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


Name: Google Maps
$: Free
Level: Beginners
Use For: Visualizing research; Activism


Google Maps allows the user to create maps visualizing data. There are a variety of basemaps the user can choose from. Layers can be added by importing data or drawing data onto the map. The user can import files that are CSV, XLSX, or KML. The user can draw points, lines and shapes onto the map and give these features a title and description. If the user has a particular location where they would like to place a point they can find it using the search bar. The user can add walking, biking and driving routes or use the add directions option which allows the user to include Google directions in the map. There is also a measure distance and area tool.

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. Maps can also be shared through a link, printed, turned into a KML file or embedded. Google Maps is particularly well suited for communicating the path of a march or the location of a human rights event. For more advanced mapping and sharing options the user can use Google Maps Engine.