Google Maps is a fine tool if you need to find your way around, but Google also has a way to create custom maps called Map Engine. The service is getting a mobile upgrade today with the release of the Map Engine app. This will allow users to view and share custom maps on Android devices. It even comes with some neat samples.

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The Map Engine Lite web service is available to everyone and has a fairly robust set of tools. There is also a newly enhanced Map Engine Pro service with more features for businesses. If you just want to add some important personal data and locations to a custom map, that's doable with the lite version. All your maps will be saved to your Google account and accessible from the app.

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The app looks a lot like Google Maps, but it's only a skin-deep resemblance. All the Maps Engine app has is the custom map content from your account and some neat samples like NASA's light map, World Bank GDP growth rates, and some National Geographic stuff. If you want to navigate to a location or get more information, the app will boot you into the regular Google Maps app. If nothing else, Maps Engine is fun to play with.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • shadowx360

    Pssst. Not to be an asshole but second to last sentence: "Google Mpas app"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You just wait until I upload this world map of average penis size, then it'll all be clear.

      And Had Ryan fix the typo, thanks.

    • Julio M

      There might be penis-shaped maps out there, better save the kids from endless giggling.

    • Rolf

      Maybe there is somewhere a map of Finland and Sweden but without Norway - like on the old Euro coins. ;)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Some of these maps are pretty crazy, definitely not what I expected to see in this app.

    Here are some:
    - World Bank: life expectancy per country
    - NASA: Earth at night
    - Nat Geo: Atlantic Ocean floor

  • pepper

    Waiting for someone uploading a detailed Fort Knox map.
    With escape route of course.

    • Mitch Thompson

      Dude, there's nothing there but a bunch of IOUs.

  • Mike C.

    Maybe we can get the wikipedia layer back then ... much missed.

  • Richard Markert

    So... does this address the issue where you CAN'T create a custom route in Maps and have Navigation direct you through it?

  • Will

    some of the limitations are: only available on Android devices, must have a gmail account to view maps, you cannot view public maps unless someone shares their map with you.