Online Maps

Online maps are a very useful tool for organizing and coordinating a lost pet search.

Using Google My Maps

You can create, save and share Google Maps within Google My Maps.  You can also find these under "Your Places" from the main Google Maps page.  

Using this app, you can add different shapes or icons to keep track of areas that you have searched, possible sightings, feeding stations, surveillance cameras, and poster locations.  The link to the map can be shared with other people to help coordinate the search effort.   

Example Google Search Map

Example of a Google Search Map for a lost cat.

You can also add areas to search, distribute flyers or put up posters.  You can draw them yourself using the “add line or shape” tool.  There's a ruler tool if you need to measure distances to sightings or where to put up posters.  You can also add search areas or search dog tracks by uploading KML or KMZ files.

The provide a good overview on setting up and using Google Maps in the video below.

Creating a Radius Around a Point in Google Maps

A radius around a point can be used to establish search areas around the point last seen.  It can also be used to determine areas to distribute flyers or put up posters based on the likely behavior of the missing pet.

How to Create and Download Your Circle

There isn't an easy way to create a radius around a point directly in Google Maps.  However, you can can use a KML circle generator and then upload the file as a layer on your map.  

The Scott Murray Circle Generator is an easy one to use.  First you need to determine the latitude and longitude coordinates of the center of your search area.   Enter the address into your Google Map and then select "add to map."   The latitude and longitude coordinates will appear at the bottom left of the map location.

Finding Latitude and Longitude on Google Map

Where to find latitude and longitude coordinates on a Google Map entry

Circle generator inputs

Creating a circle using the Scott Murray circle generator

Enter in the center coordinates for your circle, select your radius and units.  Select "Linestring" and unselect "Include center Point."  Select a color for your circle perimeter.  Click "Generate."  Then download the KML code.

How to Upload Your Circle to Google Maps

Example Google Map Search Radius

Example of setting up a Google Map search radius

Open your Google Map and select "Add Layer."  Select "Import" and then find your downloaded KML file.  Once uploaded, you can edit the color and thickness of the circle and add a description.

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