One of the first things you must know when using mapping software is to plot coordinates on map. It forms the basis for visualizing geospatial datasets, making it easier to analyze large volumes of information. If you’re unfamiliar with how to do this on any mapping software, this article has you covered.
Below, you’ll find various topics about plotting coordinates and how to find them if your datasets are incomplete.
How To Plot Coordinates on a Map With Excel
Microsoft Excel not only shines in managing geographical data, but it can also create maps. This process is easy, provided you know where to look and what features to use. Follow this guide to learn how to plot coordinates on a map with Excel:
- Create a spreadsheet with geographical coordinates in different columns. For instance, if it is latitude and longitude, separate them with commas. Also, ensure the coordinates are in the same format to prevent errors while visualizing your datasets.
- Select all the columns you want to appear on the map.
- Click the Insert tab, which is on top of your screen. The ribbon menu will change and show you new menu options.
- Click 3D Map and choose the option Open 3D Maps from its dropdown menu.
- It will open a new window and plot the coordinates on the map.
- There’s a new menu on the right side of your screen. In the Location section, you’ll see latitude and longitude. Ensure the tool selects the correct columns from your spreadsheet. Otherwise, edit this section to correct this mistake.
- If Excel didn’t detect the coordinates, click + Add Field and choose Latitude. Open the Select One dropdown menu and select Latitude. Repeat this step for longitude.
If you follow all these steps, Excel will plot the coordinates on a map. When you hover your mouse pointer over the plotted points, you’ll get the geographical coordinates. Use these tips to customize the map:
- To add state or county boundaries, do so from the Category section on the right side of your screen.
- Select Map Labels if you want identifiers to be visible.
- You can change the coordinates’ size, thickness, opacity, and color from the Layer Options section.
How To Find Coordinates on Google Maps
There will come a time when you need to get the coordinates of a location via Google Maps. Why? The place you want to map doesn’t have a valid physical address.
For instance, you’re looking to create a map highlighting various off-the-grid locations for stargazing. Here’s a guide explaining how to find coordinates on Google Maps:
Android and iOS devices
- Open the Google Maps app.
- Go to the location where you want to find the coordinates. You can search for nearby places and manually locate the point of interest.
- Tap the location to place a marker. If this doesn’t work, touching and holding your finger at the point of interest will also work.
- Pull up the location card, and you’ll get the coordinates for the point of interest. It is next to the iconic Google Maps marker icon.
- Tap the coordinates to copy it to your device’s clipboard.
Note: This method only works for unmapped locations.
- Open your desktop browser, go to Google Maps, and find the location whose coordinates you need.
- Click the location, and a small card with its coordinates will appear at the bottom. Or, right-click and select What’s Here? from the dropdown menu. Copy these coordinates to your device.
Google Maps shows these coordinates in decimal degrees (DD) format. Click the DD coordinates if you want the degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS) format. The location card’s title will have the coordinates in DMS format.
You can right-click anywhere on the map and get the coordinates. The first option from the dropdown menu is DD coordinates. Click it to copy this geographic data.
Note: If Google Maps already mapped the location, right-click the point of interest to find the coordinates.
How To Enter Coordinates in Google Maps
How do you find a place in Google Maps that doesn’t have an address? For example, you are trying to find locations outside city limits to set up a warehouse. You use a mapping software that only provides you with the geographic coordinates.
Or, you have a spreadsheet with coordinates, but there isn’t a corresponding column with its physical address. Fortunately, Google Maps can understand these datasets if you use them properly. This guide explains how to enter coordinates in Google Maps:
- Copy the coordinates from your spreadsheet.
- Visit Google Maps on a desktop browser or open the app on your smartphone.
- In the search bar, paste the geographic coordinates and click the magnifying glass icon. The tool will look for the point of interest. If there are no errors in your datasets, it will take you to the desired location.
