image, terrain, and KML files to the basemap. The types of files supported can be found here. Image data can be turned into a mosaic, which will join the files together for ease of viewing. Once uploaded the data can be filtered and the symbology can be changed. Info windows can be added so the viewer sees descriptive information when they click on a feature.The user can also set a default viewport for a map or a layer.

Google Maps2

Maps can be viewed on desktop or mobile devices. Maps are saved in Google Drive and the user has control over the map privacy settings. Other people can be invited to view or edit the map. There are two kinds of sharing, those who have access to the draft version of the map and those who have access to the published version of the map. Maps can be shared through a link, printed, turned into a KML file or embedded.

Google Maps Engine is the paid version of Google Maps. It has the ability to create more complex maps and supports a wider variety of geographic data files. For more information on its features and capabilities click here. Google allows nonprofits to apply for a grant if they need use of Google Maps Engine.

*On January 29, 2016, Google Maps Engine will no longer be available for use. Google Maps (My Maps) will remain available.