I love maps. I start a map of our planned travels in the beginning of every year. During the year I modify that map to reflect our actual travels. I use tools to add photos to my location markers and short descriptions. At the end of the year, I review it and be sure everything is accurate, up-to-date, and a sufficient amount of photos and descriptions have been added – then I post it on a Maps page on our blog. If you count all the time spent on my map throughout the year it would probably add up to 2-3 hours, maybe more. Could I be wasting my time?
If you have Google Maps set to record your location history, making a map of everywhere you’ve been in 2018 is as easy as 1-2-3:
- On a computer, go to Maps.Google.com and be sure you are logged in with your Google Account.
- Click the 3-line menu in upper left and choose “Your Timeline.”
- Click Year to drop down your choices and choose 2018.
That’s all it takes to view this map. To keep it, I just take a screenshot (Windows: use Snipping Tool, New, drag the area; Mac: use CMD-Shift-4 drag the area).
If you don’t see any places, it means your Google Location History has never been turned on. If it is on, and this is the first time you’ve seen your Google Timeline, it may freak you out a bit. It’s so easy to view your location history that you may feel anyone can do it – but they can’t. That is, they can’t see your location history. My map, the one you see above, is a screenshot of what I see after logging in with my Google username and password and verification code. Google does not even give me a way to share this with anyone – only I can see it. If it still freaks you out, you can turn it off. You can also delete what has already been saved. You can delete individual places, or your entire location history. Here is the official Google help page on managing your location history.
In addition to seeing a map of everywhere you’ve been, you can zoom in on any individual spot. Since this is part of Google Maps, you can click on a spot and get more information. If you’re on a mobile device, you can even navigate to a spot. One difference on mobile is that you can only see one day at a time – you get to the right date by tapping on the calendar icon in the upper right.
We have often used this feature to get back to a place we visited before but don’t remember exactly where it was. It’s like Google is constantly dropping breadcrumbs for us so we will never be lost.
Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly YouTube show called What Does This Button Do? They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years.