If you want to ensure you don’t face any issues while doing this, here are a few things to remember:
- Ensure the coordinates are in one of the following formats:
- Degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS) – e.g., 40°25’11 “N 5°12’23.4 “E
- Degrees and decimal minutes (DDM) – e.g., 44 21.3148, 3 15.4212
- Decimal degrees (DD) – e.g., 43.42112, 1.27642
- Avoid using ‘d’ or ‘D’ to represent degrees. Always use its symbol (°). You can copy this symbol or use the following shortcuts:
- Chromebook – Control + Shift + U and enter this Unicode – 00b0. Press the space key after you type this Unicode.
- macOS – Shift + Option + 8
- Windows – Alt + 0176 (you need to use the numpad, not the regular number keys on top of the keyboard. The numpad is usually on the left side).
- When typing decimals, avoid using commas (,). Instead, use the period (.) symbol.
How To Plot Latitude and Longitude Coordinates on Google My Maps
While Google Maps understands different latitude and longitude formats, it can only plot one point on the map. This is limiting if you want to include several pins in your chart. For instance, you are planning an off-road biking trip and want to create a map for your fellow riders. Or, you want to hike and map out various points of interest during the walk.
The easiest way to do this is to use Google My Maps. Here’s how to plot latitude and longitude coordinates with this tool:
- Create a spreadsheet with latitude and longitude coordinates. If you’re including them in a single column, separate them with a comma (,). Also, remember the order of the coordinates, i.e., is it in latitude and longitude or longitude and latitude?
- Export the file and save it in a compatible format like .csv or .xlsx.
- Go to Google My Maps and create a new map.
- Select Import from the map’s card on the left.
- Upload your spreadsheet or locate the file on your device.
- You have to select the columns for placing the markers on the map. Select Latitude / Longitude. It will ask you for the order of your coordinates. Select the correct format, i.e., Longitude, Latitude, or Latitude, Longitude. Click Continue to go to the next step.
- You have to choose the title for the markers. Select the column containing the location names. Click Finish to import the latitude and longitude coordinates to the map.
Plot Coordinates on Map in Minutes With Mapize
If you’re looking for an alternative mapping tool to Google My Maps, Mapize is an excellent option. It also accepts geographic coordinates in multiple formats, ensuring your datasets are always compatible. The guide below highlights the steps for plotting coordinates on a map:
- Open www.mapize.com on any desktop browser.
- On the homepage, you’ll see this button – Select a File. Click it and upload the spreadsheet containing the geographic coordinates. If there are no issues, you’ll see a portion of your datasets appear in the textbox below.
- Select Create Map, and Mapize will take you to its map configuration tool.
- Customize the map to ensure it meets your requirements. You can choose which columns the mapping software should use in the Geo Decoding section. The Map Preview section is to add helpful information about your chart. Under the Customize Map tab, you can personalize the map.
- After you finish customizing your chart, click the Make Map button. Processing and plotting your data on the map may take a while.
- Select Save Map + Continue if you want this chart and share it with others. Provide the necessary details and click the Save Map button at the bottom of this form.
Check your email; you’ll get mail containing the map’s link. You can share this URL with others if required.
Mapize Makes It a Breeze To Create a Variety of Geographic Maps
Mapize is a popular option among cartographers who want a powerful mapping tool with a simple interface. It offers several options to customize your map and make it unique. For instance, you can group datasets and assign them different colors. This makes it easy to differentiate the markers quickly.
This online map builder lets you choose what information will appear when you click the marker. For instance, it can contain contact information, an image URL, a link, email address, phone number, and brief description. This is useful when making a map of budget-friendly hotels for people visiting popular tourist spots.
You don’t have to display everything on the map if your spreadsheet contains multiple columns. Instead, you can control what is visible. Also, if multiple locations exist in the same region, you can display these markers with a single pin. These features ensure the maps you create are always easy to read.
You can still use this tool if you don’t have a spreadsheet. Paste the geographic coordinates in the text box, and you’re good to go.
You don’t have to be an expert cartographer to make the most of Mapize. It comes with an intuitive interface, ensuring you can create a custom map within minutes.
You can create a heat map with your geographic datasets to identify outliers and patterns. Join Mapize today and plot coordinates on the map for free!