Tiny Useful Things: MyTravelMaps


Hackday today at RIG with James and Phil and I thought I’d share what I came up with.

I’ve been using Google MyMaps for about 4 years now, mapping out the cities I visit and live in with pins that often relate to food and culture. I share them a lot and most of them have been viewed by thousands of people. They do however feel like the lonely Google project noone cares about. I think there is so much they could do with it if anyone cared about the implications of those maps during a travel experience. They have the data, it’s only a question of layout and a little intelligence. So I thought I’d try designing what clicking “print” should give you.

I made a prototype last friday for a weekend trip to Paris which gave me some insights but made a cleaner version today. Pics of that on Flickr.

MyTravelMaps is the size of a Moleskine so it’s compact and you can fold it in half to fit into your pocket. Design for pockets is important as Russell said.

The first page has your travel details and the name of your hotel. Nothing else. You don’t need anything else if you’re a seasoned traveller anyway.


The other pages have the description of the pins on one side of the page, tagged according to categories (food in yellow and culture in blue) and listed from North to South to match the map, so as you travel around you kind of know what you’re likely to bump into. It also allows you to make decisions about where you’re likely to end up looking for a place to eat versus visiting museums as those areas don’t often overlap (or shouldn’t if you’re on a budget).



This isn’t about accuracy because travel is about the things you didn’t know about, the stuff people will tell you, the hand-written notes on those maps, the unplanned. It’s building in a little less accuracy than a directions map. It’s building in fun. This is also designed for the wanderings of walking around a city, not for someone who is looking for something specifically. They’ll use their phone for that. I used 3 pieces of paper all weekend, never once taking out a phone to check where we were. That’s kindof what I’d like this to be. Small, smart and useful.

By designswarm

Blogging since 2005.


  1. Would you find it useful to include a few words to get around with?

    Let me know – I build pocket sized language guides and can give you formatted content no problemo…!


  2. I did a project like this for a guy who had done a map of the history of Palo Alto. This kind of thing should be easy. Once you sort out the print style, it’s just a matter of small tweaks and hitting the print button… in my dreams…

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