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Google My Maps

☀☀☀☀☀ For a digital journalist, mapping tools are essential. Google My Maps is one of the best tools for this type of work — simple to learn, powerful and free. Using Google means almost any location is already located in the app. The only downside to the app is the learning curve, which, for anything more complex than a simple map with pins, takes time to overcome. Google, however, provides tutorials for this. For whenever a journalist needs to show a location or multiple points in an area, this is the quickest and easiest option.  — Chris McCrory

☀☀☀☀ Google My Maps helps first-time mapmakers create basic maps from a simple spreadsheet to share or embed on a web site. It took me 30 minutes to create a map, not 10 as the Google News Lab lesson said. The two-minute video was confusing. The directions didn’t match the interface exactly. The video lesson says no programming is required, but that’s also not quite right, since you have to paste and tweak a few lines of source code. Still, it’s worth a try: good journalistic uses are easy to see. Without a simple “locator map,” many readers could not locate Kyrgyzstan, Vanuatu or other lesser-known countries. News happens there, too. — Eric Newton